When you think about the companies that consistently deliver valuable emails or that always seem to have compelling social media and blog content, do you wonder how they do it all so consistently and professionally?

You may assume the big brands that post to Facebook or LinkedIn every day and send multiple emails each week have a 20-person in-house marketing department. It takes a ton of hard work to make marketing look that easy—right?

Maybe not.

Billion-dollar corporations like Coca-Cola and Nike do, in fact, have global marketing departments. But, it’s not the size of their staff that makes their marketing look so effortless. It’s their underlying system. And it’s a system any business–yours included–can create without a six-figure budget, as long as you have an effective editorial calendar.


What is an editorial calendar?

Simply put, an editorial calendar documents which content you plan to produce, publish, promote, or curate and which of your marketing channels you’ll use throughout the year. Typically, an editorial calendar is an internal document that anyone on your team can view and contribute towards month after month.

Although there aren’t any rules set in stone, we find that the most effective editorial calendars include easy to understand, action-oriented instructions (Ex: Publish, Promote, etc.) and links to a number of important resources, such as your content library, your social media strategy, a bullpen of working ideas, and a database of 3rd party curated content. [We keep all this information in our project management platform.]

Your editorial calendar may include specific anchor dates or events, but it should also be flexible enough to adapt in case company news breaks or other priorities arise.


Why do companies need an editorial calendar?

An editorial calendar keeps your company focused and accountable by documenting and organizing your marketing efforts. With a calendar in place, you’re able to intentionally create and valuable content for your target audience and consistently deliver it across multiple channels throughout the year.

Avoid the “What should I publish today?” blues

Companies that don’t use an editorial calendar are less organized and more reactive. Because they’re motivated by a sense of urgency, these companies prioritize getting something or anything posted.

If you’ve ever been in that position, you know it’s exhausting and it’s ineffective.


9 Ways an Editorial Calendar Leads to Better Marketing

Creating an editorial calendar will:

  1. Keep marketers accountable to a long-term plan
  2. Ensure consistency throughout the year
  3. Establish balance among owned, earned, and paid channels
  4. Provide content diversity
  5. Allow transparency between departments and stakeholders (or clients)
  6. Set a cadence for producing, publishing, promoting, curating, and commenting activity
  7. Help busy marketers remember to promote important dates and events
  8. Ensure published (evergreen) content is promoted multiple times throughout the year
  9. Make your marketing efforts more manageable and easier to transition from one employee to another (no more relying on tribal knowledge)

Determine if you need an editorial calendar based on your response to the statements below:

Our marketing is effective.

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

We are accountable to a long-term marketing plan.

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

We consistently publish new, original content to our website and promote it to each of our social media channels multiple times each year, in addition to segmented lists via email.

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

Each piece of our content targets a specific organizational goal, target audience, pain point, and stage in the sales funnel (customer journey).

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

Everyone in our company can see what we plan to publish or promote as well as when we will do so.

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

If any specific person left our company, a new team member could quickly and easily take over our marketing.

DISAGREE (0 pts)UNSURE (0 pts)AGREE (1 pt)

Scoring System

4-6 points – Whatever you’re doing seems to be working pretty well. Identify the two areas where you need to make improvements.

0-3 points – Like most companies, you could use some help planning and organizing a consistent balance of diverse content in order to make your marketing more manageable and more effective long-term.


How to create an editorial calendar in 4 steps

  • Open a new Google Document, Word Document, or Excel Spreadsheet.
  • Insert a Table with 5 vertical cells and 6-7 horizontal cells. This will form a month-at-a-glance view.
  • Label the table for a given month and year, then fill in the corresponding days of the week and month.
  1. Start building your calendar by placing any known one-time dates or events (Ex: Trade Shows, New Product Launches, Holidays, etc.). Include an icon indicating which channel would be appropriate for each type of event (Ex: Social media, website, email, etc.).
  2. Determine when you will publish original content on your website and build a 200-day promotion strategy around each piece. (It’s easier than it sounds if you use this Calendar Calculator.)
  3. Add any third-party curated content that you plan to promote.
  4. Add opportunities to respond or comment on timely news and events as they arise.

Creating Your Own Editorial Calendar

Download our FREE Visual Guide

Conclusion

The only thing worse than asking yourself what you’re going to publish or post every day is your boss asking what you’re going to post next—if you don’t have a plan in place.

So, if you have a content library, use what you’ve learned here to start populating your editorial calendar. If you don’t have a content library, it’s time to build one. Contact us and we can show you how.