When individuals and brands first begin blogging, they often start out with a grand plan for scheduling well-researched content with clearly established goals and deadlines for each piece. Then — of course — life gets in the way and the idea of maintaining and updating an editorial calendar seems like a huge chore, one that eventually falls by the wayside in favor of a more spontaneous approach to content creation and curation.
Even if you still follow an editorial calendar to some extent, there are likely areas in your content strategy that could use improvement when it comes to your scheduling practices. Here are some strategies the most successful content marketers use to optimize their editorial calendars:
Do you write and publish whatever feels relevant to your brand in a given moment, or are there clear themes you’re covering each day or week? For example, you could conduct weekly interviews with industry experts that are published once per week on the same day (preferably in written and audio formats, if possible).
Alternatively, you could announce a theme at the beginning of each week and incorporate that theme into your blog posts, social media posts, and other content published throughout the week. Even with content themes, however, you’ll still want to mix up specialized content with evergreen content to ensure at least some of your blog retains a bit of longevity 3, 6 or 12+ months from now.
Do you currently have a content marketing editorial calendar? If so, is it in an Excel spreadsheet, Google form, content scheduling platform, or elsewhere? To maximize the likelihood of following your editorial calendar — and maintain your team’s motivation to stick to the calendar — you should consolidate all of your editorial notes, deadlines and other information in one easy to access location (bonus points if you can schedule upcoming blog and social posts from the same platform).
Some people work better under the pressure of an impending deadline, but this is not an ideal strategy to rely on for the long-haul. Instead, your content writing team should be producing content at least two weeks in advance, which gives your design and editorial teams plenty of time to optimize the content for audience engagement and catch any mistakes before publication.
Even if new information comes out within that 2+ week timeframe that necessitates changes to the content, you’ll still be in a much better position if all you have to do is add or erase a sentence here and there, as opposed to writing, editing, and designing an entire blog post within a couple days.
A final must-have in any successful content marketing strategy is team cohesion. In other words, you want everyone to be on the same page about each step of the content production and publication process. Even if you’re working with a remote content team, you should still schedule weekly or monthly team meetings to give everyone the chance to vocalize any issues or concerns they’re experiencing, which other team members could potentially help resolve.
This also requires consistent attention to your brand’s content guidelines, so that you’re always maintaining the same “voice” for your brand across channels (even if you have multiple content writers) and you can readily adapt to changes (e.g., SEO practices) whenever necessary with minimal disruption to your team.