Almost any marketer will tell you it is best practice to have an editorial calendar to track all of your social activities. We all know we should have one and follow it, but sometimes it can be a challenge. Some people may struggle with where to start and how to create an editorial calendar. But there are some great posts on that topic here at Search Engine People. Youve followed their advice, pulled out the post-it notes, put on your thinking cap and have built a beautiful editorial calendar now what? Here are a few tips to help you execute your editorial calendar.
Just having an editorial calendar isnt enough. Now you need to actually put it to work for your business. Planning is crucial, but there is more work to do. Its important to include these activities into your weekly schedule.
End of the Month:
- Finalize your editorial calendar for the following month " Its best to plan ahead. Three to six months out is a good amount for at least a high level overview of what you will cover each week on your blog and social posts. By the end of the month, you should know what you plan to write about and post for the next month on all social channels. Set aside an hour or so the last week of the month to make sure youre all set for the next 30 days.
- Get started on any content that will take more time. Some things like videos or images that will require a specific photo shoot will take more planning. When you look at your editorial calendar, are there any items that have a long lead time? Get started on them as soon as possible.
- Write the actual blog posts. How far ahead you do this will depend on your own writing style and how often you are posting to your blog. You might want to write an outline for all of your posts the week before, then set aside time to write the week you post. Set aside an hour or so, depending on how quickly you write, to finish the blog posts the day before you publish.
- Finalize social copy. Start every week reviewing what you plan to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and whatever social channels you use for your business. Schedule an hour to review the posts and make sure you like the copy and its in the right tone of voice.
- Got pictures? For many social channels images make your posts more interesting and shareable. Do you have graphics that can go with your blog and social posts? If you arent a photog or Photoshop wizard, use a service like iStockphoto.
- Read news and check trending topics. Just because you have a schedule doesnt mean it should be set in stone. Things will change. Maybe youll think of something better to blog about, or youll be inspired by some news of the day. I recommend checking the news and trending topics on social channels every day before you post anything. Some current event might spark a new idea for a blog post, or it might make you rethink what you have planned. Dont be like the NRA and Celeb Boutique who ignored the Colorado shooting last year and were shamed across the social channels.
- Review and schedule posts for the day. After you know whats going on in the world, take a few minutes to review your planned posts for the day. If youre still happy with the content, schedule it to go out at the best time for your audience. In order to decide this, I recommend doing a trial to test the best time and day to post each type of content to get the best reach and engagement.
- Check back for engagement opportunities throughout the day. Your job isnt done once youve scheduled the content or hit publish. Hopefully people will be engaging with your content; asking questions on your blog post, tweeting your praises, posting comments on your Facebook wall. Its important to check back on your channels throughout the day to make sure you respond and keep the conversation going. Remember that successful social marketing is a two-way conversation and not just a broadcast out into the world.
End of the Week:
- Review the weeks content and measure results. Hopefully you thought about your business goals and created specific CTAs when you created your editorial calendar. Every week you should set aside some time to look at your posts and see if they succeeded in your goals. Did you drive as much traffic to your website as you hoped? Get as many shares on Facebook as you wanted? Know exactly how you will measure success and track against those measurements. If something didnt meet your expectations, try to figure out why and what you can learn for the future.
- Make adjustments to the next week based on findings. Pay attention to your weekly results and trends over the last month and last quarter to help you post the best content in the next week. For example, if youre starting to see videos dont perform well on Mondays, move that video planned for Monday to another day. Pay attention to the trends and remember, your editorial calendar should be a living document. Be ready to monitor and adjust as needed.
Do you have any of your own tips or tricks to help you implement to your editorial calendar? Id love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Karianne Stinson is Account Director at the new digital content creation agency, Mediabrands Publishing. Prior to Mediabrands Publishing, Karianne was Manager of Social Strategy and Planning with Seattle-based social marketing agency, Spring Creek Group. Karianne helps global and local brands create interesting content, manage their online presence, and grow their social communities.