Most marketing teams will sit down a month or two before the new quarter begins to collaborate on the marketing plan and strategies, map out the editorial calendar with topics, and align on upcoming campaigns. This will include conversations about overarching marketing goals, acquisition, any upcoming product launches or other company milestones, and budget. With the marketing plan in mind, the team can then plan their own projects for the upcoming quarter. While there are many moving parts in a marketing department, we’re here to talk about content marketing. More specifically: editorial.
Content marketers will be responsible for any on-site, or written content, which may include (but is not limited to) blog articles, press releases, downloadables or landing page copywriting. The goal of content marketing is to provide value to new and existing customers— which means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the types and number of editorial pieces that will go out each month. An editorial calendar captures your content strategy at a bird’s eye view, and allows you to plan for any deadlines or blockers.
Developing a Q1 editorial calendar for your marketing team can seem daunting, but these 7 steps will help you stay organized and on track.
Set the content goals
Every business will have different goals for their marketing content. Whether it’s to attract new customers, generate leads for the sales team, or provide value to existing users, your content marketing strategy should be intentional with clear goals. Those goals will help inform the types of content, and the topics, that you plan for Q1 and beyond.
Define the audience
Who are you trying to target? By defining the ideal audience— an individual consumer or business user, for example— you can get more specific with your content. Are you trying to reach marketers, entrepreneurs, or sales teams? Once you figure the who, you can narrow down the what.
Identify any overarching themes
Themes in content can be a recurring series (think employee spotlights or tips of the month), or articles geared towards a particular niche or category. For example, you might have one article a month that speaks to one unique use case or user. Once you identify the content themes, you can bucket them into different categories to round out the editorial calendar.
Check the SEO value
As content marketers, we’d love to think that people are visiting our blogs on a regular basis. However, most blog traffic will likely come from search engine queries on the web. Because of that, it’s extremely important to optimize your content for search. The more relevant keywords with a high search volume that you include in your content, the better the chances of people stumbling across your article (and website — win!).
To ensure the editorial calendar is consistent, the content team should set deadlines for key stakeholders. This would include writers, contributors, designers for any supporting assets, and anyone else involved, so that everyone is on the same page with deliverables. With clear deadlines and expectations, the marketing team can plan on how they plan to distribute the content to achieve bigger Q1 goals.
Fill out the content calendar
A comprehensive calendar allows the team to collaborate on and reference past and upcoming content. By filling out the calendar for all of Q1 in advance, other parts of the department can decide how they’ll leverage the content in their respective roles. For example, content may be used in an upcoming email campaign and the editorial calendar gives team members access to see what will be live on the site and readily available at the time of launch.
A content marketing plan presentation will help you communicate your editorial calendar with your colleagues, managers or third party partners. This will act as a platform to help provide context for your marketing campaigns, outline objectives, schedule content, and hold everyone accountable. Beautiful.ai’s content marketing plan presentation template is fully customizable to help build a framework for your own presentation.
Plan how you will promote the content
You spent the time and energy curating a thoughtful content calendar, now what? With a baked out content calendar, you can plan how you’ll distribute the articles to get in front of the right people. You might include the editorial calendar in your social media strategy, your email planning, paid search efforts, or on any other relevant channels.