Have you ever found yourself needing a new blog post or marketing video while at the same time being completely devoid of inspiration? Or, does your content strategy represent a mismatched stream of seemingly unconnected thoughts and ideas?
While these might seem to be very different content marketing problems – one has to do with inspiration while the other is all about focus – they have the same cure. In fact, almost all of the difficulties businesses have with producing professional content can be settled in the same way: by using an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is simply a list of upcoming topics and themes you want to address with your content. It’s a tool that magazine editors and TV producers use, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can use an actual printed calendar, or a simple spreadsheet, to put yours together. What matters is that you know what you’re writing and posting about for a few weeks or months in the future.
Why are we so adamant that small business owners (most of whom aren’t working on deadlines or advertiser contracts) plan out their editorial calendars? Let’s take it quick look at a few of the benefits…
Scheduling Posts Keeps You On-Message
It’s no coincidence that when you always post about whatever happens to be on your mind most of your articles and ideas feel scattered. It’s just very difficult to stay disciplined when you’re always staring at a blank screen and trying to force yourself to come up with ideas.
By scheduling your posts ahead of time, you can develop themes that run through your blogs and social accounts. You can hit the same topics or multiple angles and generate internal links that guide readers from one idea or viewpoint to the next.
You Can Beat Writer’s Block With an Editorial Calendar
If having a bunch of unrelated ideas to write about is bad, having no inspiration at all is even worse. Writer’s block is real, and it usually seems to show up when you feel like you need to generate some content but don’t have a starting point to work from.
When you create an editorial calendar, you already have some themes and ideas in place. Plus, you can come up with concepts long before you actually have to write them. That combination of focused brainstorming and reduced pressure is just what you need to keep the ideas flowing.
A Calendar Ties New Content to Your Sales Funnel
It’s important to remember you aren’t generating content simply for the sake of having something to put online. Instead, you want to draw in search engine visitors, grow your social presence, and turn researchers into buyers.
An editorial calendar helps with this because you can plan your articles and posts to fit into an established sales funnel. That is, you can come up with topics that feed into the offers and calls to action you already have set up, making your entire content marketing platform more effective.