An efficient editorial calendar implies an accurate analysis as well as the design of a content marketing strategy
Is the online content of your website or company blog nothing but “words”? Are you convinced an editorial calendar is nothing more than a memo on your agenda? If so, you are not really leveraging content marketing’s unlimited potential!
To this very day, some companies still see content marketing as a tool used to gain approval or promote short-term online campaigns by randomly sharing content on social media, blogs, and newsletters.
Let us debunk that myth, shall we? Content marketing is not a short-term campaign: in fact, it is a long-term process aiming to attract, convert, and retain your audience. Therefore, it all starts with a practical strategy and a robust editorial calendar.
CREATING AN EFFECTIVE EDITORIAL CALENDAR
You have chosen your content’s tone of voice, your articles’ layout, as well as set the deadlines for writing and publishing your copy.
An excellent process in name only, as you need an editorial calendar which embodies ideas, the reasons behind a choice, and the guidelines used to take aim and hit the bullseye.
Follow these steps for an effective editorial calendar.
1. Choose your target
Seth Godin says that to reach the maximum audience, you do not want to focus on the mass market but on a niche market.
The logic behind pleasing everyone crumbles away: favour a model which places your customer avatar at the heart of every strategy. Forget about catch-all messages: invest in a content for a specific target who is really interested in what you want to say.
Your ideal avatar should include age, sex, education, job, lifestyle, purchasing behaviour, hobbies but also desires, expectations, and aims.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is by far the quickest and most effective way to obtain answers about our target audience. Thanks to advanced machine learning tools, today we can precisely outline our users based on their movements on the company website, the number and types of pages they spent more time on, the articles they chose to share on social media. These data are at the heart of creating tailored content and linking them with effective touchpoints.
Once you have staked out the market and found your target audience, take your time to study your rivals and outline a strategy which will help you stand out.
Do not forget: a good diversification strategy is not necessarily based on a different message to that conveyed by rivals! A good strategy leverages the victories and failures of other players on the market and translates them into profitable actions.
2. Usefulness + emotions = sales
Once you have defined your target, focus on identifying your goal(s).
Do you want to boost sales, notoriety, likes? Your answers will help you create a really effective editorial calendar.
Say you are a new startup and taking your first steps in the business world: your first objective is to convince interlocutors of your potential to grow. Even despite your considerable experience, you could fall short of the target without a well-organized editorial calendar. Conversely, if you have been on the market for some time, you laboriously became a point of reference in your field and made your brand a reliable one. You now have to continue giving emotional breadth to your story and be seen as the solution to a problem for the people listening to you.
Storytelling can give you a competitive edge. We tell stories to position a product, to give a brand increased chances to sell, to improve a digital identity, to boost online or in-store sales; but the process should always favour useful, interesting, and genuine content to give to users, accompanied by a targeted touchpoint which embodies an effective call to action.
3. Be where it matters: communication channels
All that is left is ensuring you message reaches the right target audience.
Clients interact with brands across multiple channels: blogs, newsletters, social media, PPC campaigns, etc. Therefore, companies are creating more content compared to the past and can be found across different channels, ensuring they are not caught by surprise.
Yet again, the trump card will be the accurate planning of an editorial calendar which outlines clear priorities and objectives for each channel.
- The beating heart of the system is a company’s website. Every article has to become a landing page for campaigns on the outbound channels.
- SEO improvement will improve a company’s ranking among organic SERP and flag the real needs of users related to its products or services.
- The paid ads will contribute to spreading the message across search engines.
- The content, adapted for social media, will contribute to maintaining the customer avatar’s interest alive.
- Newsletters will streamline sharing content via email.
WHEN DOES AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR WORK?
We believe the answer to this question is “when it meets the objective”: when it has considered a target audience and its needs, has defined SEO keywords and preferred research trends by users, and has organized tailored content for each channel.
But, most of all, when an editorial calendar embarks on a long-term journey over time, optimized by PDCA revision cycles; however, the calendar will always focus on one objective: your business.