An editorial calendar is a visual workflow tool that helps content creation teams plan and schedule their work for the week, month, or year. This calendar is an essential part of a successful content marketing strategy. It can help the content creation team develop and implement content strategies, meet tight deadlines, measure their results, and stay on track of each project in the pipeline.
But unfortunately, many businesses don’t understand how to use these powerful marketing tools to their advantage. Don’t miss out on the benefits of utilizing a WordPress editorial calendar simply because you aren’t sure where to start. Follow these steps to effectively use an editorial calendar to streamline the content creation process:
Create An Editorial Strategy
The first step in using an editorial calendar is developing an editorial strategy for your content creation team.
Start this process by asking yourself who you want your content to speak to. In other words, define your target audience. This is important because it helps you determine what voice you should use when creating content. For example, if you are targeting Generation Z, you may want to use a more casual tone and steer clear of industry jargon.
Before you start brainstorming topics, you will need to determine your content objectives. Are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? If so, you should focus on coming up with topics that allow you to share your unique perspective and experience with your readers.
Are you trying to convert consumers who are in the decision stage of the buying process? If so, you may need to create content that focuses on the benefits of your product or compares it to your direct competitors.
Targeting relevant keywords should also be an objective of every content marketing strategy. Now is the time to conduct keyword research to determine which keywords you should target.
You should have a fairly solid editorial strategy in place once you have completed these steps.
Determine Content Frequency
The next step in the process of using an editorial calendar is determining the content frequency. This is more challenging than it may seem. Publishing content too infrequently could make your website seem outdated and hurt your Google ranking. But the quality of the content could suffer if you publish too frequently, which could also hurt your Google ranking.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to determining the right content frequency. The key is figuring out what is best for your team. Some teams may have the resources to publish a new piece of content every day, whereas others may only be able to publish one piece of content per week.
Work with your team to determine how many pieces of content you can reasonably post per week or month. Then, decide who will write each piece of content and when it should be written by.
Plug this information into your editorial calendar so you can keep track of everything. If a writer is given more than one assignment, make sure you space out the due dates to ensure they have plenty of time to spend on each piece.
Look For Inspiration
By this point, you should have established a general content strategy, identified target keywords, and determined how many pieces of content you are going to publish. Now it’s time to come up with topics and ideas for your content.
There are a number of tools you can use to generate interesting and relevant topic ideas for your content, including:
- Feedly: This tool will search through countless news articles and prioritize the results that it believes you will enjoy the most. Sort through these results to see news related to your keywords. Then, use these newsworthy topics to come up with your own topics for your content.
- BuzzSumo: Enter your target keywords into BuzzSumo to pull up a list of related keywords that you can use to generate content topics. For example, if you search for “climate change,” you may see that a related keyword is “climate change skepticism.” Therefore, an appropriate blog could be “Climate Change Skepticism: Debunking 5 Common Myths About Global Warming.”
- Twitter: Use the Twitter search feature to pull up tweets that contain your target keywords. This helps you understand what people are talking about so you can create content that may interest them.
- Google News: A quick Google News search can also give you a better idea of what’s going on in relation to your target keywords. Join the conversation by creating content around these trending topics.
Use these tools to create a unique blog topic idea for each piece of content scheduled in your editorial calendar.
After the content has been written, take the time to edit each piece and add relevant images. You can either create custom images or purchase stock images for this purpose.
The number of images you will need to include will depend on the word count. In general, it’s best to add one image for every 150 words of content.
Then, schedule the content to publish based on the dates in your editorial calendar.
Track Content Performance
Your team’s work isn’t over once the content has been published. After content goes live, it’s important to track its performance to measure its effectiveness. Some of the questions you should answer when tracking content performance include:
- Is this content driving traffic back to your website?
- Is this content being shared on social media?
- Is this content generating new links back to your website?
- Are users commenting or liking this content?
- Is the content ranking based on the targeted keywords?
- What are users doing on your website once they finish reading the content? Is the content leading to conversions?
Tracking each piece of content’s performance is crucial. If you fail to track content performance, you won’t be able to see what works and more importantly, what doesn’t work.
Use the results collected at this stage to adjust your content strategy moving forward. For example, if a certain type of content achieved incredible results, you may want to consider incorporating similar pieces into your content strategy in the future.
WordPress Plugin vs. Editorial Calendar App: Which is Better?
Now you understand the basics of using an editorial calendar. There’s only one question left: should you use a WordPress plugin or app to create an editorial calendar?
The answer is simple—it’s best to use an editorial calendar app. Using a WordPress plugin may seem more convenient, but it requires you to let other parties into your workspace. Inviting third parties into your workspace is a security risk, so it should be avoided at all costs.
In addition to this, to produce quality content may require several team members: A writer, editor, designer, and manager. The content piece will have to go through several steps. If the editorial calendar is managed on WordPress, it would be difficult to make sure each and every content piece goes through the required workflow.
Instead, use the Gryffin editorial calendar tool to simplify, optimize, and automate your content marketing. Request an invite or book a free demo today to learn more about this powerful marketing tool.