Need to save time (don’t we all)? Create an editorial calendar for your business.

What is an editorial calendar?
Basically, an editorial calendar is a planned schedule for content topics over a certain time period.

How does it save time?
An editorial calendar helps keep you on task with regard to a single topic for a specific period of time. Let’s say you have a weekly editorial calendar for any business. You choose one topic each week. Your blog, social media, imagery, in-house digital signs, e-news, etc. all features this particular topic.

How does it increase effectiveness?
Focusing on one topic for all channels of information distribution increased the chances that your customers will be exposed to it and exposed to it enough times to make them take notice and pique their interest. Let’s say you are a landscape center. Your weekly topic might be all about maple trees. You can write an article about planting and care, include photos, perhaps create a demonstration video showing the planting process, show photos of the tree in all seasons, talk about any special sale events on this variety of tree, and maybe even tie in some other angle such as famous maples, maple syrup making instructions or recipes to make with maple syrup. Perhaps you touch on the history of maple trees and how they came to be or even the many varieties. Once you narrow down the topic and create your content any individual who visits your store will see the maple feature, same on the website, same in the e-news they receive, and same with your advertising or other outreach messages. This increases the chance that your audience is seeing and reinforcing the message you intended.

How to get started?
A simple spreadsheet is a workable tool for most company editorial calendars. Include a line for each time period (per day, week, month…whatever makes sense for your business). Fill in topic information, relevant links, images, assignments to individuals to complete or create the content, etc. Add a sheet to your spreadsheet document to hold your idea file or other reference information.

Why do you call it an editorial calendar?
Editorial calendar typically refers to media. If you are of a certain age, you likely remember editorial calendars of trade journals or magazines outlining the specific topics they plan to cover during the course of the year. When you think of your company as its own media source you can see why we might plan along those same lines. Some companies may refer to this planning document as a promotions calendar or some other name. Good content people like the term editorial calendar because it refers to informative content for your audience (not just sales promotions).

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