At Social INK we’re massive fans of planning. You might have guessed from our previous blogs (1, 2, 3), which all extolled the virtues of spreadsheets and keeping a clear plan of your social media accounts and marketing strategy.
As a small business owner, we understand that you’re likely juggling your responsibilities carefully and that creating a plan may seem counterproductive. But, as we’ve mentioned before, a plan will actually help you become more efficient and save time overall.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
— Benjamin Franklin
“Always plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.”
— Richard Cushing
See a theme? It seems we’re not the only ones who know the value of a good plan.
By creating a plan you can set yourself clear goals and deadlines. Remember that all goals you set yourself should be S.M.A.R.T. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
If you’re struggling with your plan and need some help, then check out our Social Media Marketing for Startups: The Basics series. We can walk you through the whole process:
Once you’ve created your own personal marketing strategy, it’s time to put that into place. So, where to start?
Introducing… The Editorial Calendar
Let’s start with the very basics. What is an editorial calendar and why should you use one?
An editorial calendar is quite simply, a tool to help you map out your content publishing on a timeline. It’s essentially a planning document that allows you to keep a birds-eye view of the content you’re serving up and where you’re posting.
A good editorial calendar should help to serve several purposes, including:
Organising and managing content production.
Creating a schedule that provides a consistent online presence.
Effectively distributing content across your marketing channels.
Assigning editorial tasks to members of your team.
Ensuring the content you’re producing is aligned with your marketing strategy.
Acting as a communication point for your team.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar
Some folks like to create their own templates and customise their calendars to suit the software or processes they already use. And that’s great! But for most busy people, a free ready-made template to download is far more appealing.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’re not just going to tell you how good an editorial calendar is and then not tell you where you can get your hands on one. We believe in transparency (and not keeping the good stuff all to ourselves! 😉)
The likelihood is you’ve already got access to a calendar that holds all of the basics you need to create your editorial calendar — if you use Google Calendar to log important meetings or Asana to track your team’s progress on tasks. It just takes a little bit of adaptation to evolve a simple work calendar into a shared editorial calendar that allows you to create and share workflows for blogs, plot them on the timeline, and assign the writing, editing, and publishing.
You can create a dedicated workbook for the year and within the spreadsheet break it down to one tab per month. At Social INK we prefer Google Sheets to Excel — it’s a great way to keep a shared, online document. You don’t need to save it and pass it on via endless email chains, it just updates automatically!
And to make your life easier — here’s that ready-made editorial template we promised you could download.
How to Fill an Editorial Calendar
Of course, an editorial calendar is only as good as you make it. Even if your calendar has all the bells and whistles and a fancy colour scheme, you need to remember… Content is KING.
Without content, an editorial calendar is like a beautiful plate, without cake.
No-one wants that.
So, it’s good to have a clear idea of the goals and brand mission that you want your content to achieve. Every. Single. Post. on your calendar should move you closer to your goal.
You should fill your calendar consistently so that you maintain an even spread of content. People are turned off by spam posting. They also may stop following if there isn’t regular content. It’s a delicate balance.
One of the main benefits of using a calendar interface to plan your posting is that it gives a clear, birds-eye view of when you’re delivering your content. If you have gaps, it’s clear to see and then fill them.
If your strategy is looking a bit flat next to your shiny, new editorial calendar it might be time to rework it. Consumers love content that doesn’t focus on the hard sell but adds value to their life. Make sure your content is high-quality and you won’t need the hard sell — customers will engage with you because they like what you’re doing.
We can help you with building a winning strategy — check out our blog series on marketing strategy and biz dev:
And if you’re struggling with where to get started, why not get in touch with us?
Digital Marketing Is Our Bread and Butter
It’s Social INK’s mission for every business to have an online presence that works for them as an organisation.
Let us help you leverage social media for growth and success. Drop us a line. We offer a no obligation, free consultation and proposal to help boost your business.