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5-step checklist to creating a content marketing editorial calendar

Your editorial calendar is the road map that you need to follow if you’ve onboarded the content strategy vehicle and are looking to reach your destination. 

With a sorted editorial calendar in place, you’ll be up to date with all the content initiatives you’ve taken, and all that you need to take, including other things. 

In absence of an editorial calendar, you’ll find yourself playing an inefficient guessing game that isn’t known for ending in your favor.

The thought of crafting an editorial calendar might seem intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out with content marketing. However, it should be noted that no content strategy can be developed or seamlessly executed without setting up an editorial calendar. The good news is that creating an editorial calendar isn’t rocket science, and in just a couple of attempts, you’d have understood the gist of creating a content calendar. 

Setting up your content calendar: the simplified checklist

1. Establish your content marketing goals

The first step towards any successful endeavour is knowing WHY you’re sacrificing your blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes sanity for content creation. Establish your definition of success and failure, and what a win looks like to you.

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Here are a few content marketing goals that you can start with:

  • More than 10 inquiries per-day from our blog.
  • 50 new email sign-ups in the next 15 days.
  • Increase our email list by 20% each month with qualified leads. 
  • 20% more downloads from our website.
  • 20 phone calls a day from our blog.
  • Build the email list by 10% per month, with qualified leads.

NOTE: “Acquiring 10 website visitors” is NOT a goal, because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t translate to any business benefits to you.

Unless your website sells advertising space and you’re paid by impressions and clicks, traffic should just be your strategy, and not a goal. Increasing traffic is one sure way to reach your goals, but it shouldn’t be your absolute target if you’re a product- or service-based business. 

2. Define your content’s categories and types

Take a broad look at your requirements and goals, and list different content categories that you can target for your cause. 

For instance, if you’re a service-based business, the categories will concern the services you offer. For us, for example, the main topics are lead gen, content marketing, marketing automation, blogging, and the likes. 

If you’re product-based, the main categories will focus on your buyer personas and the problems that your products are going to solve for them. 

Take your time to define the types of posts you want to write. What formats will your content take?

A few examples include…

  • Listicles
  • Aggregated content from other websites
  • Educational/instructional content
  • Promotional content
  • Product, company, and industry updates
  • Videos, photos, or slide decks
  • Whitepapers or success case studies

Such a variety in your content will keep your channels fresh, and engage more audiences. It’s always recommended to mix things up. 

In general, listicles perform well. That’s good for you, too, since they’re relatively easier to create. Try and schedule listicles between lengthier blogs or whitepapers to offer a variety to your readers. 

Also Read: Nike Marketing Strategy

3. Choose your publishing frequency

There is no fixed frequency which you should follow while posting content. It depends on the rate at which you can consistently create high-quality content. Keep in mind that it’s a quality and consistency game, not a quantity one. 

Consistency if your content efforts build trust with both your customers as well as Google, making you rank higher than your competition.

Once you’ve decided on your frequency, enter the publishing dates on your calendar for the next six months. This will help you plan seasonal or promotional content ahead of its time, and nothing will be left till the last moment. 

4. Pick calls-to-action for each post

Any kind of content you put out should make it easier for your reader to take the next logical steps. 

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There can be many types of calls-to-action that you can include in your pieces, including:

  • Downloading an ebook, course, or any other lead magnet
  • Scheduling a consultation
  • Requesting more information about a service or product
  • Moving ahead in their buyer’s journey

The important thing is that the CTAs shouldn’t look out of place, and should be related to the content you’re writing about. This blog is about content calendars, but suppose we add a download link to a MarTech guide at the end of this post, you’d most probably ignore it because that was not why you came to this blog. Being a premier Hubspot agency partner, we have the experience and know-how to do all this successfully.

5. Assign one resource to oversee the calendar

As time passes and your team works on the different content initiatives you’d outlined, the calendar gets filled with more important details.

It’s likely that you have multiple collaborators to this calendar, taking notes, writing ideas, and assigning deadlines on the calendar. If this is the case with you, you must have one resource overseeing all the changes, in order to avoid the trap of realizing too late that a scheduling mistake was made. 

A list of things that this resource should take note of while reviewing the calendar:

  • Upcoming content is being worked on in track with the publication date
  • No content-creation tasks conflict with holidays
  • Social media posts are scheduled along with each blog post
  • Notes that are no longer relevant should are removed
  • Status’ are up-to-date so your team’s on the same page

The more organized and accurate your calendar, the better your marketing results will be.

content calendar again if you don’t take the time to proactively plan new content.

Don’t wait, get publishing!

Being consistent with your content efforts, painstaking crafting pieces after pieces, is genuinely hard work. With a content calendar by your side, you’ll be able to eliminate the guesswork and achieve better results. 

Remember, there are no set rules for creating your content calendar, and it can be customized in a number of unique, creative ways. At the end of the day, the goal of it is to ensure that nothing slips between the cracks in your content strategy. If you’re just getting started, choose what you’ll think right now and keep refining and improving it as and when required. 

We at CN have created several calendars (and tried to stick to a few, too), and let’s tell you that as your project evolves, the calendar will be nothing like where you started with – and it’s a good thing. So, don’t wait anymore, start crafting your calendar from scratch, fill in the details relevant to you right now, and improve as time goes on!

If done effectively, you won’t find your writers struggling for inspiration, since they’ll have tons of different topics begging for their attention!

FREE TEMPLATE: Here’s a little help for you to get started without much inertia – Free Template for you to get started with. 

Author avatar
Shriya Garg
Shriya is the co-founder and CEO at ContentNinja. She started her first blog when she was 12 years old, and coded her first website by the time she was 14. An avid reader and writer, she published her first book when she was 16 years old and has sold over 10,000 copies since. When she's not fielding client calls, Shriya can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.