Content strategy — creating repeatable processes to govern content marketing and make it accountable to measurable goals — has many components.
Your first steps in putting together a content strategy include determining the goals, developing personas, analyzing content needs, and designating someone to serve in an editorial leadership capacity.
From there, you’ll want to establish a content workflow. This is the point at which content marketing gets tactical.
It’s a nuts-and-bolts process in which you will lay out content calendars, creation, approvals, style guides, templates and tools. Get this part right, and you’ll be ready to run a newsroom!
The Editorial Calendar: The Hub Of Your Content Workflow
At the very core of the content workflow is the editorial calendar. An editorial calendar establishes what content will be created, what format it should take, which channel it is meant for, and when it will be published. A digital editorial calendar also tracks the connections for a given piece of content, including how it will be repurposed and amplified in social media channels.
Editorial calendars track how often content is created (e.g., Twitter – 2x daily; Blog – 3x week; Newsletter – 2x month on Wednesday). They are also critical tools for tracking content ideas.
For example, a company striving to post four times per week on its blog may shoot for one originally authored piece, one commentary on current industry news, one guest post from an outside expert, and one round-up of curated links on interesting topics related to the business. Having specific goals helps to alleviate that “white page” syndrome when you know you have to create something, but you don’t have a clue what that something should be.
Many editorial calendars also incorporate the production process into the mix, which is a great way to ensure content creation is on track. This can include who’s responsible for individual content elements, the due date of a first draft, who conducts the copyedit, and a date (often, with a specific time) for receiving and proofing the final draft, entering it into the CMS system (or newsletter template, or blog platform), and when it will be pushed live, or published.
The editorial calendar should help outline a process for promoting and disseminating your content on various channels. For example, say you’re publishing a white paper or research report. How and when will that information be broken down, repurposed and funneled into other channels such as your blog, a press release, or an update on a social network? What about ad creative?
On that note, your calendar should include reminders to collect appropriate graphic elements and/or multimedia content (such as photos, charts or graphs) to enhance the written word.
The editorial calendar should be governed by a master calendar that takes into account key dates and events. It provides not only an overview of what content will publish by day, week or month, but ties that broader schedule together with specifics such as holidays, trade shows, company announcements, events (such as webinars), or new product launches.
Don’t forget to take international holidays into account if content is targeted to foreign countries or territories. These key dates should also help inform the editorial calendar with ideas for content themed for the Christmas season, perhaps, or a major industry conference at which you’ll be releasing a white paper.
Those holiday reminders in the calendar should be taken seriously, and they should be leavened with common sense. Seasoned editors don’t publish their best material late on a Friday afternoon in summer when the target audience is beach-bound, just as a financial services company should hold back publishing on a bank holiday Monday. That’s just common sense; you want your content to have the maximum possible reach and impact.
More Tools Of The Trade
The editorial calendar is a must-have tool for any content marketing strategy, and one that can be adapted to varying needs. What follows are a list of additional resources for the content “newsroom” that range from nice-to-have to must-have elements of content marketing initiatives, depending on the organization and goals.
Please read the rest of this post on MarketingLand.com, where it originally published.