I know you’ve probably read a million and one different posts on the importance of using an editorial calendar, but that’s because it’s ridiculously helpful when it comes to writing content for your blog or business. It’s an amazing resource that provides clarity and organization and makes it that much easier for your followers to keep up with you and your posts.
Our system is perfect for us, but may not be perfect for everyone. There is no official “correct” way to design your editorial calendar, and every post we’ve read offers something creative and new, so take from us whatever you can and create your own editorial calendar and bring balance to your brand.
As I’ve mentioned many times throughout our posts, I am a planner and organizer at heart. I love anything from list making to calendars, to planners, to pretty post-its and whiteboards. As a designer, I am also very visually driven, so I need to have something to look at that covers an entire month. I have a huge list of organization systems depending on the project and purpose it serves. I use a monthly/ weekly paper planner for my daily tasks, a 3-month long editorial calendar for my social media and online marketing planning, and the editorial calendar plugin for my WordPress site to keep my posts in order.
Today specifically, I want to discuss further exactly how I use each piece and how you might be able to use them for your own business as well.
START BY LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE
Before focusing too specifically on any specific month or campaign, I take a moment to evaluate the entire year. I lay out each page of my annual editorial calendar and create a focus or theme specific to each month and fill out the monthly space on each document with its chosen focus.
This helps give me guidance for the year as I select blog posts, newsletter topics, and social campaigns to schedule through each month as it relates to the pre-selected focuses I’ve set for our business. This organizational structure helps to create a sense of consistency throughout the month, not just for us, but for our clients and followers. The flow makes for a smoother transition from month to month, and our followers find it easier to follow our content and search our services and social content for the best topics that relate to their needs.
KEEP IT FLEXIBLE
Personally, I like to have at least three months worth of content organized, planned, written and scheduled out ahead of time. This gives me a scheduling goal to hit quarterly v.s. scheduling everything monthly (or worse – daily). I then have more time through each month to focus on our clients and their needs instead of stressing about scheduling enough social content for the week.
While this outline is incredibly helpful is sectioning off sections of the year, it is by no means a permanent outline. Picking themes or focuses for each month is helpful is keeping my content targeted and specific, but it also leaves me room to edit or make changes down the road as our services or clients interests change. The goal is always to provide the most valuable content and resources for our followers and just as fashions change, so do social trends and client interests. It’s important to plan ahead but leave room for flexibility in order to stay relevant and valuable.
By having your editorial calendar all written out and organized, it makes it that much easier to move things around while maintaining a sense of balance to your schedule.
To help you streamline your monthly small business planning, I have created this free printable version of our own monthly social media editorial calendar. Download your FREE copy here and print one for each month of the year. Then fill out accordingly to your style and business structure. I hope it brings you to clarity and confidence it has brought us as we prepared for 2018.
Remember, the most important part of an editorial calendar is to provide structured support for your business and marketing activities, but also to leave you room for flexibility as things change.
No matter what program you choose to plan your business on, be it personal planners, online applications, big giant whiteboards, or monthly printouts, I can not stress enough the value of an organizational system. Bring confidence to your business, and balance to your life through a streamlined editorial calendar system.
Do you have any other organization tips and time savers when it comes to editorial calendars?
Please share in the comments below and let us know your go-to resources for streamlined business success.
Julie & Steve