Building Client Content Editorial Calendars

By | June 15, 2012
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Content Editorial CalendarContent is the fuel behind every inbound marketing campaign. It can be used to attract site visitors when they are actively seeking information on a particular product or service, position company representatives as industry experts, nurture leads through the buying cycle and more.

However, effective content production requires a well-thought out strategy and processes for keeping writers on task and deadline. This is why we recommend creating content editorial calendars for your clients that clearly outline what is to be produced, when it will be published and who is responsible.

Transparency, Responsibility and Strategic Execution

By planning content topics and plans 1-3 months in advance for your clients’ campaigns, you can:

  • Get the agency and client on the same page. Agreed-upon activities eliminate the back-and-forth of one-off topic approvals, saving time.
  • Keep content production consistent. When deadlines and responsibilities are assigned, both the agency and the client are more likely to buckle down and get it done.
  • Clearly, outline responsibilities. In some cases, the agency and the client may both produce content on behalf of the organization. In others, the client may only provide final approval. A content calendar makes sure everyone knows what their roles are and when their services will be needed, so that they can plan their time accordingly.
  • Better tie content to strategy. In planning content in advance, you ensure that it aligns with your goals and other marketing activities. It’s no longer a scramble for topic ideas at the last minute, but instead a well-thought out plan for publishing that connects with overall objectives.

Essential Elements

There are numerous platforms in which you can house your editorial calendar, but we prefer either Google Docs or 37 Signals’ Basecamp. Both enable you to easily collaborate with clients during development and execution stages. 

That said, no matter where your editorial calendar is built, we recommend the following elements be included within it: 

  • Title — Strive to make it relevant, yet catchy.
  • Type of Content — E.g. blog post, ebook, whitepaper, etc.
  • Description — Overview the content at a high level, including target audiences, main goals and associated KPIs.
  • Publishing Date Use this to map out timelines for production and client review.
  • Involved Parties — Include both agency and client responsibilities in the production process. Make sure people clearly understand their roles.
  • Associated Keywords — List high-priority keywords that you want to be sure are included in the piece for optimization purposes.
  • Related Media Opportunities — Does the piece relate to an upcoming media editorial calendar opportunity? If so, take note in the calendar.
  • Distribution Plans — For larger content projects, include high-level distribution plans in the calendar for easy reference. Flesh details out in accompanying strategy documents, if needed.

Mapping Out Content

When building a client content strategy, and selecting topics and formats, look at the big picture and how the content can drive real results. Consider:

  • What goals are we trying to achieve? For example, does the client want to increase sales in a particular market segment or for a specific product? Or, are you looking to draw repeat purchases from an existing customer base? Your content should always tie back to a particular goal and KPIs.
  • Who are we trying to reach? Does planned content address target audiences’ pain points, and provide actionable solutions? Does the client have content for every stage of the buying process?
  • How does the content tie into other marketing activities? What are your distribution plans? Do you need additional content to enhance existing or planned lead nurturing campaigns, advertising promotions, upcoming events or other content projects?
  • What trends and topics are generating industry buzz? What are target audiences talking about and interested in? Does your client have expertise that can be shared to join into the conversation?

Note: While it’s important to map content out in advance, you must also be flexible. Sometimes, market trends and timely news require you to adjust your publishing schedule to respond.

How Do You Manage Content?

As discussed in The Marketing Agency Blueprint, content marketing is one of the largest opportunities for agency growth, as strong content services are a “rare and valuable asset in the new ecosystem.”

What processes do you use to map out client content and keep publishing schedules on track? Share them below.

Image Credit: sun dazed

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