As we enter one of the busiest times of the year, pausing now to think about your small business editorial calendar will save you time and headaches in the long run. I know; it’s easy to let your editorial planning fall near the bottom of the priority list. “I don’t need to worry about next month’s newsletter today,” you might think. “I’ve got a whole month for that!”
But here’s the thing: Planning out blog topics, video ideas and social media posts with some type – any type – of editorial calendar will not only save you on the aforementioned time and headaches, it will also improve the quality of your content and help ensure that no good idea falls through the cracks.
Follow these five tips to get your small business editorial strategy up and running in a quick and effective way:
1. Don’t get too fancy.
You can purchase some super advanced online software, you can open up a new Excel document or you can use a Sharpie on a desk calendar — it really doesn’t matter. The tool isn’t the important thing; the important thing is that you get yourself into a plan-ahead mindset.
Here’s a basic layout you can copy/adjust for your own needs:
2. Get into a planning groove.
Identify important upcoming dates in order to give your content some context. . Start by asking yourself what holidays are coming up in the next 2-3 months? What season are we entering? What special event is your business going to be hosting next? What sales will you offer and how will you determine their timing? Brainstorm fresh content angles off these answers. Make this question session a regular routine, whether it’s once a month or once a season — write it on the calendar so you don’t forget!
3. Pinpoint your content categories.
Consider what type of content your audience is most interested in and how that aligns with your business’s own goals and expertise. Brainstorm content ideas for all categories. I’ll give you a real-life example! If you go to our website, you’ll see we offer four main types of services: “Thinking,” “Planning,” “Doing,” and “Training.” Guess what four content categories we keep in mind when we’re setting our own editorial calendar … (wink-wink).
Appoint someone to be in charge of managing the editorial calendar on a regular basis (this may or may not be you). Encourage this person (or yourself) to set deadlines that allow enough time for in-house collaboration, photo sessions and edits without dragging things out too much. Get things posted, cross off items, think ahead again, add new ideas to the calendar; rinse and repeat.
5. Be flexible.
Remember, nothing is ever set in stone; even Sharpie can be crossed out! Pay attention to what’s happening in the news both locally and nationally. Be aware of what your competitors are doing. Track your content to see what is driving higher traffic to your website or engaging your fan base the most. If you see an opportunity for a spontaneous post, check the calendar to see what can be swapped out or delayed or saved for a rainy day to make way for more timely content.
Need more planning advice? We plan all the things! From advertising and marketing plans to crisis communications and social media, our forward thinking can bring you results (and peace of mind). Of course, you can always talk to us about your specific individual needs, too.