One topic covered in nearly every content marketing or social media strategy workshop we do is the importance of developing and using an editorial calendar for a brand’s blog and content sharing.
There are various ways to develop and use an editorial calendar.
Some organizations use an editorial calendar to drive content consistency, i.e. publishing content on the same topic (or the same type of post) every week on the same day. While that helps create predictability for an audience (i.e., they know what to expect on a certain day each week), this editorial calendar structure can be too much about what the organization wants to publish on a specific day vs. what an audience member is seeking that day.
Creating an Outside-In Editorial Calendar
The final form and detail an editorial calendar takes needs to make sense for the organization. We recommend, however, starting with a time horizon for an editorial calendar that FIRST makes sense for audience members and then fits the organization.
Using a business-to-business example, some business people's activities very significantly over the course of the year and may go through a variety of cycles. For others, every quarter may look much like the next one. Some have an activity cycle that may be monthly with a slight variation each quarter. If you understand the relevant activity patterns of your audience, however, that is a good starting point for structuring an editorial calendar.
With that type of outside-in look at your audience's typical time horizons, consider how it fits your organization.
How do your organization’s activity cycles compare to your customers? Is the organization’s predominant business pattern annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even daily?
Ideally the time horizons match up closely, and you're set to explore topics that match up with the frequency those cycles suggest.
If the time horizons don't match up, however, figure out a balance between the two. While it would be great to orient completely toward the customer, ultimately the editorial calendar planning horizon has to work for your organization to keep it going.
Once you've identified an appropriate time horizon, it's time to start exploring topics and matching them to the calendar. And we'll explore some important questions to do that tomorrow. - Mike Brown
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