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How to Create an Editorial Calendar

Posted on 5.31.2013

The best way to maximize the time you spend on content creation research is to plan the next few months of email campaigns. In fact, many marketers plan a full year in advance.

By doing this, you will accumulate content ideas that will help to not only keep your sanity, but also your subscribers. Plus, this content can be used to generate material for webinars, videos, how-to guides or blog posts, which in turn can be promoted with more emails. Check out these eight tips for creating your email editorial calendar below:

1. Evaluate last year’s campaigns

There is no better place to start brainstorming content ideas than by looking back at last year’s content. In doing this, make sure to identify your top performing campaigns, and decide if that content can be repurposed or expanded on in email messages for this year.

2. Map Out Holidays

Now a days there are holidays for everything, which is not only good for Hallmark, but also for your content strategy. This is because you can always create a campaign around a holiday if you are running short on content ideas. For example, a retailer can launch a “10 Gifts for Father’s Day” campaign, while a content publisher could write an article titled “The 5 Best Father’s Day Activities.”

3. Note Company Milestones

Whether you have a long-time employee that is celebrating an anniversary, or your company is enjoying 10 years in business – milestones like these deserve recognition, so why not share the celebrations with your email subscribers? Not only does this strategy provide you with some content opportunities, but it also makes your company more relatable.

4. Plan for Events

Events like product launches or industry tradeshows make for great content within email campaigns. And, since these types of events are typically planned out in advance, content marketers can pencil in the date of these events into their email content calendar.

5. Get Inspired

Look around the Web to get inspired with content ideas. This includes evaluating your competition and their campaigns, as well as the social chatter online referencing your brand or industry. By doing this, it might spark a content idea that you can put on your email editorial calendar.

6. Reevaluate Periodically

If you are making your content calendar a year in advance, it is a good idea to reevaluate your strategy periodically. Setting some time aside each month to look at your scheduled content will allow you to make changes as needed and will guarantee that every message being sent out is timely, a good fit for your brand and relevant to your audience.

7. Ask for Contributions

Contributed content usually makes for a good campaign because it receives exposure not only from the business that publishes the content, but also from the contributor who created the content. That said, sometimes it can take a while for contributors to come up with an idea and produce an article, which is why you should always be reaching out to industry professionals to maintain a steady flow of content. It is also important to note that even though contributed content generally doesn’t come with a firm schedule date, it can be used to fill-in the holes within your content calendar.

8. Don’t Worry About Holes

It can feel overwhelming to fill an entire content calendar a year in advance, so don’t feel like a failure if you find your calendar has some holes. This is because every month brings fresh news events, technologies, trends and products that you might want to reference in your campaigns – so leaving a few holes in your calendar provides your business with some flexibility to fit unexpected and timely content into your messages.

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