We have all, at one point or another, gone through the stress of working on a project or assignment a few hours before its due date.
Most of this is a direct result of procrastination, juggling too many tasks, and not having a disciplined plan of action; which in turn leads to a suboptimal product. In this case, we are talking about suboptimal social media and blog posts with minimal engagement.
In a world where social media marketing is having a greater impact on a company’s sales, suboptimal engagement with potential customers is costly. You need to consistently produce quality content, with the right messages, to the right social channels in order to keep your head above water. Consistently.
Flying by the seat of your pants is a sure fire way to create a disorganized and unfocused social media presence. Consistency throughout your social media and blog posts is key to ensuring that your clients and prospective clients are receiving the right message at the right time.
An editorial calendar is the best way to stay organized, focused and to grow your social media presence, consistently and sustainably. It also ensures that you show up consistently when your clients need you. Notice how many times I use the word ‘consistently’?
Content Marketing Can Get Messy
Content marketing, especially as it pertains to social media marketing can be quite confusing. In particular, trying to find the right content to post to your social media channels in order to maximize your engagements is a tricky process. It’s one that requires countless hours of research and strategy; and proper execution.
Having the content work for you is indeed the name of the game. Keep in mind that the quality of your publications will directly mirror the time and energy you put into them.
So you need to be organized and have a logical structure to all your social media posts, especially if you wish to post on a regular basis across multiple platforms.
An Editorial Calendar Makes Things Less Messy
As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This saying is as true as can be when it comes to content marketing.
If you don’t put in the time and effort into your content marketing, you will likely end up with poor results. On the other hand, planning and having a logical approach to managing your social media accounts and blog will not only help you manage your time better, but will also enable you to organically increase your engagement with users.
Using an editorial calendar is the best way to ensure that you meet all of your social media goals, targets and expectations.
OK, I realize I’m beating a dead horse. What I’m basically trying to say in all these paragraphs is, having an editorial calendar is vital.
What do I mean by an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is simply a schedule of the content you wish to produce across all your social media channels and blog, a plan to complete each post and when to post it.
It works because it helps you to quickly visualize all the content you want to create for the week or month ahead. That guarantees that you are always working on the most relevant task, and prevents you from being overwhelmed as deadlines approach.
Journalists swear by it and so do I.
We, here at the Wellness Business Hub, live and breathe by our editorial calendar. It tells me what content I need to create in advance and keeps everything neat and tidy when it comes to publishing across multiple platforms.
Basically, if I start to freak out because I’m not sure what’s going on, I just go to the calendar and see what I need to create next.
However, what I’ve been talking about so far is quite theoretical. Let’s look at an example in practice.
Let’s say you hold a lot of Facebook live sessions with current and prospective clients. Do you hold those sessions on specific days and times? If so, you’re already on the right track.
Showing up at predictable times for free talks keeps us, as health and wellness practitioners, mentally prepared. Equally as important, it allows us to engage with a greater number of people (interested parties will anticipate your content at certain times and will show up to ask questions and interact with you).
That’s why an editorial calendar is so important. You want to be predictable and you also want your content to flow. (Random and disjointed content will lower your engagement metrics across the board.)
Ready to create one?
The ABCs of Creating and Managing an Editorial Calendar
There are many software programs you can use to create an editorial calendar, but simple programs like Excel or a Google spreadsheet will suffice (there are many free templates available online). You can use columns for the individual days of the month and rows for your content categories. Make sure you write down all the keywords, tags and promotional methods you’ll be using for each task.
In order to get the most out of your editorial calendar, you need to set aside strict times to create the calendar. This is called your planning session. It could take place every week, every two weeks or even once a month —as long as you have all the work you wish to accomplish on it and guidelines on how to accomplish each task, ahead of time.
If you use this method, you’ll find yourself making adjustments as new ideas hit, and that’s perfectly fine. The new ideas will be a result of brainstorming during your planning session.
Here are three key steps to follow during your editorial calendar planning session:
1) Schedule all your sales and promotions
The first thing you need to do is map out what you want to promote (sales promos get noted first because the rest of the content you’ll schedule is used to edutain and prime for the sale) and how to promote it; as well as which team members will be responsible for each aspect of the process.
With each promotion, you will decide how to reach your potential client, and which social media platforms are most beneficial to achieving your goals. For example, what is the mechanism by which you are inviting clients into transformation? Via discovery call? Via a webinar? Via Facebook lives? Via sales consults?
Doing this step first will make the next two steps easier, as it’ll give you a solid idea of how to reach your ideal clients.
Make sure your entire marketing team has access to your editorial calendar and are fully aware of which parts they are responsible for, in order to successfully execute it. You might want to assign one person to be responsible for the overall content creation process and publication to remove confusion on what should be created and who is meant to do it.
Always keep the central theme of your marketing campaign in mind throughout and make sure everything is cohesive.
2) Schedule your recurring content
The next step is to write down the content you consistently publish on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. This would be your weekly blog, FB live, emails etc. What pieces of content you do consistently publish from week to week?
You will need to determine how many blog posts you are required to complete — the more content you can complete, the better.
You should also try and make sure that at least fifteen percent of your media posts involve a call-to-action (ways that allow your potential client to further engage with your brand). The call-to-action can be a link, a sales coupon, a consultation, etc. It is always best to engage your audience when your info or promotion is fresh on their minds.
3) Schedule your social media content
Step three of the planning process involves organizing and scheduling everything you need for your upcoming social media posts, and most importantly, using the appropriate avenue of communication for each type of content.
For example, if the platform you want to use is popular for image searches you should use images, rather than text. Simply be aware of the most effective means of communication for each of the social media platforms you are using.
So schedule your posts with that in mind.
It may be helpful to connect your social media accounts to make post scheduling a breeze. For example, you could connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account so that your posts on Instagram push to your Facebook page.
An important thing to keep in mind before you set publishing dates are holidays, industry specific topics, product releases and any upcoming event that may influence your audience’s behavior.
If you wish to publish content on holidays or special occasions, make sure your content is relevant or matches the mood of the day. You might even want to delay and post some content before certain holidays when customers are more inclined to take action and purchase gifts.
Do not overlook anniversaries and special local celebrations because these could create an emotional response towards your programs or services, or at the very least encourage the sharing of your content.
A risky approach may be to follow the theme of whatever viral content is circulating at the time. Jumping on the bandwagon of a viral trend may be risky, but extremely rewarding if done correctly.
After your planning session is done, you will have a clear road map of what you need to post and when to post it. From this point, you can track the level of engagement and sales you receive from each type of post in order to make your next planning session more efficient.
With continued tracking and analytics, you will better understand your client persona and find more effective ways to gain their attention.
Less Chaos, Better Results
Having a concrete plan makes executing it much easier. That’s why we all need editorial calendars to drive our content marketing strategies for our holistic health businesses.
Perhaps it’s better to think about it this way: an editorial calendar is just another way to hold yourself accountable and to make sure you get everything done on time with the least amount of stress.
Let me tell you one thing: starting and managing an editorial calendar takes time and effort. But, once you get into the swing of things, you will eventually become more organized. You will start to live by your editorial calendar to figure out what you need to be working on at any given time.
The longer you use it, the more accustomed you will be to it, just like riding a bike. Not to mention the churning feeling you get when you miss an assignment, but are not quite sure which one, will cease to exist.
Do you have an editorial calendar? Yes? No? Thinking of creating one? Drop a comment below and let’s discuss!