If you want to be productive, you need to be decluttering. Being organised is the mantra of today’s world, especially in the uncertain times that we have lived in recently. Businesses today produce lots of content, and managing all of that is no easy job. Save the potential headache and create a clear editorial plan.
What is an Editorial Plan?
An editorial plan involves documenting your content strategy and the roadmap you plan to follow to reach out to your customers. This plan includes all the essential details for a given year, quarter, or even a month. A complete editorial plan provides details of the themes, topics, goals, and deliverables according to a timeline.
Think of a recipe. It contains the details of the utensils, ingredients with their precise quantities in units, the step by step procedure and time required, and any other information that is needed to cook the perfect dish. That is what an editorial plan entails. Along with an editorial calendar, it captures the essential ingredients for executing a content strategy.
How is it Different from a Content Strategy?
Now, this is an important question. Why do you need to make an editorial plan if you have a content strategy? Do you need to go back to the drawing board twice? It is essential to understand the key differences between a business plan and an editorial plan.
The importance of a content strategy goes without saying. According to the HubSpot State of Marketing Report of 2021, 82% of the surveyed companies actively use a content strategy. Very simply put, the content strategy comes first, and the editorial plan is built on the overall content strategy.
The content strategy is all about the kind of content that the business plans to produce, its goals, the brand image and voice, and the different platforms that cater to different needs.
On the other hand, an editorial plan handles the nitty-gritty of implementation and tactical choices like the different types of posts, word counts, authors and experts, keywords and publish days. Furthermore, an editorial plan will reinforce your content strategy.
What are the Advantages of Having an Editorial Plan?
Businesses are often to get started without wasting any time. This enthusiasm is especially common in smaller companies. However, the excitement can fizzle once the burden of content becomes too much or there are too many players involved in the game. Here are the key benefits of crafting an editorial plan before you get started:
● It forces you to chalk out a long-term strategy.
● It adds consistency and discipline.
● It streamlines the resources and workflow.
● It helps you delegate attainable goals.
● It drives internal collaboration and productivity.
An editorial plan is helpful because it streamlines the business’s functioning and gives direction to its efforts. It is also a continuously growing document and should be regularly updated and maintained.
Three Main Ingredients of an Editorial Plan:
A precise definition of the target audience is needed for an editorial plan. It will come in handy for the content creators and designers and assist the marketing strategy and ad placement plan. The editorial plan should specify the standard demographic details such as age, profession, gender, location, other specific interests, search preferences, and so on. Ideally, this data should be mapped for each piece of content specified on the editorial plan.
A timeline is at the heart of an editorial plan. Timeline planning is crucial to produce the content steadily, with enough variety. Regular content increases the brand presence and boosts the business’s reliability in the minds of the audience. Keeping with advertisements and content is no easy task – an editorial calendar is an essential document that breaks it down for all the parties involved.
Where do you source your content? Which posts are created by an in-house team? Do you need content writers, technical writers, subject matter experts? This question ties in with the budget allocation for content creation. Knowing the answers to these questions helps the content team adhere to the planned timelines. It also ensures that the plan is effectively operationalised and relevant content is produced.
Tools to Create A Useful Editorial Calendar
A good editorial calendar is a place to plan, brainstorm, find potential gaps in the content strategy, and stay abreast of the changes required in the editorial plan. An editorial calendar is also an archive of all the content produced by a company, including both the master plan as well as the campaign-specific details. With enough customisation, a good editorial calendar should help the business track the progress of different content pieces, from the assignment stage to the distribution.
Here are some tools that are used by companies to maintain their editorial calendars.
Trello has a visual workflow that helps you envision the creation process and strategy. Imagine new ideas and pieces being added as cards that move on a conveyor belt like a machine in a factory, where different workers tinker with it at different stages. As per the timeline, the tasks move from the creator to the editor, designer, and so on. Trello is used by companies like Udemy, StackShare, etc.
The CoSchedule Marketing Calendar is popular among small and large businesses alike. Imagine if it were possible to create content for different social media, schedule it in advance and post it to other platforms without opening and closing multiple tabs. This seamless and user-friendly social media integration is the most significant advantage that CoSchedule offers. This tool is used by companies like Forbes, Yamaha, etc.
Kapost is a web-based platform with a completely customisable dashboard. The best features of Kapost are its ability to audit content, target audience, and integration with numerous other apps such as WordPress, LinkedIn, Google Analytics, Hubspot CRM, etc. Kapost is used by large enterprises such as Intel, AT&T, etc.
Remember, though, that a fancy tool does not guarantee a strategic editorial plan. Sometimes, old school simplicity is just what you need. So, your editorial calendar could also be a simple Google Calendar. It is easy to navigate, clean and straightforward. Moreover, the best part is it’s a great way to integrate external creators into your plan. It is functional, cloud-based, and free to use and might be an ideal place to start.