How to Put Together An Editorial Calendar

Content marketing is only as good as the content you can produce. But managing an editorial calendar is a balancing act, especially if you're marketing to different audiences at once. Every piece of content won't resonate with every single reader (or potential reader) in your audience.

When coming up with ideas to fill an editorial calendar, you have to keep in mind:

  • Topic: Does this topic resonate with your target audience? Does it align to your target keywords?
  • Persona: Who in your audience will this resonate with?
  • Intent: How likely is that person going to buy your product after reading your post? (Not all posts have to align with high intent; in fact, most content marketing works best for lower-intent members of your audience looking to learn more about your overall area of expertise).

Several models exist to visualize managing a calendar:

The Content Bullseye

Source: Sue Waters

Source: Sue Waters

This model best captures depth and breadth of topic. How important is it for your audience to know? How closely does this topic relate to your products, solutions, or services? This ensures you're writing about topics that matter to your potential paying audience, rather than what you're passionate about (though hopefully, it's a healthy mix!).

What has been helpful for our editorial team is to literally list out every potential topic and place it on our content bullseye. That way, we can accurately map out the gaps—what topics have we nailed, vs. what must-know topics have we not talked about at all?

See-Think-Do

Source: This fantastic blog post by Avinash Kaushik.

Source: This fantastic blog post by Avinash Kaushik.

This model aligns every marketing channel to the intent of the viewer. When you create a piece of content at the "see" stage, it increases awareness of your product, but probably doesn't really talk about what your product can do; instead, it's a piece that is helpful, relevant, and provides a positive experience. Those in the "see" stage are interested in your topic of expertise, but are not buyers.

"Think" pieces require more time investment by the reader, like ebooks or PDFs. This investment might be a barter, such as an email address for a downloadable checklist, or giving their time by signing up for a webinar to learn more about a specific topic. Those in the "think" stage are actually looking to buy a product similar to yours, but they may not be convinced that yours is the right one.

"Do" content pieces directly enable the buying of the product. It's more likely that this will be web copy or ad copy than a blog post—though sales enablement content counts, too. Those in the "do" stage are ready to purchase, but need that last tipping point to get them to actually buy.

The Funnel

Source: Aweber

Source: Aweber

Every model I've seen is another way of visualizing the marketing funnel—are you creating content for each stage?

That includes loyalty and advocacy. What content are you serving up for your loyal customers? This might take the form of help articles, exclusive video content, or product demonstrations. Making sure your customers are getting the most value they can from your product keeps them happy, but also percolating around your ecosystem for an upsell.

As you create your editorial calendar, balancing pieces of content for different stages of these models is essential for a well-rounded content marketing strategy. Take your pick at which model resonates the most with you—depending on what I'm writing, I'll favor one over another to visualize the goals I want to accomplish.

No matter what, don't lose sight of your goals. Why are you picking up a metaphorical pen in the first place?