How to create a strategic editorial calendar in three easy steps.
Why is an editorial calendar important? Because it helps you plan ahead, so you aren’t scrambling for ideas at the last minute. And because it helps you stay organized long-term by identifying workflow, deadlines, responsibilities and more. Plus, it provides a 10,000-foot view to help ensure each content piece fits into a cohesive story and stays true to your overall strategy.
So how do you go about creating this critical document? It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Read on for three easy steps.
Step 1: Host a Brainstorming Session
Where do you find the editorial ideas to fill your calendar? Start with a brainstorming session that includes not only your content team, but also key players from around the company, such as product/service line leaders.
Try questions like these to jumpstart the dialogue and get ideas flowing:
- What questions or concerns do you frequently hear from customers?
- What products or services need increased awareness?
- What consumer lifestyle needs and interests can you tie to your products and services?
- Are there any company-wide campaigns or initiatives you can leverage or complement?
- What financial topics are trending in the news?
Step 2: Map It Out
As you sort through ideas from the brainstorm, you’ll want to organize the topics you select into a single document — the actual editorial calendar. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or Word table. Or you can opt for content management tools like Kapost, Divvy HQ and Compendium.
When deciding where to fit each topic into the timeline, consider the following:
- What are your quarterly goals?
- Do you have specific sales cycles or product focuses throughout the year?
- Does natural seasonality affect your business?
- When are product launches or updates slated to roll out?
- What major holidays could you create content around?
- What industry or community events could you create content around?
Once your calendar is full, save any unused ideas in a story bank — you never know when they might come in handy.
Step 3: Add the Details
Your editorial calendar can also include details like the following:
- Content type (newsletter article, blog post, video, etc., as well as whether it’s original, repurposed or curated)
- Target audience (average consumer, small-business owner, prospective homebuyer, etc.)
- Call to action and/or desired response from audience (open a checking account, call a loan officer, etc.)
- Team member(s) responsible for writing or otherwise creating the content
- Internal deadlines, including executive and compliance approval
- Publish date
- Channel(s) where content will be published (more on choosing channels in our next issue)
An editorial calendar is meant to be a fluid document that can and will change as your needs and goals change, especially if you’re planning far in advance. So review your calendar at regular intervals — at least quarterly — to ensure it still makes sense with what’s happening at your bank and with the financial industry as a whole.
In next month’s issue, we’ll highlight some of the most popular distribution channels (email, direct mail, social media, etc.) to help you choose the best one(s) for your content marketing goals.
Is your calendar still wide open? CCG can help you fill it in. Email us or call 800.525.0313 today to learn more about our expertise in content strategy creation.
Customer Communications Group, Inc., is not responsible for products or services offered by third parties or websites mentioned and provides such information and sites solely for your convenience.