To get started, we’re going to create a Google Sheet with our content ideas. I like to use Google Calendar to view the content I’ve scheduled ahead of time. Schedule the next 4-6 weeks of content Now we need to decide exactly when we’re going to publish each piece. As soon as content is scheduled, you need to create a card for it on Trello. Eventually, you want to have a queue that’s 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule, and your deadlines will also be 4-6 weeks before the actual publication date. If you have multiple writers working on creating content for you, you’ll need to include them in their respective articles. To keep things simple, have your writers create a Google Doc for each article and post it in the description or comments of the article card. Again, I recommend you have a forward-looking calendar of 4-6 weeks of content. The deadline is added for one week from now so it can be ready six weeks in advance. He or she schedules the article for publication on the deadline in the Google sheet.
Are you tired of stressing over your content at the last minute?
You know the feeling.
The deadline for content is rapidly approaching, and so you scramble to write a quick blog post just to hit the weekly quota.
This isn’t just an isolated event. There’s a massive problem in the marketing industry with people who are unsure about how to create a sustainable content marketing strategy.
Recent research published by Zazzle Media showed that, while 79% of marketers believe content marketing is effective, only 6% know how to implement it.
I’ve seen countless content marketers start from scratch each week. And I can tell you that it’s stressful and unproductive. Even worse, it doesn’t create very good content.
When you’re constantly rushed, you aren’t producing your best stuff.
Instead, you need to set up an editorial calendar. This will help you streamline how your content is produced. I promise you’ll be amazed by the results once you start using one.
I’ll show you exactly how to get set up using an editorial calendar.
Let’s jump in!
An introduction to the system we’ll be using
In this article, I show you a super-effective system for managing all your content in a few separate places.
Feel free to adjust and tweak this system as you see fit.
Basically, we’ll keep things in three places.
First, all of our articles will be stored in a Google sheet. This is where we’ll include notes and general references for creating the content.
Second, we’ll have a Google Calendar with deadlines listed. This isn’t actually a critical piece of the framework, but it provides a helpful way to see the editorial calendar visually.
Third, we’ll use Trello to keep our articles organized. This allows us to collaborate as a team and work together to develop the content.
If you have an editor to proofread like I do, he or she can review articles once you’re finished writing them.
You can create multiple stages for each article and keep them organized without people messing up other team members’ work.
For articles that have a lot of discrete steps — like researching, writing, editing, and publishing —this is a lifesaver.
I’ll be showing you how to set up each of these pieces one at a time.
Create a backlog of content
The very first thing you need to do is create a list of all the content you could possibly write.
Chances are, you’ve thought of dozens of posts, but you forgot them along the way. What a waste!
Instead, we’re going to keep all your content ideas in one place. This is where we’ll be able to record the ideas that will one day go on the blog.
Remember, just because we add something to this list doesn’t mean it will necessarily end up on the blog. Lots of ideas I’ve had for posts just didn’t end up materializing.
I changed my mind about the idea, found a different angle, or incorporated two posts into one.
If you do that, it’s fine. But I would never have been able to write them at all if I hadn’t recorded my ideas. So our first step is to record.
To get started, we’re going to create a Google Sheet with our content ideas.
We need to create a few different headings. Let’s include the title, the assigned author, the status of the project, the publication date, the project rating, and notes.
The rating tells us whether the content is ready to publish or not.
For example, 1 is just an idea, 2 is semi-developed, and 3 is ready to be written and published. This gives us a feel for what articles we should work on first.
Of course, you can keep adding ideas as you think of them, but you need to keep a clear idea of what’s ready for publication and what’s just a half-baked concept.
Write down as many ideas here as you can think of. I’ll be using the example of an outdoor gear e-commerce site for this article.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas, focus on the needs and desires of your buyer personas. This is how 63% of marketers create content.
If you’ve kept article ideas in other random places, like an Evernote page or file on your phone, now is the time to compile them into the same location.
This will form the basis of what we’d like to include on the blog.
Go ahead and mark all the topics as ideas.
Reviewing all the topics in the spreadsheet, decide which are closest to being ready for publication in the rating section. For ideas that aren’t ready, include in the notes category what you still need.
Now, let’s sort them by ranking number. Click on the column marker above Rating. A small arrow will appear. Click on it.
In the box that drops down, select Sort sheet Z to A.
This will put articles with a rating of 3 at the top.
We’re going to go ahead and schedule all these articles in the next step.
Before moving into publishing, make sure each piece of content has a compelling headline. Be sure to include one that captures the attention of your readers.
Set an overarching plan
Before we can get into the specific details of how your content marketing strategy will play out, you need to have a long-term plan.
First, decide how often you will post.
While there is no perfect number, research by Express Writers showed that companies that blog 16 times a month earn 4.5x as many leads as those that blog just four times a month.
That’s a pretty big discrepancy! If you have the time to blog more often, do so.
However, the important thing isn’t really the actual number. You need to choose a frequency that you can maintain over weeks, months, and years of publishing.
I also recommend creating a few repeating post types. This helps you create content regularly.
It is really difficult to come up with content ideas from scratch, so putting a framework in place is a great way to keep things organized and on track.
You don’t want to publish the same type of article constantly, only to change to a different type later on. It’s a good idea to make sure your editorial calendar has a mix of subject areas.
I recommend looking at your articles in the span of a month. A month is long enough to provide lots of opportunities for variety, but it’s also short enough to manage easily.
I like to use Google Calendar to view the content I’ve scheduled ahead of time.
Make sure you cover more than one topic in a month. This is especially important if you have a few different buyer…