Your Editorial Calendar is Not Your Content Marketing Strategy

Your Editorial Calendar is Not Your Content Marketing Strategy

These are some of the questions you need to answer before the architect creates a plan for your house. First comes the content marketing strategy If your editorial plan isn’t feeling quite right, chances are you don’t have a solid strategy – or your team doesn’t have a shared understanding of what that strategy is. In our most recent content marketing research, 37% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy, with 38% indicating they have an undocumented strategy. But not enough of their strategies have a content mission, a deep understanding of their personas, and goals tied to their content. Here are a few other things to consider: Does everyone on the team have the same understanding of the strategy? And that’s where your editorial plan comes in. If you have your big ideas nailed down and are struggling with execution, chances are you need to spend some time with your editorial plan. Do you have both strategy and a plan? Would it make sense to fine-tune your content marketing strategy or your editorial plan – or both? Want help in designing and building your content marketing home?

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Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when CMI published it last year. We’re sharing it now because the misperceptions about editorial calendars and content marketing strategies are still common.

Marketers often talk about how they have a strategy … then proceed to say they are set because they have an editorial calendar.

At the risk of sounding ranty, I’d love to yell from the rooftops: An editorial calendar is not a content marketing strategy!

While this conflict may seem like semantics, the meshing of these terms points to a bigger issue.

You need to have both a strategy and an editorial plan or calendar. And you need to understand how they differ because the absence of one may explain why you are experiencing uncertainty in your content marketing efforts.

Architect and civil engineer

Let’s say you are building a home. An architect leads the design of the structure by creating an architectural plan. But a civil engineer makes the design possible – implementing and adjusting the plan to realize the architect’s vision.

Do you need an architectural design for your new home? Absolutely. It’s the vision of what you want to achieve. You help your architect understand your needs (your why) – your strategy. Where do you want to move? How big do you want your house to be? Do you want room to grow or something more compact? How much do you want to spend? These are some of the questions you need to answer before the architect creates a plan for your house.

The architectural phase of your new home is akin to your content marketing strategy.

With that architectural strategy, the civil engineer can create a building plan to implement the vision. That’s akin to your editorial plan or calendar.

In short, just like when you are building a home, you can’t have an effective building plan without an architectural strategy, and you can’t execute your strategy without your plan. (And, if you are designing a house with your spouse, you both need to get on the same page as well – just like your team needs to get on the same page with your strategy.)

First comes the content marketing strategy

If your editorial plan isn’t feeling quite right, chances are you don’t have a solid strategy – or your team doesn’t have a shared understanding of what that strategy is.

In simple terms (this doesn’t account for all the nuances), your strategy needs to answer these three questions:

  • Who are we educating/helping? (Note: I did not say “targeting,” as your goal should be helping. Creating a persona is one way to do this.)
  • How can we help them in a way that no one else can? (This is your content tilt.)
  • How will…

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