Next to having a smart content strategy in place, leveraging a robust editorial calendar is the most important thing you can do to ensure successful content execution.
Most organizations now publish a higher volume of content assets, have more individuals authoring content, and often these content developers are dispersed throughout a region or across the globe. Factor in complex business priorities, a wide array of industry trends and topics, enormous technological advances, and a rapidly evolving marketplace, and you have a massive web of variables of which to stay ahead.
Even if you’re managing the content strategy of a smaller organization, or as a one-woman show, leveraging an editorial calendar can support long-term scalability and minimize writer’s block.
But the real benefit is you have a holistic view into the events and activities of your organization for the entire year, providing a starting point in many cases, to the actions you need to take to support business priorities. You can share this with leadership to gain buy-in for where you will focus editorial time, and you can provide meaningful metrics showing how you’re impacting their priorities each quarter and by year’s end.
I’ve recently come across several articles that define various components of the content creation and management community. As a long-time practitioner of content, knowledge, and communications strategies and management, I agree with many of them. However, based on my own experiences, I do have some slight variations in my personal definitions.
More and more, content is the basis of our marketing and PR efforts. Brand journalism, content marketing, storytelling, social media—at the core, there is content. Getting the strategy, development, and distribution of our thought leadership right increases our chances of success.
In a few of my posts, I have shared elements that are important to a winning content program. So let me start by providing a baseline definition for each building block of what I call the content ecosystem.
Imagine this rather typical scenario.
You’ve spent weeks developing what you believe will be a prominent article for your company blog. There’s a fascinating and unique success story to talk about, and you scored an awesome interview with the client to weave in a few pithy quotes supporting this banner project. Senior leadership is excited about the piece and has provided a great tie-in to strategic priorities—it’s in the company’s sweet spot. Early on, you engaged with key subject matter experts on the primary trends and innovations in the industry that align perfectly, and they even provided you a few nifty graphics and images to bring some visual life to your story. Final reviews are complete, you publish the story, and presto, you’re done.
Just to be certain the story gets some play, you send a note off to the business letting them know it’s there and ask them to share it with clients and prospects. You post a few tweets to your followers about this latest masterpiece, and maybe you even post it over to Facebook and LinkedIn to pick up anyone you’ve missed.
The high from the fruits of your labor is intoxicating, but maybe over the next day or two, it dissipates as you quickly move on to the next writing assignment or project. You review the metrics later and see that audience engagement was minimal and no new sales leads were tied to your story. All that hard work and that’s it—not much to show for it.