Create an Editorial Calendar for your Content Strategy

Battle Cabin Fever by Improving Your Content Marketing

If you’re in the US, chances are you’ve had a run in with snow recently. Whether you’re in the northeast, where you’ve been bombarded by one winter storm after another, or in the southeast where a cold front has made things slippery for the past few days, winter weather can throw some kinks in your plan.

You’re obviously hard at work during the day, either at home or braving icy roads. But you might find yourself with some free time. A lot of businesses will be shut down, and it’s too cold or dangerous for outdoor activities. Rather than binge-watching television shows, why not spend the extra downtime tending to the little details of your content marketing?

When you’re focusing on the big picture, it’s easy to let some things fall through the cracks. Adding images to your social media profiles, making sure you’re as present on LinkedIn as you are elsewhere, and making an editorial calendar are all quick fixes that will help your content marketing stand out in the crowd.

Make Your Social Media Picture Perfect

You probably already have profile pictures for your social media accounts; after all, it’s your face on the Web – sometimes literally. But there are stats to back up having a picture: LinkedIn profiles with an image are 14x more likely to show up in a search than those without. If you don’t have one yet, you’re missing out big time. It has to be high-quality, and it has to be the right size for whatever platform you’re using it on, so make sure you check what the dimensions should be for individual sites.

Another picture is the cover photo. You’ve seen these on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more: it’s the banner-type image that goes above or behind your profile image. They aren’t as prominent in search results so people tend to downplay them, but including them on your profile can really bring the whole thing together and show that you’re committed to that social media platform and, more importantly, the audience who visits it.

Like profile pictures, header images will have their own specifications for each site. Luckily there are templates out there to help you deal with this. Hubspot has a free template download that includes the specs for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It’s as easy as matching your image to their guidelines and uploading it to the social media site!

Clean up Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is, sadly, the oft-neglected site in many social media repertoires. It could be because its business nature makes people dismiss the ‘social’ aspect. After all, that’s where companies post job listings and where workers look for potential employers, right? You’re not going to reach your customers – everyday people who are looking for a product or a service, not a job – on LinkedIn.

Think again.

LinkedIn is vitally important to your content marketing. If it wasn’t, would they go through the trouble of having a Content Marketing Score? Let’s let LinkedIn explain the Content Marketing Score:

…a recommendation engine that quantifies your impact by measuring your audience’s engagement with your content. It also reveals how you stack up against your competitors. You can even see a breakdown of how your content is performing across the LinkedIn platform including Company Updates, Sponsored Updates, Groups, Influencer Posts and more.

LinkedIn Content Marketing Score

LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score lets you see how your content is resonating with your audience.

LinkedIn has the tools to help you succeed, so you need to make sure that your presence there is up to par with your other social media platforms. In fact, with LinkedIn’s reputation of being a “professionals” site, along with being a place where your customers can find you, it might be important to make sure that you do a little bit more to go above and beyond. There’s no time like the present to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff!

It all starts with your profile picture and header. And now that you know where to get a template for your header, you don’t have any excuses not to include it! Make sure all of your images are good quality, professional, and represent you or your brand.

From there, there are a lot of little touch ups you can do to your profile. You surely have your skills listed, hopefully with some endorsements, but did you know that you can reorder that list however you like? That means you can rank them by endorsement, desirability, or any other criteria you wish.

You can also spice up your profile with rich media – that is, adding things like images or presentations to your experience or education. This makes your page more visually interesting and memorable than a simple wall of text would. This is a small but important detail and will take virtually no time at all to implement!

Create an Editorial Calendar

If you already have an editorial calendar, now’s the perfect time to tweak it and make sure it’s completely up to date. If you don’t have one, your life is about to get a whole lot easier.

An editorial calendar is key to planning content and making sure it’s on track. That means everything from blog posts to eBooks to social media posts – whatever it is you’re trying to get out to the world. Your content should be valuable, engaging, and consistent, and an editorial calendar can help with all three.

The value of your content depends on your audience and your business. It could be informational, funny, or emotional. That leads to it being engaging: it needs to be something that your audience connects with, something that they’ll remember and want to share and come back for more of. Finally, that’s why it needs to be consistent. If they like it, they’ll expect more, and you can’t disappoint by keeping them guessing as to when you’ll post again. You need to update often and, more importantly, regularly.

Editorial calendars give you a bird’s eye view of your content. Plan your year by quarters and months so you can make sure that time-sensitive content, like for holidays, gets out on time. Break it down further into more manageable time frames, then focus on individual pieces of content:

  • What’s the topic?
  • Where will it be published?
  • When will it be published?
  • Who will be creating it?
  • What are your benchmarks for success?
  • What is it’s current status (e.g. In Process, In Review, Published, etc)?

This will keep you on schedule. It will let you see exactly what you’re posting so you can make sure you aren’t repeating yourself in topic or platform, and lets you easily review content to see what underperformed, what resonated with your audience, and so on. An editorial calendar is also a great brainstorming tool, allowing you to lay out ideas and build off of other ones.

Creating an editorial calendar is as easy as setting up a spreadsheet with the proper columns for title, date, etc. This can be in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, or a cloud-based program like Google Sheets so you can share and access the calendar from anywhere. If you want to get fancy you can use a management system like Trello or CoSchedule, but don’t go overboard. Use only what you need to make your job easier without complicating it. Remember, these tips are meant to be quick and easy, so just get started!

These are all basic tips, but that’s the point: we sometimes try to do too much and forget about small things. Winter provides us with a lot of free time as we try to stay warm, so brew some hot chocolate, bundle up in the warm light of your computer monitor, and get to work. There’s nothing like beating cabin fever with productivity!

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