Did you also have the good intention of writing a blog article every week this year? If so, you've probably experienced that if you don't plan and write your content early on, you'll quickly come under pressure. You can counter this with routine, the right tools and, above all, an excellent editorial plan! This way, you won't have to worry about thinking up an article just before the deadline. Instead, you plan, write and publish better content in a relaxed manner.
Your editorial plan shows you what you should write, when and on which channel you should publish it. Most of the time, the editorial plan is visualized in tabular form, for example, as an Excel spreadsheet. You can also display it as a Kanban Board. Independent of the visualization, the editorial plan contains information about the idea or topic for your articles and the time of publication. The plan is enriched with details about responsibilities, scheduling of preparation and distribution, as well as additional information about the content.
You can regularly update, supplement and adapt the content of your editorial plan - for example, in editorial meetings with your team. This makes it your reliable daily companion in content creation.
We have already talked about this in another blog article, how important the appropriate goals are for your content marketing. You can achieve these better if you have an editorial plan. The editorial plan has other advantages, which have long-term effects. You need to know your readers and publish content that is relevant to your target audience and that meets their needs. Without an editorial plan, this is very time-consuming, stringent and useful content to create. If you don't think about what you want to write until the day of publication, there is usually no high-quality content. Because in a rush you can't respond to your target group or invest the time that a good article needs. To change this, an editorial plan is essential. It helps you to plan what you will publish and write when and where.
Can an Excel spreadsheet inspire you and stimulate your creativity? No, but an editorial plan gives you the freedom to be creative! If you have to re-read the strategy, your target groups, relevant topics and suitable formats for every article, you lose a lot of time and energy, which you better invest in your content. Therefore, an editorial plan supports your creativity.
Fill it with ideas and topics that inspire you. This way, you know what to create after one look and can immediately devote yourself to this topic.
Your editorial plan is the backbone of your content marketing. With the plan, you implement your strategy, ensure consistency and create space for your creativity. Here you will find the seven most significant advantages of an editorial plan:
There are many things you need to consider when publishing content. When distributing your content in social media alone, it depends on the channel, in which format, with which stylistic characteristics and at what time you should publish something.
With an editorial plan, you can better plan these specifics and keep track of your content. Besides, deadlines can no longer creep up on you from behind ...
Readers will only visit your blog if you regularly offer them new content. For example, if you have a fixed date in the week when you publish your new article, your readers will be able to adjust to this and will visit your blog more often.
Another advantage is that you get a good overview of your topics. For example, do you have different formats that are repeated monthly? If you enter them in your plan, you can see immediately when you have enough content and where there are still gaps to be filled. You can also work on broader topics in several related articles and thus build up your expert status in a specific area.
If you plan ahead, you can take advantage of seasonal and daily updated content such as holidays and incorporate it into your content strategy. This way you can create varied content for your readers without much effort. Together with your own planned events, you get a timetable for the whole year.
If you don't run your blog alone, but share it with others, it's good to have a fixed plan. This way, everyone knows when what is published and who should do what so that you all work together towards one goal.
Finding topics is sometimes tricky! With an editorial plan, it is much easier because you can see the content at a glance and think in series. This way you can coordinate and link entries and ensure continuous storytelling. This makes your content more efficient and creates a valuable overall picture for your audience.
Having a precise plan will ensure more self-discipline: registered appointments sometimes serve as a welcome inspiration, sometimes as a necessary kick in the ass. Because with the plan you have a clear workload that you have to achieve. So with an editorial plan you will be more productive and can use the time gained for creative work or additional marketing activities.
Your editorial plan can contain a lot of information: a few necessary details are date, task and deadline. Other information is optional, such as the person in charge, format, channel, sources, etc. So you can create an editorial plan that is individually tailored to you and your needs. Make sure that an editorial plan only contains firmly planned content. Separate your plan from brainstorming documents and idea collections. You can manage these in another report. If you mix these areas, you can quickly get confused and find unfinished ideas in your editorial plan. And that kills your workflow.
In the following, we will show you the structure of our editorial plan and explain how to fill out your own. Our editorial plan is an Excel table. It is divided into three large units, which are marked in different colors. We will now go through all three groups one after the other.
The schedule includes the calendar. It displays the month, calendar week, public holidays, date, day, and any appointments. Appointments are for example events you participate in, holidays or the internal team planning. If you do this planning conscientiously, you can relax and rely on your plan and never forget an appointment - and your mind has room for creative work.
The next part is the heart of your editorial plan: the content. Here you can fill in the fields Format, Topic, Responsible, Status/Task, Deadline and Publication. In this example, a blog article is created: the format is, therefore, a "blog article" and the topic is the title of the article. In the case of Status/Task, the first thing to note is the status of the article and then the task to be scheduled. A deadline is entered when a next task depends on the previous one or when publication is pending. In our example, the text and images must be ready to prepare the teaser for Twitter. So the deadline for the first two tasks is one day before the next one. Your timelines depend on the size of your team, of course. The last thing to be entered is the publication, to keep it in mind while planning individual tasks.
Finally, you have to decide where your content should be published. The content planning only says publication, but it is not specified on which channel. You can list your channels here and mark where your content will be published on a corresponding day.
The last column is a free space for notes and hints - very handy if you are working on the plan with a team.
To implement your editorial plan, use the tool you like to work with and feel comfortable with. Then you will feel more inclined to create your plan and, above all, to maintain it. Get used to looking at your plan every day before you start working to know what's up today. Or, when leisure kisses you, add to the plan directly. Then it won't take long to put it on and you'll become more experienced, which will save time again!
Some magazines publish their editorial plan for a whole year. This requires a lot of planning and previous knowledge. Depending on how many colleagues work with the plan, how much freedom you allow and how practiced you are, you can plan differently into the future and leave more or less room for changes and adjustments.
Also, make sure that you can promote your blog articles more than once. For example, you can re-promote older blog articles on your social media channels. You can also specify this in your editorial plan.
What you promote how often should depend on which content has performed best. Your content, which always performs well, is so-called "evergreen content". So if you have a lot of interaction on a piece of content, you should promote it over and over again at regular intervals.
Evergreen Content gives you the advantage of replenishing your editorial schedule from time to time without writing new content.
the editorial plan alone does not bring success. It is not about what is planned, but what is expected. Know your goals, your personas and your content marketing strategy - and implement them in your plan. Then you will be successful.
play with your editorial plan. Try out new things, combine your content pieces differently. Who knows what suits you best and what might still work well? Your editorial plan shouldn't be the tracks you're on, only your crash barriers.
Your editorial plan is your master plan: It says what you publish, when and where. Planning this does not limit your flexibility, but brings many advantages. For example, you have a better overview and you are more productive. To create your plan, you should choose the tool that suits you and that you are comfortable with. Fixed components of your plan should be a calendar, task, deadline. If you like our plan, you can download our template here.
Make sure that you post regularly. Then you will see that your readers will return to your blog more often. So start now and create your editorial plan.
What are the steps to create your editorial plan? Can you add a few more tips? Write us on Twitter at @storylinerlabs