Many small businesses can’t afford a content creation specialist to help with their marketing endeavors. I understand this all too well. In the beginning, I couldn’t afford to hire marketing support specifically for Helianthus Advising’s promotions. However, as a marketing and content creation agency, I was lucky. I knew what to do on my own – all I needed was time.

Still, this usually the case for your average small business. Though there might find be time, often the necessary skills are missing. As a believer in helping others, I’ve decided to write my top tips on making an editorial calendar to get started with marketing.

Making an Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is a way to plan your marketing endeavors. It saves time and allows you to visualize all parts of marketing in one place. Usually, this is referring to endeavors like social media marketing or content writing. Getting to the point, first, it’s important to remember that research will be essential. 

If you take one thing away from my tips on making an editorial calendar, let it be the need for industry-related research. Don’t worry about the tools. As long as you have an internet connection and a Google account, you’re good to go.

Step One: Get Your Research Together

First thing’s first, you need to know what your goal is. As a content creation specialist, Helianthus Advising always starts with a goal. For example, are you looking to gather new clients or spread your message? 

Your goal will affect everything that you do. Alongside that, you’ll also need to designate topics and set a tone. In short, you’re looking to have the following information:

  • Goal: What do you want to happen to your business? (Example: Grow our reach to gain new clients)
  • Tone: What voice will you be using to talk to your audience? (Example: Friendly but also educated and experienced)
  • Theme: What three topics or keywords will you be talking about the most? (Example: Marketing | Content Creation | Consulting)
  • Avenues: Where will you be publishing content? (Examples: social media and on-site blogs)

After obtaining this information, you’ll need to do some research. Use Google Keyword Search to find search terms that connect to your business. This research will help you better understand your market and competitors. 

Look to see what platforms others use, and try to at least match them. Make sure you know everything you can about your target market and audience. In the end, your research should contain:

  • Keywords: What terms would your target market use to find you?
  • Target Market: Who are they? Where are they? When are they there? Why are they there?
  • Hashtags: What hashtags work with your voice, audience, and tone? You need as many as you can find.
  • Posting Data: What days and times are best to post your information?

Step Two: Prepare Your Editorial Calendar

The next step in making an editorial calendar is to create the document itself. Rather than explain how you could do this, I’ve made a simple example with everything a business owner needs. If you click here, you can go to the Google Document. 

You’ll need a Gmail account and internet access. To begin, save a copy to your Google Drive. Next, just as a content creation agency would do, you’re going to start filling in each section on the first page. 

Add your company name, message, and USP. Then add the details about why you are doing this and anything that will help keep track of this project. Lastly, fill out all of the research information you found in the last step, including hashtags, keywords, posting amounts, locations, and any other notes.

After you finish this, take a look around the document to get familiar with all the pages. Remember, this is a general spreadsheet. You might add or take away various sections or sheets based on your needs. 

Step Three: Create Content

As a content creation specialist, this is one of my favorite aspects of marketing work! After you’ve added the information to the first page and taken a look around the document, you’re ready to get to work. 

Filling Out the Blog Page

If you have a blog, this is a great place to begin. On the blog content sheet, you’re going to create the ideas and working titles for your blogs. Include as many topics as you can, and remember to keep it diverse. Think about the various types of content that you can use.

  • Listicle: Top Five Ways…
  • How to: How to make/do…
  • News: Something recent in your industry or business
  • Updates: What’s happening at your business?
  • Reader Question/FAQ: What have your clients been asking?
  • Deep Dive: Detailed post about a particular subject. For example, What is Cross Country?

Remember, you want to observe holidays that relate to your audience and include them in your content. Once you have a few blog ideas, it’s time to add a few social posts. 

Filling Out the Social Media Page

Start by filling out important holidays that will need unique posts. After that, add in post ideas for the days when something interesting will be happening for your business or community. When ready, use these post ideas to create the actual text. 

Don’t forget to throw in a few posts here and there so you’re not just posting on holidays and announcements. Think about the various types of posts that you can use.

  • Quotes: Something inspirational your target audience will relate to.
  • Fun Facts: Things about your business/industry your audience might want to know.
  • News: Something recent in your industry
  • Updates: What’s happening at your business?
  • Reader Question/FAQ: What have your clients been asking?
  • Videos/Graphics: A video or graphic showing your target audience how to do something, what’s going on in your business, etc.
  • Links: Link to your blog or a new post and tell your followers why they should care.
  • Sales Posts: Don’t forget to sell what your selling! However, keep this to 1/10th of your overall posting maximum. 

Continue through the rest of your marketing efforts in much the same way whether email marketing, paid social media marketing, or something else entirely.  

Bonus Step: Analytics

As the last step, make sure you track your analytics. You’ll want to be sure to look at weekly and monthly analytics on each avenue you use. This tracking will help to determine the effectiveness of your posts. Eventually, you will improve your work by using past data to inform new posts. 

Final Thoughts

Making an editorial calendar is the perfect way to grow your business. It will help you to understand and plan your social media and content creation services with ease. Furthermore, it’s the perfect way to keep consistency and quality in your marketing plan. 

Remember to consider voice, tone, goal, audience, location, and time needed to research and brainstorm ideas. If you need to, check out the google excel sheet that I’ve linked above for a template you can use. Once you’ve started the template, come up with ideas. 

Be creative and brainstorm interesting topics while noting essential dates that you need to remember. Think about the things your company and audience might want to discuss. To what degree you use the editorial calendar is up to you. 

It’s best to fit it into your current process at first. If you want, work up to using it to its full capacity to not hurt yourself more than you help yourself.

Content Creation Packages

We know that hiring a content creation specialist doesn’t work for everyone — that’s why I wrote this post to help you get started! However, investing in your business might mean using a professional content creation agency like Helianthus Advising. 

Using tailored content creation packages unique to each client, we can either walk you through the marketing process or make it easy and take over content creation for you. We offer free consultations for new clients to better understand what they need, even if it isn’t us!