When you’re building and marketing your first product, you have to juggle a lot of moving parts. Even setting aside getting the product ready to sell, you’ve got to think about the emails you’ve got to send out to your mailing list, guest posts you’re going to submit to other blogs and even what you’re going to send out on social media networks.
The only way to really keep each of these pieces straight is to build an editorial calendar — a management document that lets you see at a glance where each piece is going, how close to ready for publication it is and when it goes up. If you were to look behind the scenes at a magazine, a big blog or a PR firm, there’s always an editorial calendar in play.
Plan Your Content Backwards From Your Launch Date
It may go without saying, but the dates are particularly important, since we’re talking about a calendar. You need to schedule each piece of content you plan to release in order to build interest in your product. You’ll need to set a date for when the piece of content should go live for people to read or listen to. You’ll also need to set due dates for preparing that content.
You almost certainly have a specific launch date in mind for your product. You’ve got to build up interest around your product from the moment that it’s available for purchase (and perhaps a little earlier). Start from your launch date and plan out each element of what you want to do to promote your product.
Put every item on your calendar:
- Posts to your own blog or website
- Emails to your list
- Guest posts
- White papers, reports or other longer documents that you’re releasing for free
- Social media updates
- Videos and audio files
- Materials to help your affiliates make sales
If you’re using a spreadsheet, make a row for each piece of content you plan to publish.
Pull Together the Information You Need to Build Your Editorial Calendar
Depending on what project management tools you’re using in your business, an editorial calendar may be very familiar or an entirely foreign way of doing things. At its most basic, an editorial calendar can be a spreadsheet that you use in conjunction with your task management software — it just needs to lay out the information on each element in your marketing campaign.
These are the elements that are absolutely necessary to create an effective planning document:
- Where a piece of content if going to be published — a video might be going up on YouTube, a guest post may need to be submitted to a specific site and so on
- When you’re hoping each piece of content will be published (as well as other important dates, like when you need have it in to the editor)
- Any media elements that you need to line up, like photographs
- Requirements and notes for preparing the content, such as the ideal word count
- Any additional promotion you need to do for a specific piece of content, like tweeting about it or asking friends to vote for it
In that same spreadsheet where your content is laid out in rows, put each of these elements in their own column. Then it’s just a matter of filling out the cells between and actually producing your content.
That’s easier said than done, of course. Without an editorial calendar, it’s possible that you can get every piece of content out that you need to market your first product — but it’s going to be a lot harder. If you just work down your editorial calendar based on how soon you need a piece ready, though, the process will be a lot more manageable even if you do have a lot of content to write.
Image by Flickr user Joe Lanman