I’m a devoted advocate of using editorial calendars.
They have been a essential tool for Pushing Social for the last three years. I look forward to my quarterly ritual of brainstorming 3 months worth of weekly posts. I’m hooked and my calendar habit will be tough to break.
But, even though my editorial calendar is a cherished tool it still stands behind my editorial strategy.
If you look back through our post archives you’ll see that I haven’t referred to “editorial strategy” – ever. Why? Well friend, it’s my Secret and since I practice what I preach I thought you could benefit from me showing you how a proper editorial strategy guides the creation of an editorial calendar.
Why You Should Care About Your Editorial Strategy
Creating an editorial calendar before an editorial strategy is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. An calendar without a strategy is just a complicated to-do list.
Thinking through your strategy has three benefits:
Picking The Right Audience:
Who is your audience? How do they prefer to research and learn about your subject?
An editorial strategy should describe your ideal reader and offer specific tactics for reaching them. Your strategy should pinpoint specific readers and narrow your editorial focus to a group big enough to support your revenue goals and small enough to target and serve.
Publishing The Right Content:
An editorial strategy isn’t isolated to text-based content. A comprehensive strategy evaluates all mediums including video, audio, and visual. Even text-based content should be further segmented to digital text (blog) and offline (direct mail).
Also consider the platforms that serve your content. For example a recent client found that their heavy reliance on blog posts prevented their more mobile-focused audience from seeing their content. A change in tactics immediately boosted readership and leads.
Measuring the right criteria
Evaluating the Right Performance Metrics:
You improve what you measure. You can’t get around this. A more um…zen-like approach typified by the “I don’t care about the numbers crowd” invites poor results, boredom, frustration and a pink-slip for employees or bankruptcy for owners.
Once you’ve identified your audience and optimum content, go a step further and ask: Which metrics most accurately reflects the overall performance of our strategy and individual tactics?
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It’s not enough to select the metrics, set-up Google Analytics to send you reports via email on a regular basis. Knowing your numbers gives you the raw perspective and data needed to refine your strategy and create new tactics
A Quick Editorial Strategy Overview
I recently read an article about a women’s apparel company that uses data to engineer the perfect bra. They discovered what I learned from 18 years of observing my wife – a one-size fits all bra is rare. I believe the same is true of editorial strategies. The strategy changes based on the objectives, product, customer, and industry. A variation in one variable necessitates a completely new strategy.
So I am forced to give you high-level advice. Use this information as a starting point for your ideas.
ADD – The 3 Pillars of Successful Editorial Strategy
The best editorial strategies find the right combination of three factors:
What does your reader want – emotionally? Forget about your product; focus on what your reader desires. Why are they buying your product, expertise, or service? What will it do for them.
We’ll use three examples:
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What about you?
Pushing Social’s competitors include:
1. The radio ad rep
2. The yellow pages rep
3. The recent college grad that “loves Facebook”
4. The guy with that clean blog design and funny blog
5. The internet marketer selling this year’s repackaged product
Get the picture?
It’s important to understand that you are in constant competition with anything that diverts your reader’s attention or gives them an alternative way to meet their goals.
Your editorial strategy needs to plainly demonstrate why you are the preferred choice for your niche. This is your Secret.
Once you know what your reader wants and how to position your content as their preferred choice, think about creative ways to deliver your content.
Content Distribution options seem to grow by the day.
Carefully consider the options that are difficult for your competitors to use while allowing you to present your content in the best light.
Pause and Do This Now
Editorial calendars are useful but Editorial Strategy is critical. Take the time to consider your strategy and adjust your calendar accordingly. It will be worth the effort.