At the Path to Profit Academy we use (and coach our clients to use!) Editorial and Promotional planning calendars as part of everyday business. Creating and following these systems in your business is a fantastic way to:
- Organize the content – email newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, social media posts, etc. – you plan on providing your audience
- Organize your sales efforts
- Move away from a haphazard approach to your business
- Theme your content for a specific period of time
- Synchronize your content with your promotions so they compliment each other
What’s an Editorial Calendar?
Quite simply an editorial calendar is a plan for when you will deliver your content to your audience. It also shows via a title or subject line what the content will contain. You could use your online calendar system, e.g. Google Calendar, a giant dry erase wall calendar, a spreadsheet, whatever you like. As you’ll see later we like to use a Google Sheet.
Items in your editorial calendar should include the following as they relate to your content
- Specific images to use
- Type of content (email newsletter, FB post, blog post, etc.)
You might also include
- SEO Keywords, hashtags
- Who it’s assigned to
What’s a Promotional Calendar?
A promotional calendar shows which of your products and services you are going to promote at what time. Unless you are a mattress outlet you probably don’t want to have a sale 365 days a year. At the same time if you want to succeed in business you should look to periodically having a sale on existing things you sell, promotion of a new product or service, promotion of an event (including meetups you organize!), a website relaunch, a rebranding campaign, a new Facebook group, and so on. You can use similar calendar tools as you do with your editorial calendar. Things to add to your promotional calendar include:
- Title of promotion
- Type (event, product sale, etc.)
- Start and End Dates
- Assets needed (emails, landing pages, FB ads, social media posts, graphics, etc.)
How far ahead should I plan?
For our editorial calendar we find that it helps to have 4-6 weeks planned ahead of time. This allows sufficient time to get ahead of the process of writing blog posts, recording and processing podcasts, and so on. Creating things at the last second or ‘just in time’ wreaks havoc with other things on our schedule. Ultimately it would be nice to get 2-3 months ahead on planning and creation so that we could focus more on other key business areas.
For our promotional calendar we are just ramping up into planning several months ahead. Businesses are going to differ: some might have seasonal considerations (Christmas sale? Valentines Day?), some might know that they have a book launch on September, some might know they have a big three day event planned for March. All of these things are opportunities to promote.
What if it’s just me?
In our business we currently have three people working with our Editorial and Promotional calendar including our Virtual Assistant: I can honestly say I would use this system even if it was just me and I only sent out one piece of content a month. Just the act of planning ahead adds intention to your content creation and your business promotion.
How do you guys use your Promotional and Editorial Calendar?
The main things that this system gives us are:
- Method to communicate scheduled work to our VA
- Method to organize our content and promotions
- Method to not forget about affiliate promotions that are upcoming
- Method to add intention to content creation and to upcoming promotions
- Easy to view list of upcoming items during planning meetings
- Integrated editorial and promotional items force more consistency in what we send out and when we send it
- Gives us a much better chance of staying ahead of the content creation, thereby avoiding schedule interruptions needed to create content at the last minute
Below is a sample excerpt from our Google Sheet that shows our combined editorial and promotional efforts during a two week period in May. You’ll note that the ‘Scheduled’ column entries are manually changed from red to green to indicate once something is setup and scheduled to go out (i.e. content is done, blogpost scheduled to post, social media scheduled in Hootsuite, email scheduled in Ontraport, etc.). Our VA has notifications setup for this sheet so she sees when edits occur … we also often use Slack for more detailed communications about individual items.
I strongly encourage you to give this a try if you aren’t doing it already. Put some thought into questions like:
- What do I want to sell next month?
- What seasonal or time-specific offers could I make?
- What content makes the most sense for my audience and synchronizes with my promotions?
- What content do I really want to create for my audience?
- What do I know that’s going to happen in my business over the next year that I could promote (Live events? New website? New line of products? New book?)?
Feel free to take our Google Sheet template as a starting point, or use your own favorite method – yes, that includes giant sheets of paper with gel pens and sticky notes It’s freeing to have a plan and it also reminds you that you are running a business that really sells products and services! Let us know about your system in the comments.