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June 30, 2014

Why Your Editorial Calendar Isn’t Working

Photo Credit: renjith krishnan via freedigitalphotos.net

You had the right intentions. You decided that content marketing and regular blogging was going to be a priority for taking your brand, or a brand that you manage, to the next level. You worked hard to determine how frequently you – or those working with you – would create content and what topics you’d discuss. You put it both on your company’s shared online calendar and on the wall. You excitedly shared the new endeavor with co-workers and assigned out articles. Then…wait for it…nothing.

Maybe your initiative started out with a bang and quickly fizzled. Maybe it never left the ground. Whatever category you fall into, chances are high that your initial efforts at creating an editorial calendar – even with the best intentions – fell short.

Why? What happens between the initial idea and the actual content creation? Why isn’t your editorial calendar working? Don’t worry, there are solutions, but first it’s best to take a deeper look at the process, to figure out what’s going wrong and to course correct one issue at a time.

You’re Too Dependent on the Wrong People

Here’s the thing – not everyone is a content expert. That’s not to say that you need to be one to create a blog post here and there. But, if writing is something that you dread, or that is viewed as an insurmountable challenge, no matter what deadline you’re given, you’re probably not going to be up for completing the assignment.

Think about who you’ve assigned blog posts or web content out to. Are they skilled at writing? Are they creative in the “make something out of nothing” sense of the word? Are you depending on internal team members? Think these questions through and give them honest answers. Content writing – even if it’s second nature to you – might be the equivalent of a root canal to someone else on your team. Sure, you could take on the assignments on your own, but for an ongoing effort, that just might not be doable.

The solution? Consider thinking outside of your team. By building a team of freelancers – which can be found anywhere, from BloggingPro’s blogging job board and WriterAccess.com, an online marketplace of freelancers, to Craigslist or your local newspaper, you can start a search while building a team of freelancers skilled at meeting deadlines and creating online content in your niche.

No budget for freelancers? Start interviewing team members to find out what topics they are passionate about. Think about how you assign them work. Or, set up team interviews that can be shared as content.

Your Deadlines Are Off

Think about the last scenario. Maybe it applies to your team, maybe it does not. If it doesn’t, what else could be standing in the way? Could it be your deadlines? This could be applicable to a number of situations including:

  • Turnaround times that are too short – remember, not everyone can pump out 800 words in 20 minutes, or even a day.
  • Deadlines that are not clear – if a team member or freelancer isn’t sure of when something is due, the project might never get started.
  • Irregular deadlines. Humans are creatures of habit – we like to do things in a certain, consistent manner that rarely changes.

To address these possible scenarios, simply make a few tweaks. Give team members ample time to finish their posts – find out what works best for them. Maybe it’s a week, maybe it’s a month. Find your team’s comfort zone. Make deadlines clear from the start – using an online project management system like Basecamp could be useful in this situation. To simplify the process even more, assign certain team members projects due on the same day each month, the more regular, the better.

There’s No Recognition

Content creation isn’t easy for everyone – this has been mentioned numerous times in this article alone. Think about it. If you struggle to create a piece, worked hard, put time and research into it, agonized over every word then worried during the editing process about whether your project would be approved or not, how proud would you be at the end of the process when you made it through? Probably pretty proud.

How would you feel if after all of that work, your piece went nowhere? Disappointed? Angry? Unmotivated? Probably all of those. As the person assigning out articles, it’s your job to make sure that every post makes a splash. Share content across social media channels, share it through an internal company newsletter, ask your co-workers to share with their networks. Make sure you include the byline and give credit where it’s due. Bottom line: make a big deal out of every piece.

Not only will this sense of excitement spread among your team members and your social media followers, it will also help boost the confidence of those doing the writing. If your work was widely shared and appreciated, would you be more likely to want to create more in the future? It’s a great way to help your team members build their portfolios, their confidence and their skills as the writers they didn’t even know they were. It’s a win-win situation – the more content is shared, the more likely it is to go viral which increases your brand’s online presence, drives traffic and increases the chance at conversions, which is the whole point of content creation and marketing in the first place.

Think about it – your editorial calendar itself may not be the problem. There may be something lying beneath the surface – like in the scenarios listed above – that could be hindering your well-intended efforts. Look over your approach and talk to your team. With a few changes, your calendar could be a huge success in no time.


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Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Nitterhouse Masonry Products succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.

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