Companies can spend several months — not to mention great sums of money — thinking about and building their brands. Nurturing and maintaining a successful brand over a long period of time is among the most difficult of the challenges a business faces.
Content is one of the most important marketing tools a company has to develop. It must have a consistent voice and deliver well-thought-out, engaging messages. Establishing consistency in your voice and message requires planning.
Create an Editorial Calendar
The biggest corporations often employ a dedicated staff of editors, producers and writers charged with planning, writing, publishing and promoting corporate content. These folks are well aware of what an editorial calendar is and why such tools are so critical to successful content creation. If you’re reading this blog, however, it’s likely that you are not a content professional. That’s okay. That’s why we have created this series of blog posts to help you think like a content professional in order to get the most out of your content and help set your business apart.
In the content business, such planning usually comes in the form of an editorial calendar, and there are generally two types—near-term and long-term. We’ll get into the details of each later in this blog, but first let’s talk about why we need editorial calendars at all. The bottom line is that well-planned content allows us to stay on top of our message. Better messages mean stronger, more influential and more consistent brands.
Define Your Content
It’s important to define what we mean by content. Many people first think of advertising, which is certainly one form of content, but not the kind we are talking about in this context. The content we are talking about is more like what you might find in a magazine that covers just your business or the industry.
Therefore, you must think like a magazine editor and know well in advance what content you want to create and where it fits within the corporate communication strategy. It means writing stories about your industry that help place your company among the thought leaders in your line of business. These stories can be conveyed through video, blogs, or social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To stay atop your message, you’ll want to develop an editorial calendar. The near-term editorial calendar is immediate in nature:
what content do we want to produce in the next week or so
what key messages will it reinforce
who is best prepared to produce that content
how will we deliver this content to our audiences
when is it needed?
This calendar will likely look ahead only a few days, a couple of weeks at the most, at what key content needs to be produced and when. This is your day-to-day playbook. You should visit your near-term editorial calendar every morning and update it throughout the day. It will help you stay focused on key deliverables.
Plan for the Long-Term
To create the long-term calendar, you’ll want to meet with your marketing, public relations, sales, human resources and other departments to understand what big milestones they have coming up. You’ll want to discuss what their objectives and messages are and how the content you produce can best be aligned and integrated to support their efforts.
A timely blog from the CEO announcing a new product or strategic initiative can go a long way to supporting the corporate brand. Similarly, judicious use of social media can amplify those messages to your audiences. The key to making it all seamless is consistent content planning that starts with your editorial calendar. And the way to do that is thorough content planning that starts with your editorial calendar. When done properly, content becomes an integral part of your broader corporate strategy. Your role in defining, developing, and promoting the corporate brand becomes essential to corporate success.
For more help on content planning, check out guide for Staying on Message With Content Planning. And be sure to check back here for more tools, tips and templates that can help you work smarter. If you want to hear from us when we post new ideas, please join our mailing list!
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