This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Content Strategy published by XML Press in 2014 and the contributor for this term is Mat Szwajkos.
What is it?
A schedule for the publishing of content over a given time period, often annually or during a given campaign period.
Why is it important?
Ensures that important publishing milestones are recognized and activities planned so that content publishing remains manageable.
Why does a content strategist need to know this?
An editorial calendar is used to ensure consistent content publishing over a set time period. It helps you plan for content creation; establish priorities for when, where, and what content will be published across your given platforms; and discover any holes in your plan. It establishes guidelines to spread your content out and not overwhelm your audience with too much too fast or too little too late, while maintaining a consistent voice.
With an editorial calendar, “Monday Madness” can be a planned recap of all the weekend’s events, instead of a rush to figure out what to post before lunch. The solution to many common content strategy problems—lack of content, poor content quality, lack of consistency—is to plan ahead with an editorial calendar. A solid base of scheduled content allows you to supplement your publishing with reactive, timely content for your audience. Your calendar also helps you track audience habits. Learning from your audience lets you adjust your publishing practices and increase overall engagement.
An editorial calendar should suit your organization’s needs and be as detailed or as loose as required. Some calendars need to be followed to the last detail; others can simply be a guide to maintain a consistent content flow. Whether planning for a long-term marketing campaign or outlining a blog, an editorial calendar is an important piece of an overall content strategy and an important step on the way to achieving business objectives.