You deserve some sanity. So does your team. Create a stellar editorial calendar to help you and your team plan content marketing efforts so you can hit all your goals.
An editorial calendar serves as your documented content strategy: Where you’re going, where you’ve been, and what lies ahead. It shares who owns each asset, whether a blog article, infographic, or a video. It outlines the purpose of the content and the intended audience action.
When used right, an editorial calendar can keep your team working harmoniously toward your annual organizational and marketing goals.
But, according to a 2018 content marketing in healthcare study, only one-third of healthcare organizations surveyed said they had a documented content marketing strategy.
If you’re sick of treading water, spinning your wheels, or any other colloquialism that sums up not moving forward, check out these six quick tricks to start putting together your team’s editorial calendar.
1. Build an editorial calendar MVP
In sports, MVP means “most valuable player,” but in the world of software, MVP stands for “minimum viable product,” or a baseline starting point.
An editorial calendar can be filled with detailed information. If you’re building your first editorial calendar, you’ll want to begin with the essentials, such as:
- Anticipated publish date – Approximate date or month you’re hoping to publish the piece.
- Author/owner – Who’ll own or write the content/asset you’re planning and publishing?
- Topic/title – Identify the asset topic or title so you know what information you already have and what you need.
- A brief, one-sentence summary about the content – What’s the purpose of the content? How would you quickly summarize the piece to a colleague? This summary will help if the work needs to move to another team member.
- Resources or stakeholders – Not all resources are at your fingertips. If you need to reach out to doctors or subject matter experts to weigh in on a topic, jot the role or person’s name down.
- Intended call-to-action – Every piece of content you create needs a follow-up action. Brainstorm what this action should be for each asset. Ideally, you’ll tie it to your organizational goals.
- Sharing channels – Which social media profiles will be the most effective for the content you’re creating?
HubSpot recommends building an editorial calendar no further than three months out. This timing allows your team to meet regularly and plan ahead, but also leaves space to adjust if a new, hot topic lands on your plate with little notice.
In some cases, you may choose to strategize article ideas further out than three months. Use the following tips:
2. Gather your stakeholder allies
Nothing helps move content along more than the buy-in from internal stakeholders. Whether you’re seeking approval for content ideas or face time with subject matter experts, it’s good to reach out with your editorial calendar in hand.
While the editorial calendar should highlight your marketing team goals, it should also show ties to organization-wide campaigns and plans. It should give palpable visibility to how your team can help build success for the organization’s bottom line.
As you talk to outside colleagues, you’ll also find myriad article topics and ideas. Your doctors know what’s troubling your patients the most. Hospital volunteers likely have face time with hospital visitors. These and other hardworking people at your hospital can deliver great content ideas to enhance your calendar.
3. Organize around your marketing campaigns
You’re likely also to find yourself in the office of your chief marketing officer (CMO) who could give you suggestions and ideas to tie your efforts together.
These campaigns or brand-wide goals are a great way to plan content work into your editorial calendar.
Is your organization looking to get your mobile mammogram into the community this fall? Get a post ready for Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Maybe you’re hoping to connect with schools and businesses about summer safety. Start ideation in the spring with your team to tie your content marketing to these events to bolster registration and interest.
4. Branch out to health awareness events
If your organization’s campaigns are running thin, there’s always something going on in the world of healthcare outside your walls.
There are always great health-focused campaigns — like Go Red for Women Day, Autism Awareness Month, and National Bike Safety Week — that drive interest and searches from people outside your organization.
And because these awareness events are planned far in advance, they’re a great way to add some depth to your editorial calendar.
5. Get a handle on locally popular keywords
Content marketing works best when you include words and phrases your audience uses.
Keyword research can tell you about how patients in your area, for example, search for terms around “cancer.” What questions do they have? What concerns are driving their searches? How can you plan for content that meets their needs?
Even “related searches” or “people also searched for” boxes on search engines can provide insight into what topics users are searching. This information can drive ideation for content marketing, but also inspire a solid plan for your editorial calendar.
6. Strategize SMART goals to help you measure, iterate, and grow
Once you start publishing content with your editorial calendar’s guidance, it’s time to put measurements in place.
SMART goals are a great place to start. SMART stands for:
- Specific – Tie your goals to actual numbers. Maybe it’s a 10% increase in monthly visitors or a 20% increase in appointment requests.
- Measurable – Make sure your specific targets are measurable, too. Use tools like Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics for insight into your specific goals and their successes.
- Attainable – Always dream big for your marketing plans, but make sure your goals are attainable. Anything beyond your attainable goal is confetti!
- Relevant – Your marketing goals should be relevant to your organizational goals. Avoid “noise” from outside your team for tracking success. Make sure your goals are relevant to what you’re delivering.
- Timely – Take everything above and measure these goals over a period of time. This could be month to month, year over year, or even quarterly.
As you establish SMART goals, review them with your team and take them to stakeholders or C-level team members who may want to keep up with what your editorial calendar looks like. This also gives transparency to your project and allows you the flexibility to adjust if the goals you set don’t deliver.
Keep an Eye on Your Team and Brand Goals
Once you’re implementing and staying true to your editorial calendar and you’re keeping an eye on your SMART goals, outline opportunities for improvements or changes as time allows.
Want to learn more? Check out our webinar on 5 Ways to Kickstart Your Content Marketing.