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The military has a saying called the “7Ps,” which goes like this: “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” Just as planning is essential for a military operation, it is also essential for content marketing. Enter the editorial calendar—the perfect tool for content marketers to prepare and plan out their content. Here are 6 tips on creating an editorial calendar for your content marketing:

1, Decide on posting frequency. The first step in creating an editorial calendar is to decide how frequently you can realistically post new content. Content creation takes time and it’s important that you choose a frequency that is sustainable for you. You don’t want to start out strong with a post a day and then burn out and abandon the project a few months later.

2, Define your audience. Before you start creating content, make sure you know who you are writing for. Personas are a powerful tool for defining your audience and may prove helpful for you.

3, Make your calendar shareable. There are lots of ways you can make your editorial calendar, from bespoke project management software to a simple spreadsheet. Which ever you choose, the important thing is to make your calendar shareable, so that everyone in your team has access to it. If your team doesn’t have access to the calendar, then you may as well not have one.

4, Use an actual calendar. When filling in the blanks of a calendar, start with the easy stuff: sit down with an actual calendar and note all the important dates you want to post content around—things like holidays, anniversaries and commemorative days/weeks/months.

Ever have Valentine’s Day or your wedding anniversary sneak up and surprise you? It’s the same day every year, but sometimes we forget anyway. It happens in relationships and it happens in marketing too. While the former will put you in the doghouse, the latter can cost you business. Marking your important dates on your calendar and planning for them in advance will save you a lot of headaches and missed opportunities.

5, Keep a bank of evergreen content. Evergreen content—like the trees it draws its name from—is content that is not bound by dates or seasons. It is always relevant and useful. Things happen in life and occasionally you may miss deadlines on content creation. When that happens, it’s important to have a bank of evergreen content already prepared that you can fall back on.  

6, Lastly, fill in your own content. A calendar of holidays and important dates is a good start, but that won’t give you all the content you need. Eventually, you’ll have to create content that doesn’t have a holiday hook. After finding all the holidays, fill in the holes in your calendar with other content—like whitepapers, ebooks, and infographics.

So, there you have it—everything you need to get started on an editorial calendar for your content marketing team. Make an editorial calendar—use it—and say goodbye to piss poor performance!

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