Editorial planning: turning your strategy into action

If content strategy is about actually figuring out where you’re going and what you want to accomplish, editorial planning helps you figure out how to actually get the work done. Before you do editorial planning, make sure that you’ve weighed the costs and benefits of having a blog and thought about content strategy for your blog.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to do some editorial planning. There are 3 main things that you should do during this process.

Step 1: Think sustainable

Overzealousness can kill us. We usually set out with ambitious goals about how much we are going to post. But no one thinks about the resources that are necessary to maintain that pace.

Spend some time thinking through who’s going to create the content. Put real names down on paper. Don’t assume that you can do that later. The sooner you can identify who has the capacity to create content, the better, and it will significantly reduce stress down the road.

Once you’ve identified who will be creating content and have a rough estimate of how much time they can commit, you can make an educated guess about a sustainable posting frequency.

Here at the Masterworks blog we focus on 1 quality post each week. It was an intentional decision because doing more than that would damage quality. We know that we can keep doing 1 post a week for the long haul. We’re not going to peter out in a few months.

Step 2: Make a plan for how to get the work done

The planning work is often the easy part. Then comes creating content, and it can be very difficult. A clearly defined workflow helps alleviate these challenges. While you’re thinking about workflow, define the following:

– How soon before the post goes live does it need to written?

– Who will review the content to make sure it matches the organization’s goals?

– Do our posts need to be proofed?

– Are content creators going to have an editor to work with during the process?

– How are content creators going to find the resource for their posts?

Take some time to write out this process. Having a clearly defined process makes it easier for everyone once they get into the thick of things.

Step 3: Create an editorial calendar

Most of the time, a good old-fashioned spreadsheet works well for this, but you can also use a fancier tool like Divvy HQ. The bottom line: put down key due dates and content creators on a calendar. Accountability is a beautiful thing.

Extra credit reading

Content strategist Clinton Forry also recently wrote an excellent post on editorial planning. You owe it to yourself to have a read.

Now get started

Go ye therefore and plan, create and succeed. Let me know how it goes. Leave a comment here or catch up with me on Twitter @doughj.