The financial advisor’s 3-step guide to building an editorial calendarArticle added by Amy McIlwain on May 21, 2012
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

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So you’ve finally set up your blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Now what?

We’ve emphasized over and over again the importance of consistency on your social platforms — but how can you do this without sacrificing a large portion of your already limited time? Well, you can improvise and try to come up with ideas day by day, but that would require too much brainpower and spontaneous creativity. And while I’m sure you’re overflowing with creative energy, it’s not worth the headache.

Editorial calendars are one of the easiest ways to plan and produce consistent social media and blog content. Below are three steps to get you started:

Select a master calendar

Before building an editorial calendar, you’ll need to acquire a master calendar. This calendar must be convenient, accessible for you and your associates, simple and navigable. It is the map you’ll repeatedly refer to for an extended period of time. If you were visiting a foreign country, you wouldn’t want to decode a sloppy or complicated map — you won’t want that here either.

Here are a few calendar platforms for you to consider, but by all means, do what works best for you and your business.
  • Google Calendar: Google calendar is a free online tool that you can use to create your editorial calendar. Not only is it simple, accessible, and navigable, it also prompts you to set up reminders that you can synch with your smart phone.

  • Microsoft Word There are many calendar templates on Word that are perfect for creating editorial calendars. Depending on your organizational infrastructure, you may also consider using Outlook.

  • Editorial Calendar on WordPress:This editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.
Articulate strategies and parameters

By developing and solidifying a social media and blog strategy, you and everyone associated with your content will share the luxury of being on the same page. Here’s how you can achieve this:
  • Keywords and length requirements: This takes us back to our old friend, SEO. Create a master list of SEO-friendly keywords that you frequently implement into blog and social media posts. Also create length standards for your blog. This makes it easy for all writers, both internal and external, to create the best content possible.

  • Target audience: It is very important to have a keen understanding of your target audience. Note their interests, education level, family dynamics, income level, gender, etc. Speak their language, understand their needs, and be aware of the hot, trending topics in their world.

  • Master list of topics: Blog in such a way that covertly communicates your business’ expertise. I suggest brainstorming at least of five to 10 of your firm’s key areas of expertise and services, such as retirement planning, estate planning, investing, or insurance. Use these topics as springboards for social media and blog posts.

    And as a friendly reminder, don’t ever seek to self-promote or explicitly advertise your business via blogs and social media. As a content producer, you’re here to create content that benefits, educates and provokes thought for your audience.
Establish patterns and themes

You don’t want to get caught sitting in the office at 6 pm on a Friday evening scraping for your next blog post. Here are some ways to plan ahead:
    Deadlines and publishing days: Choose specific days when blog posts are due for edits, and days when they go live each week. We post blogs on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s because that’s what works best for our team. Select deadlines that are convenient for you, your writers, and your readers.

    When inviting guest authors, make sure you give them at least two to three weeks to write the post, assuming they are very busy and that there will be edits.

  • Themes: There are several ways to approach themes. Some people like to create recurring weekly themes like “Retirement Tuesday” or “Money Saver Monday”; others like to establish monthly themes like “April: Taxes” and “August: Planning for Education.”

    When it comes to developing themes, do what works best for you and your staff. The important key is keeping content fresh and relevant. For example, The College Funding Connection has a “Financial Aid Question of the Month”.

  • Holidays/current events:Take into consideration holidays, cultural traditions, current events and milestones. Perhaps you might cater your content to the Super Bowl, the Olympic Games or the Fourth of July. Regardless of which ones you choose, remember to creatively tie it back into your field.

  • Mediums: Many financial professionals still think that all blog content has to be produced by them or their team. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a plethora of styles and strategies for producing content. It doesn’t always have to be a cut-and-dry informative piece.

    Schedule variety in your social media and blog calendar such as how-to’s, case studies, opinion pieces, interviews, guest blog contributions, insightful pieces, testimonials, podcasts, videos, commentaries and more.
Blogs and social media platforms are meant to be fun! Remember to enjoy the process and always ensure that your editorial calendar complies with your social media policy. If you have any questions about creating an editorial calendar, please leave a comment.
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