Editorial plan: what is it, what is it for, how to do it

The editorial plan is a document that is used to define, a priori, what and how to publish on a platform dedicated to content. It can be an online reality but also offline, at the same time we talk about editorial planning for a newspaper or for a blog company.

Presented in this way, it may seem like a simple challenge to face: I define the titles of an online magazine in advance or the topics of the Fan Page and manage the flow of content in the best possible way.

That’s not actually the case, appearances can be deceiving in these cases. The good activity of publishing on blog and social networks passes from a strategic editorial plan.

That is to say an activity capable of understanding what you need to propose to the user, who you need to reach and which tone of voice to use to be able to break through the target audience . All this and more is the editorial plan. Do you want information? Read on to learn more.

But before continuing I want to underline one point: forget the idea of ​​creating editorial planning only for magazines, newspapers and blogs : there is so much more to plan and optimize, not just for WordPress world.

Importance of the editorial-plan

Yes, I would say to start from this point which, from my perspective, is fundamental. If you want to be present online you must have an editorial plan. That is, a document that schedules everything.

  • When.
  • How.
  • What
  • Why.
  • For whom.
  • To what extent.

Here are the questions that decent work must answer. The transition from improvised to planned publication, with respect to the editorial calendar, represents a turning point such as the invention of the steam engine or the transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age.

The editorial plan is important because in this way you limit errors, avoid the passage of superfluous information from one point to another , you do not need anything else: the title to be addressed is the right one and the topic is already decided upstream.

This is to avoid overlapping and unproductive topics. In short, it is a question of working on the maximum possible effectiveness. But what are the processes to be respected ? Are there any steps you should always touch?

To learn more: 5 details to improve the editorial calendar

How to make an editorial-plan

Are there any rules to follow? First of all it is good to know that the editorial plan is presented as a paper or digital document in which to add a series of information . In addition, attach a file or sheet with boxes that manage the publication dates of the posts.

These are the spaces dedicated to the publication of contents , which can be found in the editorial calendar. That’s right, they are two different documents. Or rather: the latter is part of the plan. But what are the steps that allow you to have a clear definition of the actions to be carried out?

Brand

Whether it’s the editorial plan of the blog, Instagram account, Facebook or newsletter makes no difference: you must always start with an analysis of the brand that allows you to understand the strengths of the business.

It is no coincidence that I recommend starting from SWOT analysis to be clear about who you are and what you do to be special. And to make a difference on the internet.

analisi swot per il piano editoriale
Manage your brand better.

As you can also see from this image, there are points external and internal to your company or the project you want to carry out. Fill in these spaces, start evaluating what is the tone of voice and what are the values ​​that characterize your content. The editorial plan also serves this.

Target

It’s useless to ignore this point: if you want to do a good editorial job you need to know the people you want to reach. You can get good results by studying the query search engine, analyzing what people want.

On Google, your audience pours out needs, wants, needs. Therefore it may be a good idea to use the various SEO tools like Semrush and SEOzoom to understand what their needs are. And there are also:

  • Ubersuggest.
  • Answer The Public.
  • Keyword.io.
  • Google Suggest.

But don’t forget data analytics like those you find on Google Analytics. This work leads to an impressive result: the personas.

You must create ideal types that allow you to give an identity to your audience and to enclose precise characteristics . It is no coincidence that creating the personas of a project is crucial for the success of this activity. And for the whole project.

Goals

How you can proceed with publishing content if you are not clear the point of arrival ? In the editorial plan you cannot do great things if you have not defined the objectives upstream. For example, with content marketing you can find new customers, make link earning, build customer loyalty.

Through the contents you can get different results and that do not concern only direct sales. Think of the blog for ecommerce: in this case you can set as a goal the possibility of intercepting informational searches related to a specific product . To create conversions.

But also to let you know and create brand awareness . And to build a bond of trust and loyalty between the seller and potential buyers. All this must be part of the reflection for the editorial plan.

Competitor analysis

How to start a content work if you don’t understand the work done by competitor ? This analysis is essential not only to understand which content works for a particular sector, but also to have new ideas to develop in the editorial calendar. But how to get around?

Again advanced tools like Semrush and Seozoom can help you discover rankings of the various websites belonging to competing brands. You can also extend your search on:

  • YouTube.
  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • Twitter.

Of course you need different tools, such as Buzzsumo . But there is nothing better than simple individual analysis.

I know, it’s not the best. Your editorial plan cannot be based only on quantitative data analysis: you must observe and evaluate the contents.

Editorial calendar

These analyzes and reflections come here, to the planning of contents able to manage some decisive aspects to proceed in the best way:

  • Pace of publication.
  • Topics to be addressed.
  • Delivery dates.
  • Author of the content.
  • Details for posting.
    • Categories.
    • Tags.
    • Hashtag .
    • Imamgine or video.
    • SEO elements.

Of course it all depends on the type of calendar you are building. For example, for a job dedicated to Instagram you can consider the possibility of insert hashtags on the post.

While for the corporate blog you define many more details such as, for example, tags and categories or images. Not forgetting the Google meta tags such as title and description. The editorial calendar is key to what you publish, especially if you need to carefully consider seasonal topics.

That is to say those who return in time and who have a high interest only at certain times of the year . In these cases, we work closely with specific tools such as Google Trends, which will be addressed shortly.

KPIs to observe

Of course, even the editorial plan needs a starting point to understand how it needs to improve. It is part of the normal techniques of developing an effective strategy, just as the Deming cycle suggests.

Plan, take action, control and change what new business needs. This virtuous process needs careful and well-structured control over the KPI . Namely the key performance indicators, values ​​that you can take into consideration when you want to evaluate.

  • Visits.
  • Duration of visits.
  • Pages viewed.
  • Clicks to specific pages.
  • Compilation of a form.

As you can see, there are more or less specific KPIs that allow you to approach the development of the editorial plan in a certain way. Clearly we are addressing a blog’s key performance indicators here. Everything can change the moment we change distribution media.

Tool-to-create-editorial plan

One of the great needs of those who need to optimize the editorial plan: discover new tools to simplify their work.

What are the tools to get good results ? I have come up with a list of tools that no one can ignore when deciding to work in a clear and professional way. Where to start? I would say from the SEO.

Answer The Public

Do you need to manage a personal or corporate blog editorial plan? I suggest you immediately activate a good job of content analysis proposed by Answer The Public. This tool, free up to a certain number of searches, allows you to work on a key passage: the long tail.

Namely keywords with two or more words in the query. This allows you to have a very articulated and in-depth choice of titles to deal with. And to be included in the editorial calendar that you have carefully planned.

Obviously it can be a free SEO tool that is also decisive for managing the lineup of your posts, to get an idea basic content to deal with in the various pillar article or in the cornerstone content that you want to use to better manage the needs of the audience. Do you know any better tools?

Semrush or Seozoom

These are two tools that I recommend to have a clear overview of the topics to be addressed, at least as regards the aspect related to the keywords used to explore the topic. What can you achieve thanks to these decisive tools for the creation of the editorial plan?

semrush
The study of your users through Semrush.

First I mention the search volume, then the cost per click and the search trend. In reality this is only the tip of the iceberg because with these SEO tools you can investigate the niche or topic in depth . And you can do it starting either from a single term or from the address of a competitor.

In fact, these tools also have another function: to thoroughly investigate competitors and the positioning they have obtained with their websites, in order to discover possible extensions and extensions of their editorial calendar . There is always room for new articles and content.

Google Trends

A reference point for those who decide to get serious when it comes to editorial planning. The reason is simple: Google Trends lets you discover what people want over time. In practice, it analyzes search trends and can show whether a topic has grown or not.

But above all, it manages this transition in both temporal and geographical terms. In practice you can get an idea of ​​the progress of a search over time. And find out if you are betting on a winning horse or a loser.

But above all, you have the opportunity to discover any redundant themes and avoid the publication of content that points to cannibalization.

A guide to using Google Trends.

Let me explain: if I go to Google Trends and find that a topic has peaks every year the thick period, and zero searches at different times, it is convenient to create a single content that is updated. Maybe even with an update of the date if you don’t have the misfortune to have inserted it in the permalink.

Google Calendar

Do you want to organize your published content in the best possible way? I’ll give you an idea: you can use Google Calendar, a free and flexible tool to manage your commitments over time. You can also work on:

  • Schedule sharing.
  • Notifications of various events.
  • Customization of tasks.
  • Organization by weeks or days.

In short, there is a lot to organize thanks to the potential of Google Calendar. But is not always enough , so I suggest you take a look at the next paragraph where you will find some very advanced tools.

Trello or Asana

How do you manage your editorial calendar? As I pointed out in the previous paragraphs, we need a document capable of defining publications over time . You can use any Excel sheet but if you are not satisfied with the spreadsheet or PDF template you can use two tools:

Of course, one is enough, not together. What exactly are they? Platforms based on methodologies capable of simplifying workflow . You can create tasks to dedicate to articles and assign tasks between the various people working on the same project.

A Trello tutorial.

This makes everything simple and tidy, an ideal starting point when you work with a blogger editorial staff and can’t afford to improvise. The presence of a well-structured editorial calendar allows you to manage the work, not skip publications and:

  • Take advantage of relevant dates.
  • Address issues in a homogeneous way.
  • Focus on any important topics.
  • Don’t lose sight of the continuity.

Just remember not to cage creativity with a rigid editorial calendar. Planning is important but you have to leave room for ideas and news. You must never improvise , but there may be important news to address: do it, don’t follow the editorial calendar.

For-whom to create an editorial-plan?

For the blog, that’s clear. Also for your project that involves the creation of a magazine that embraces various topics. But improving the editorial plan of these activities is not your only goal. You need to be able to give more in other areas too, so it is right to talk about planning editorial lines in other media as well. Such as the social ones.

Facebook

It goes without saying that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has a great need in terms of content management. And this applies to both Facebook pages and a personal profile , especially if you use it in terms of personal branding. And then you have to evaluate the communities.

They are tools for doing inbound marketing , especially for feeding users after purchase. Remember the famous phase where you aim to delight people who have already purchased in order to create ambassadors?

Perfect, the Facebook group is for you. but only if it is fed with the right contents, and to do this we need an editorial plan that takes into account the possibility of publishing images, links, videos, direct and text. Don’t forget that you can also create formatted posts here.

Instagram

How to manage a professional Instagram account without an adequate document to manage the editorial plan? Especially in light of the different natures of this social network, you need a guide to decide:

All this cannot be dealt with with simple improvisation. Also because – as with Facebook – you have the possibility to add another aspect to consider: the presence of live.

This, as you can imagine, is a powerful tool for reaching a large number of people with real experiences.

But you can’t improvise. If you want to exploit the strength of this social network you must have a clear definition of the content useful for your purposes.

Newsletter

Newsletters also need an editorial plan. Because these contents can also be very different and you need a publication calendar . For example, what you will be launching this week. And how many newsletters to send per month? These are important doubts.

For this they must be defined by an editorial plan capable of carefully defining the points I have already listed: which tone of voice to give to publications, who you need to achieve and with which objectives to proceed.

Newsletter
An example of a well-organized newsletter.

Take the New York Times newsletter as an example: ok, it is clearly difficult to follow such a giant on the editorial level .

But I appreciate the basic idea which is to have rules based on current trends. In order to always be in line with the needs.

To Read: How to Schedule Content on LinkedIn

Have you defined the editorial-plan?

I hope so, today it is virtually impossible to proceed without a good idea of ​​the content to be created. Remember that this activity is not the exclusive prerogative of corporate blog , but everyone has the need and possibility to work on and with the editorial plan. Do you agree with this step?

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