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Editorial calendar software is meant for planning, organizing, and team niceties, isn’t it?

Yes, but that’s like saying your car is only meant for driving to the grocery store and back. If you know how to put your car through the paces, you can do so much more than just the basic essentials. The same can be said of your editorial calendar software. You can, in fact, go nuts with marketing ideas using that boring old planning calendar.

1. Own The Holidays

What better way to make sure your content marketing is on track for the current seasonal trends and holidays than using your editorial calendar software?

Holidays aren’t just Christmas; they are any event that your audience connects with. It might be the Super Bowl or the World Cup or an industry conference. For publicity purposes, you can take advantage of trends on Twitter and other social networks by tapping into these large-scale events. For content creation purposes, you can make easy work of headlines and framing your content around the event theme.

For example, I wrote a post for Halloween one year that, on any other occasion, is completely outlandish. The post was about how to write a blog that wouldn’t die, and I used the Friday the 13th movie franchise to frame the discussion. Ridiculous?

You bet. But it got quite a bit of action on social media during the week. It was easy to share on Twitter as well, because the hashtags made sense during that one particular week without veering into that troublesome territory of hijacking a trend inappropriately.

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Choose the holidays and events that your blog’s content niche seem to best fit. You may want to consider using a popular calendar, such as how CoSchedule integrates with Google Calendar, so that the holidays and Google+ events that are already on your calendar can serve as your guide. Then, create draft blog posts with headlines and notes, and assign tasks to team members as needed well ahead of time so that the content is created in a timely manner. Don’t forget that you’ll want social media messages to serve as teasers both before the blog posts start, as well as on the day of the event. Be sure to capitalize on trending topics and hashtags.

Keep in mind that you might want to include content that builds up to the event (particularly for conferences or training sessions) as well as the day-of content. This gives people a chance of discovering what you’re doing and so they can be ready for it when it comes.

2. Create A Twitter Story About Your Brand

Twitter fiction is a real thing.

Some writers tell a fictional story, in whole, 140 characters at a time. Others use the 140 character limit to tell the entire story in just one or two sentences. Whether you want to be as amazingly in depth as Elliot Holt was, and use something like Storify to collect your fictional magnum opus, or scale it back a bit, you can still make good use of the technique. It is surprising that more Twitter stories aren’t happening. We talk about content marketing, and give lip service to how brands can tell their story, but have they ever considered just telling…an actual story?

Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell. – Brian EisenbergClick To Tweet

Editorial calendar software is the perfect tool for telling a story online; it is fairly difficult to write a serial story ahead of time, whether as blog posts or as tweets, and keep them in the proper order. Using CoSchedule, you can plan your Twitter story easily, clicking on each day on the calendar and composing your stand-alone social media post, setting it to publish automatically. You can drag your tweets around if you need to adjust your story schedule.

Why Twitter?

Other social media networks don’t always serve up your content in order. Facebook, for example, will show users the most popular posts. Users have to know to change settings to “most recent” if they want to see order (and that assumes they’ll see your posts in their feed at all). On Google+, the card layout of the home screen can make following the order tricky for your reader. Twitter does an excellent job for serial stories, whether you choose to write the story on Twitter or use your blog and tweet each new chapter.

If you really get into the idea of a Twitter story, consider creating a Twitter account dedicated to that purpose. With CoSchedule, you can connect unlimited Twitter accounts, so you can easily manage that account without having to deal with another login.

3. Make Your Meetups Matter

You have a great Meetup where it’s entirely possibly you may answer the meaning of life, and only one person shows up. Maybe you relied upon the Meetup network, assuming that people would just discover your great group on their own. Or you even took it a step further and created an event for the Meetup on both Facebook and Google+.

This is not a Field Of Dreams world. Building it doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to tell them how, why, and when to come.

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Your editorial calendar software makes this incredibly easy.

Again, a Meetup is a lot like a holiday or event: it’s date-centric. It happens on a specific day, and so any content and social media surrounding it bears this date in mind. Start with the actual date of the Meetup, because that is the most obvious content to create. You’ll either blog or write a social message that makes one thing clear: the Meetup is today. Then, working backwards, you might create social messages that follow this pattern:

  • 1 Day Prior: Tomorrow’s the day! Are you ready?
  • 2 Days Prior: Everyone here is all set. Have you gotten started yet?
  • 4 Days Prior: We can’t believe we’ll finally get to meet _____ .
  • 6 Days Prior: Save the date. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

Sure, these are a bit melodramatic, but the idea is to figure out what the selling point of your Meetup is, and string it out with a slow reveal. The most obvious things come to us first, so that is why it is easiest to start planning your content on the day of, and then work backwards towards the more teasing obscure prompts.

4. Launch Your Ebook Like A Best Seller

Your team just put together a great ebook. When your readers get their hands on your great ebook, it will change their life. Why dump it on a page with all of your other ebooks so that it is completely lost and disregarded?

Treat every new ebook launch as if you’re a publisher launching a best seller. Maybe you can’t exactly go on a book tour, but you can give your ebook the same kind of white glove treatment, particularly if you don’t launch an ebook all that regularly. Consider the following, and see if some of these techniques might work:

  • Showcase an interview with the writer(s) of the ebook. Have them talk about why they wrote it.
  • Offer the ebook for free for a limited time. Include an older ebook for free as part of the package.
  • Write guest blog posts talking about the same topics as your ebook. These are a bit like press releases.

Where does the editorial calendar come into play?

Because you aren’t going to make the ebook available with just a quiet whisper, and are going to build up its arrival instead, you’ll need a calendar to help you with all of that planning.

In a similar fashion to how you prime the pump for a Meetup (see #3 above), you’ll want a date-based launch date plan in place. The entire promotional blitz could even include not just a social media drip, but related blog posts, infographics, and even videos. A video “preview” of a book is common now; why not do the same for your ebook?

Select the date that you will launch your ebook, and plan the blog or social media posts backwards from that date.

editorial calendar software

Pique your audience’s curiosity by hinting at the ebook that’s coming on your Twitter account.

The idea is that you must get your blog readers ready to receive the content that you’ve shared in the ebook, whether you choose to use video or just Twitter.

For example, if your ebook is entitled “The Most Important Food In The World Is Cheese,” you have some prep work to do to prepare your audience to receive that theory.  Two weeks before the launch date, you write a blog post about the ubiquitousness of cheese. A few days later, you share an infographic that details the prevalence of cheese throughout history. You use your RSS feed reader and Google Alerts to locate content that talks about cheese, and share that on Twitter. All of these blog posts and social media drips are scheduled on your editorial calendar software so that when you release your big ebook, your readers are already receptive to the theory.

5. Make Online Training As Big As A Conference

Setting up and hosting a conference requires a lot of work and up-front money. Unless you’re a big organization or business, you probably don’t have the means (or reason) to organize a conference and get people to come. Conferences, however, are great ways to meet people while learning the latest in an industry. And they are a great opportunity for self-promotion.

Why can’t your online training be as exciting as an in-person conference?

Using your editorial calendar software and your content marketing plan, choose the dates that you’ll hold your online training. Because you’re already in the mindset of planning your content, you know which time of the year would be the best to offer your “conference” to your audience.

Then, plan your training. Will it be a series of blog posts? Will those blog posts include videos? Will it be easily open to the public, or will you be using it to collect email addresses and leads for those who sign up? Perhaps you will use your Google+ account, along with communities and hangouts, to manage the training.

Create the placeholder blog posts on your calendar, and drag them around until you feel the order of the training, and the time it takes to complete it, is where they ought to be. Then, create social media posts before the training to announce for a steady period of time that the training will be available. You may also want to associate social media posts with the training blog posts so that you can let your fans know it’s happening and that they ought to go sign up and take part.

6. Create Case Studies That Make Progressive Sense

Case studies are great; they offer proof to your audience that what you’re selling works. Too bad we often dump them out in no particular fashion. We have Jim telling use he loves our dashboard and it changed his life, and Karen telling us about a viral post. How did we get from a dashboard to virality? Are they even talking about the same product?

editorial calendar software

Use your editorial calendar to plan your case studies to be published in logical order for your readers.

Contact your clients and determine who will participate in an interview and case study. Find out what they will talk about, or what unique thing your product has done for their particular situation.

Then, list out each case study and its angle of approach. Order that list logically. Use the case study that shows your product helped a team come together on their blog, for example, and follow it up with the case study that showed it helps users blog more regularly. This leads nicely into how your product helped someone go viral. Lastly, head over to your editorial calendar software and add these case study blog posts to the calendar along with their associated social messages. Visualizing them on the calendar will help you space them out and still keep them in a “building” progression.

7. Revive Evergreen Blog Content

Remember that blog post you wrote a year ago, that really great one? Well, your readers don’t. And your new readers have no idea it exists.

Not all of your blog posts have a long shelf life. Some are meant to capitalize on a trend and you are fine with that post fading away in a few weeks. But some of your blog posts are evergreen posts. They have content that is still valuable and viable months and years later. Problem is, except for the random search that brings a visitor in and then out, most bloggers have no concerted plan to periodically bring that great content back to the surface.

Most WordPress bloggers use plugins that randomly share old blog posts on Twitter, but that means some of those non-evergreen posts get spit out, too. It’s not a great plan, and the really old posts still remain buried.

Your editorial calendar software can help, along with a little purposeful planning on your part.

  1. Create a list or spreadsheet of all of your blog posts that are evergreen. This means that if the post you wrote a year ago is still relevant, it’s evergreen. That post on the new Facebook Timeline? That isn’t evergreen.
  2. Add the posts that your analytics is telling you are popular. For example, on my personal blog, I have a post about Chris McCandless that continues to get steady traffic. Even though the book and movie (which are referenced) are long over and interest has waned, it has an evergreen quality to it.
  3. Keep that list or spreadsheet handy. From now on, any post you write that is evergreen will go on that list.
  4. Add those posts to your editorial calendar software. Using your calendar, create stand-alone social media messages to various networks highlighting these old posts. You might even want to tie them into a social media campaign that they would relate to. Repeat it throughout the year, spacing each apart so that there is enough time between them where people won’t remember the last time you shared, and new readers will be introduced to your content.

You’ll find that some of those old posts from a month or year ago can get a breath of fresh traffic, or even go viral if they catch the right person’s eye.

8. Build A Multi-Content Campaign

Content, like people, comes in all shapes and sizes.

Infographics, videos, blog posts, tweets, Google+ posts, quote graphics, SlideShares, ebooks, white papers–there is no end to what you can create with content. Many of these forms of content take place on a network or system outside of your blog, but it is always best to be sure you anchor your content on your blog first. That makes your exciting multi-content campaign a perfect candidate for editorial calendar software.

How do you go about planning something that has so many moving parts? When you have an editorial calendar, it’s actually pretty easy:

  1. Choose your topic. Know what singular topic your content campaign will be about.
  2. Decide on the content types. Not every campaign is best suited by video. Maybe an infographic makes very little sense for your topic. Decide which types of content will work best for the topic and highlight what you want to say in the most convincing manner. If you choose a content type that is ill-suited, its weakness will make your grasp of the topic look weak.
  3. Plan your blog posts. Decide how many blog posts your campaign will take, what the headlines will be, and what order they should be published.
  4. Put your content on the calendar. Add your blog posts to the calendar, and assign tasks to your team. For example, you might tell a team member to make opening and closing graphics for the video, and another to shoot the video. Task your designer with creating an infographic after your writer has assembled the information. Because your content is on the calendar, you can assign these tasks with viable due dates and make sure an otherwise complex campaign is pulled off smoothly.

Hopefully your editorial calendar software, like CoSchedule, integrates directly with your WordPress blog, so that it is super easy to plan and publish a complicated blog-centric multi-content campaign.

9. Get Google+ In High Gear

Some Goolge+ enthusiasts have given up their blogs and are using the Google+ network as their blogging platform. While we don’t think this is a good idea (you should always have control over your content and not leave it at the mercy of a network), Google+ is increasingly important as far as SEO is concerned. It is a good idea to consider Google+ posts as a place to write more than a one or two line introduction to a link to your blog. It should almost be a quasi-blog post that provides enough information to be valuable as a search engine target itself.

editorial calendar software

Treat your Google+ posts as if they are stand-alone content on their own.

CoSchedule is one of the few available editorial calendar software options that integrates with Google+ pages (via Buffer). Because you create your social messages alongside your blog posts, getting killer Google+ posts that are tied to your blog posts is not the huge double-blogging chore it might otherwise seem to be. Once you have your post written in WordPress, you can create your Google+ post using CoSchedule using the following guide:

  • Make use of Google+ formatting. Google+ allows you to create basic text formatting in your posts using asterisks and underscore. Highlight your titles and key points in your post with bold and italicized options.
  • Provide the CliffsNotes version of your post. You’re not just introducing the post. You’re creating secondary content that can stand alone. Look at your headings and subheadings. Can you use them, or what they summarize, in a list so that someone who might read your Google+ post would understand what your original blog post is truly about, even if they never clicked through to your blog? Your idea is to attract and tantalize, yes, but to also use important search terms and create actual content that the Google search engine will grab at.

It’s easy to forget about the importance of Google+ and send short messages there, as if it were Twitter or Facebook. However, it is a unique network and you’ll be glad that you put the effort into creating meatier content there when you post a link to your blog.

10. Fill Your Buffer, Feed Your Audience

Editorial calendar software would seem to be about having absolute control, planning the specific dates when all content goes out.

However, the less time you consume to get maximum exposure of your content, the more likely you’ll keep up the effort required for content marketing. Because CoSchedule integrates with Buffer, you can use your editorial calendar not just for specific planning, but also with the core concepts of a steady drip that has made Buffer very popular today.

Set your Buffer account up so that the schedule for posting content to your social accounts is optimized. Then, as you create your social messages for each blog post on CoSchedule, concentrate first on your specific plan where you choose dates and times. Once you have those immediate social messages on your editorial calendar, start sending some to Buffer at a later date, allowing Buffer to send them out. You’ll save yourself the time of making a decision for every individual social message on every social account, but you’ll still reap the benefits of a steady social media presence for your blog content.

11. Get Conversation Going On LinkedIn Groups

Not everyone uses LinkedIn, but many swear by it and enjoy the discussion and connections they make in LinkedIn groups. It is highly likely that the content you are creating is in a niche that is very similar to the groups you are involved in on LinkedIn. Using your editorial calendar software, you can share that great blog post that you just know will spark discussion in your favorite group.

Too often we think about seeding our social media in a linear fashion: send it out on the network, get people to click. Sharing your blog content, as you create it, with an active LinkedIn Group is a great way to get traffic back to your post, sure, but it also validates or causes you to rethink your own ideas. It’s more than just traffic. It’s community surrounding your content.

Not a part of any LinkedIn Groups? Find a few that are directly related to the content you are creating, and make sure they have an active group participating. Start joining in the conversation, and don’t forget to share your own content with them periodically.

If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. – Don Draper, Mad MenClick To Tweet

12. Create A Killer Autoresponder Course Tie-In

Using blog posts for an email autoresponder course is common. In some ways, it ensures that great evergreen content is regularly read by people who ask to read it. You can use your editorial calendar in two ways, when it comes to creating a popular email autoresponder course:

  1. Plan your course beforehand. You may prefer to plan your autoresponder course before the blog posts are written, and then write the blog series with that end goal in mind. An editorial calendar is perfect for this, and can help you sprinkle these posts amongst your other posts so that regular readers aren’t hit with a heavy dose of the same topic in a short span of time.
  2. Plan your course after the fact. If you’ve set up your categories on your blog well, you likely have a fine collection of topics already grouped. Using your editorial calendar software, you can quickly look over your blog post headlines and see what category they fall into. You’ve already created the content; why not collect the posts that cover the topic best and put them into that email autoresponder course?

Email courses, despite what you hear about people not wanting emails, are extremely popular and are a great way to grow an email mailing list. Email is still the most popular (with the highest returns) method for getting people involved with your blog content. Create a great email course and your readers will sign up.

It’s easy to let the idea of an editorial calendar turn into something bland and pedestrian, little more than a blog post planner. Don’t forget: the ability to plan gives you the ability to plan great things. Don’t under-use your editorial calendar software. Get creative and really put it through its paces.

What creative ways have you used your editorial calendar software to market your business?