We all know how important marketing is to the survival of our business. While it can be confusing and overwhelming at times, one tool I believe every business owner needs is an editorial calendar.

If you’ve ever stared at a blank page while trying to write a blog post or knew you needed to post something on your Facebook business page, but didn’t have something on the top of your head, this tool will definitely help.

I’ve spoken to many people who aren’t sure what an editorial calendar is, so I will answer those questions here.

What is it?

An editorial calendar is a map of when and where you plan to focus your marketing efforts.

What’s included?

You can include all of your marketing activities such as when your blog posts are due and what the topics are and when your e-newsletter is due out. You can include your social media posts – which channel you’ll be posting to, what you’ll be posting, what time and how often. Videos, program/product launches and affiliate promotions can also be included.

One of the benefits of using an editorial calendar is that you can really plan how all of your marketing ties together. For example, let’s say you have a new blog post coming out on Wednesday, you can then plan some social media posts that link to your blog. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be just for that day, you can plan other social media posts later in the month that link back to that blog. And because you know what you want to post, you can schedule those using Hootsuite or Buffer.

It’s also helpful if you promote for others as an affiliate. You can easily see when your product and program launches are and then you can choose whether or not the affiliate promotion will work into your schedule.

How does it work?

I know some people who use Google Calendar and others who use an actual calendar, so it really just depends on your personal preference.

I use a digital form and an actual calendar. I use a big desktop calendar as an overview of everything and I hang it up in my office so I can easily see what’s coming up. I write directly on the calendar, but you can also use color coded sticky notes. Those are easier to move around if you find your schedule changes frequently.

I also created a digital editorial calendar that I give away right here on my website. If you’re interested, just fill out the form on the right of this blog post and I’ll send it to you via email.

This form lets me see the monthly overview and it helps me go into detail with what I’m going to post, when and where. It also provides me with ideas of what types of things to post.

Images are certainly hot right now and my editorial calendar even has space for me to store photos that I find that I can use to make my own graphic quote or to store ones I find that are already created.

It’s nice to have everything for the month in one convenient place and it makes scheduling the posts I do schedule easier as all the info, links and images are right there.