HAPPY NEW YEAR!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got 50+ emails, phone calls, to-dos and miscellanea that was supposed to get handled in the onslaught that was Christmas break.
Well, now that we’ve come out from under that pile (not by having finished it, but by having it brushed aside for two weeks), I have laid my New Year’s resolutions on the table.
Unfortunately, the 2012 to-do pile just overtakes them.
If you’re anything like me, you probably sat down with your team. You’ve probably talked about those outstanding things your business should have completed this year. This might have included upgrading your website content or writing X number of blog posts a month, and you may have felt pressured to push those closer-than-future regrets into business resolutions.
And you may have even coupled this with the obvious business disclaimer, “We don’t have time to write/complete/edit these web pages/blog posts/ebooks/reports.”
It might hurt to hear this, but your content for 2012 looks a lot like your content for 2011.
Take control of your content
Don’t let your content slide. We can help you take control of your content.
This is normally the part where I get into a diatribe about how we do it. But we have web pages for that. Instead, I want to give you a leg up on fulfilling your own content requirements.
And this all begins with an editorial calendar.
This is your chance to do what magazines, newspapers, research institutes and professional writers do. We all rely on editorial calendars to clarify the roles of our team, the themes, topics and ideas for the content, and (most importantly), the deadlines for each part of the content. It gives you a chance to plan a process for delivering your content in a timely way so it doesn’t have to infringe on your other work or your peace of mind.
For those of us in the writing industry, editorial calendars can be complicated project architectures separating the roles of contributors, editors, and even typesetters and publishers.
That said, we don’t need to use anything complicated, and neither do you. But we all deserve to have the tools to stop saying, “There’s no time to get this done.”
Editorial Content Calendar Rule 1 – Use a calendar that your team will use
We’re a Mac-outfitted office, but we tend to use Google Calendar. Apple’s Calendar is painfully elementary, and Outlook (as clean as it is for PC networks) isn’t as clean for us. Many people prefer to use shared spreadsheets. What you prefer doesn’t matter as much as picking the method that others can use comfortably.
Editorial Content Calendar Rule 2 – Mark time for research
I like to leave time at the beginning of the month to gather ideas about my industry, pulling favourited tweets, emails from my subscriptions, magazine articles I clipped, notes from websites, etc. The timing of this isn’t important. Just make sure you leave one hour a month to gather or assemble these things and collate them into possible ideas. Believe me: It gets easier as you go, and you can move along whatever doesn’t get used the month before (assuming it’s still current).
Editorial Content Calendar Rule 3 – Don’t talk about it. Lay it out and fight about it later
Most people get stuck here. They get the calendar started and they get the team on board. They gather materials, and then they get caught in committee purgatory. That lifeless place is where good ideas go to die.
Don’t do it. Don’t share everything. Instead, take the agreed-upon ideas and assign them outward. If you have a team of one or two, it gets pretty easy. If you have a team of three or more, don’t share who will do what. Assign tasks and allow them to trade. They can see what might be due when. Allow them the chance to update the responsible parties and move on. A great example is assigning a website content rewriting. You might find that people fear writing the home page or the about page. Don’t let that slow you down. Assign it to who you think the best candidate might be and move on. People can broker their good deeds as trade without committee-style conversations slowing the calendar down.
Now you have a calendar that lays out who is responsible for what content and when it is due. You now have a tool that saves time, effort, and most importantly, backtalk and quips about there being no time to see it through.
As I am often told by one of our architecture clients, “Planning IS execution. Do it right and the labour becomes the easiest part.”
If pulling together a working editorial calendar still feels like an impossible task among your 2012 to-dos, CLICK HERE and we’ll get in touch with you directly. We’re happy to help.