Every late November, I get started on a little ritual. I call it “Ignore All the PR Blasts in My Inbox Regarding Holiday Content.” At my day job, I edit DailyXY. And it isn’t that we don’t publish holiday-related content. It’s that I started getting all that stuff lined up in July, and so did every rep and agent who wanted their stuff published. I plan ahead and follow my content marketing calendar religiously.
Now, content marketing isn’t exactly the same as regular content—but it’s close enough, so make it easy on yourself and organize your content marketing calendar the same way any other content producer does. Follow these simple steps and I guarantee your stress level will drop off the chart.
Give Yourself Enough Lead Time
Most monthly magazines go to press four months before publication. Keep in mind “go to press” means that final copy is in and they’re getting ready to print. If you want your “Top 5 Summer Patio Ideas” article for a hardware store in Lifestyle Magazine X for June, start talking about it the prior October.
Yes, Even When You’re Online
“But wait! Even my online content?” Yes, even your online content. Sure, eight months in advance would be overkill, but online editors are organising their schedules months in advance, when possible. Editorial space and time available for major events, like Christmas, Super Bowl, Halloween and more, fill up fast. Your client would like to sponsor a killer list of cocktails for Cinco de Mayo? Well, pitch that on uno de Mayo and you might find that someone else’s client has beat you to it. Don’t fall into the online equals immediate trap.
Not Everyone’s Calendar Is the Same
Calendars are local. If you’re sponsoring a series of articles about Thanksgiving tips and tricks for a cookware manufacturer, keep in mind that you’re approaching American publications for a November date, but Canadian ones are going to want that for early October.
Remember the Chain of Approval
How many people are going to sign off on your piece of content marketing? Your boss? The marketing company who pitched it? The client? The client’s lawyer? Multiple people at every step of the way? Make sure you’re adding time for every stop the content marketing has to make on the way to its destination. And if it’s part of a series or a long-term project, make sure to make a note of everyone’s vacation time beforehand. Otherwise, your August deadline ends up in December, and yes, we’ve seen that happen.
So, you’ve shepherded an awesome piece of content marketing into publication, it’s blowing up on Twitter, and you couldn’t be happier with your success? Well, if it’s evergreen—like an article on lawn maintenance or weight loss tips, mark your calendars for next year and promote it again when the time is right.