2020 Editorial Calendar Template

Editorial Calendar Template - 2020 Content Plan

A template to plan your content, grow your traffic, and save time in the process.


Get it now – $24

Do you want to plan out your content for the next quarter or year?

Do you want to identify your content niche for your blog so you’re not starting from scratch each week?

Do you want to make sure you have the marketing details (SEO, slug url, post titles etc.) covered for each post?

Do you want to grow your blog, business, audience, and authority like a professional?

Get your 2020 Editorial Calendar Template for Planning Your Content Strategy

A content plan or strategy helps you produce the right content, for the right people, at the right time. An editorial calendar template gives you a process for producing content on a consistent basis.

 Free Guide: Become your own
Content Strategist with these lessons 

Get quick, actionable advice on how to use content to grow your business.

7 lessons, delivered to your inbox each day.

Strategically plan out your content for the year. Follow my process and get your content ready to grow your business.

Download as an Excel workbook or use with [Free] Google Sheets.

Including:

  • Monthly Themes Worksheet: On this tab, you can take a step back from your daily or weekly post planning and identify monthly topic themes, events or products that you plan to launch, along with holidays that fall in each month
  • Weekly Post Frequency Editorial Calendar:On this tab, you can outline your weekly blog post topic, title, goal, and promotion strategy
  • Daily Post Frequency Editorial Calendar: If you blog on a daily (or more frequent than 1x/week) use this tab instead of the weekly post tab

Content Plan Price: $24

That’s only $2/month for the year
Lifetime Access: Receive all future years’ updates for free

 

What people are saying about the Editorial Calendar Template:

“Thanks so much for this update! We have used your calendar since 2014 and it’s great! I appreciate the work that goes into this!” -Kelly C.
“Really clear and useful!” -Mary R.
“As a one-person business there are never enough hours in the day and I find myself getting pulled in different directions. I downloaded the Editorial Calendar and have tweaked it to my needs. Thanks for sharing!” – Paula K.
“Thanks it is already helping a great deal.” -Crystal L.
“This is wonderful. Thanks SO much.” -Jessica P.

9 Ways to Prep Your Business for the Season: Holiday Marketing Tips

With the holidays approaching, it’s not too late to get your business and marketing prepped for the shopping season. Depending on your business, this is either the hectic and exciting busy season (retail/ecommerce) or if you are on the consulting side, it might be time to hunker down and plan for the coming year. Either way, here is how to plan for your holiday marketing.

Whether you have a retail store or sell online, sell tangible goods or digital products, run a shop or run a 1-person consultancy — here are nine things to consider before the madness of the holidays sets in.

Holiday Marketing

Holiday Marketing

#1. What did you learn from last year?

One of the most important ways to make sure you’re not forgetting anything this holiday season is by analyzing what happened last year. Here are a few places to start on researching last season:

  • Sales data – what were you biggest sellers from last season? (consistent with year round? specific gift items? etc.)
  • Campaigns – what marketing campaigns or offers had the biggest impact on revenue? (free shipping promo etc.)
  • Competition – do you remember any campaigns your competitors did last year that you wished you’d thought up? (what can you apply?)
  • Website traffic – what pages/categories etc. on your website saw the most traffic (or the biggest increase) last November/December? (blog posts, gift guide, specific items, category pages etc.)
  • Channels – what were your biggest marketing channels last season – from a volume or ROI perspective? (Google, Paid Search, newsletter, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp reviews etc.)
  • Change / Trends – what are some of the biggest changes your business has experienced or trends that have impacted your business/industry in the last year? Want more? Check out Think With Google’s holiday trends article.

#2. Create your holiday offer(s)

According to the National Retail Federation, November and December can account for as much as 30% of a retailer’s annual sales. Customers are ready to buy and your competition is figuring out their best offers. Creating a holiday offer does not mean you have to jump straight to discounting. Whether you add an upgrade/gift, promo code, free shipping, bundle, partnership with another company etc. do what fits your company’s style – even if that means no discounts.

Local? Think how you can partner with other businesses or events happening in your ‘hood. Nothing really going on? Host your own event or shop open house. Or offer a gift certificate that can be purchased last-minute.

Consultant? Think how you can offer a service or productized service to past clients.

#3. Decide what channels are going to be your biggest focus

You can’t be everywhere and do everything. Choose which channels are going to be your highest priority and which fall more in the “when we have time” category. Email marketing is typically the #1 channel during the holidays. Maybe Facebook is where you’ll need to be vigilant for customer support and promoting your holiday offers, while Twitter might play second fiddle (or vice versa). Do a little internal research and make sure you and your team are aware of which channels are highest priority. Reminder: mobile, mobile, mobile – keep in mind your mobile traffic and shoppers in everything that you do- it’s often a completely different experience.

#4. Create a holiday marketing calendar

Shopping momentum typically builds through November, goes wild in December, tapers as the holidays come and then surges again with returns and customers buying what they really wanted post-holiday. Build a promotion schedule with a holiday marketing calendar. Plan out what offers and channels will be promoted when. Remember to build in production time for design and content that needs to be created – for example: gift guides or “staff picks”. This schedule can be weekly or daily – so long as you remember what you’re doing and when.

Last minute – Unless you have a retail shop or are local, after the holiday shipping deadlines pass, consider how you’ll still be able to make some holiday sales. Can you offer a gift card that can be purchased last-minute and redeemed later?

#5. Decorate

Whether you have a real space to decorate or just a virtual world, having a theme and design for your holiday communication is a great idea. Show customers that you’re feeling festive, but make sure it matches your company’s design aesthetic. Feeling unsure in this department? Go minimal and stick to one color. While Pinterest is full of design ideas, a quick tip is to go back to last year’s emails from brands you admire and see what you liked/disliked about their holiday “decor”.

#6. Communicate your holiday hours and/or shipping deadlines

In ecommerce especially, keeping customers happy and their expectations in check is a big priority. Holiday shipping and return deadlines need to be communicated often and clearly. What’s the last day customers can place an order with you that they will still receive it by Christmas Eve — via Ground, 2nd Day or Next Day etc. Depending on your business and shipping service, figure out the cutoff time and let your customers know — “order by 2pm on Dec 20” etc. Here’s an example schedule:

This year, Christmas falls on Friday, December 25, so the last day UPS delivers packages is Thursday, December 24:

-December 17 – Last day to order items using Standard Ground Shipping.
-December 19 – Last day to order items using 3 Day Shipping.
-December 22 – Last day to order items using Two-Day Shipping.
-December 23 – Last day to order items (by 2pm) using One Day Shipping

UPS Schedule

Local? Check that your hours are accurate on sites like Yelp and Foursquare so you don’t miss out on business.

Consultant? Get that Out of Office reply ready — make it interesting and fun!

#7. Holiday email marketing – Don’t forget your newsletter list!

As Christmas approaches, it’s safe to say that we’re inundated with holiday marketing from retailers reaching out trying to maximize sales. A few retailers I counted sent out EVERY day in December. That’s aggressive. Remember to keep in mind your current send frequency and your business goals before ramping up your frequency. If you typically send on a weekly basis, your customer can probably stand to hear from you a few times a week during the holidays. Just remember to keep in mind why you’re sending. Do you have something cool to share? Customers are prepared to hear more from retailers at Christmas, and are typically ready to spend – so give them your best offer and be useful. And segment! People opening your stuff is an indication they want to hear from you. Send them more. Send non-opens fewer emails.

Remember, you don’t need to have every email be about sales. In fact, they shouldn’t! Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How can you make their holiday season easier or more fun? Are you in the food or lifestyle space? Give them ideas for hosting a fun party. In the family or children space? Share an advent calendar DIY for kids. In the office space? Share ideas of low-key office parties etc. Be a resource – not just a sales hound!

Consultant?  Send cards or a client gift. Feel like you’re already too late? Send a New Year’s card – also a great way to stand out from the onslaught of generic holiday cards most business get in mid December.

#8. Are you participating in any holiday “shopping days”?

There are a few big shopping days that kick off the consumer-driven holiday season. Whether you choose to ignore, participate, or even boycott, these “holidays” will probably impact your business anyway (great sales elsewhere might reduce your orders if you don’t participate), or even acknowledging / boycotting it might be a relationship strategy for your community. Either way here’s what’s happening:

  • Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day – Friday, November 27, 2020
  • Small Business Saturday (promoted by AMEX) – Saturday, November 28, 2020
  • Cyber Monday – Monday, November 30, 2020
  • Free Shipping Day (note: it’s just a site that uses affiliate links) – Monday, December 14, 2020

#9. Think long game

Try to think long game strategy all season. This might be your most profitable time of year, so how can you translate this business into repeat customers down the road? From customer support to email newsletters. Be good!

Reviewing your shipping or checkout process is a good pre-holiday idea. Do you plan to include coupons for future use or hand out some kind of unexpected treat at the checkout of your store? Make sure you have this figured out and have communicated it to your staff.

Have a plan in how you’ll be communicating with these new customers and making them welcome in your community in the new year. Having an “Is this a gift?” checkbox and message option in your checkout is also a great way to identify people who might not fit into your regular community base (ie. a parent etc.), but could give a gift again in the future.

Do you have any holiday marketing tips to share?

Leave them in the comments!

Why you need an email onboarding flowchart

Why You Need an Onboarding Email Flowchart

Before you create an email marketing strategy, there are some things that can make your work a little easier. This post is all about assembling your toolkit — before launching straight into a strategy. One of the first things I do when working with a new client is to do a communication audit – including creating an email onboarding flowchart.

Email Onboarding Flow Chart example

An email onboarding flow chart can also be thought of as an “audit” or review of the emails you’re sending. It’s a look at how people experience your messaging as they first interact with your website. Some refer an onboarding flow chart to a UX role, but in this case we’ll be taking a look at it from on email marketing perspective. Take a look at the example flow chart to the right. This onboarding flow chart takes a look at all the ways Sample Company is currently communicating with their newsletter subscribers through marketing and transactional emails.

Why a visual flowchart?

Why do we use a flow chart? Creating a flowchart, or mind map whether that’s a digital version (or even just sketched out on paper) is one of the best ways to get a quick visual of what’s happening in your messaging. With this flow chart you can see what’s going out based on actions or things your users (readers or customers) are doing. With this structure in place, you can see where there’s room for improvements, changes and testing.

To keep confusion to a minimum, start out with your marketing (newsletters etc) and transactional emails. Either make small side notes or create a separate flowchart to include items that have to do with notifications – “signing up”, account changes, password requests etc. Those emails need to be kept track of as well, but for analyzing to create an email marketing strategy, you’ll focus on marketing and transactional emails first.

Pick your tool of choice – software or pen and paper

Grab a pen and paper or your favorite mind mapping software and let’s do a quick overview. You could also use a text file, or a spreadsheet, or some kind of fancy software to outline this information. In future steps, you’ll also be digging into Google Analytics and any email marketing reporting you already have if needed.

Draw boxes for any automated emails you’re currently sending (order confirmation, welcome email etc.).

Free Worksheet

Use this worksheet to sketch out your onboarding email flowchart, or just go free-hand.

Free Email Onboarding Worksheet

FREE EMAIL ONBOARDING WORKSHEET


Use this step-by-step worksheet to improve your onboarding and sales by sketching out your current traffic and emails.

In the next post, we’ll cover the first section of the worksheet – where your readers or browsers are coming from – Channels. Adding this information into your flowchart shows you what channels you’re acquiring visitors from. For example, social, organic search etc. Stay tuned…

4 Ways to Grow Your Email List

When you’re just starting out with email marketing, growing your list can feel so slow. If you’re also just starting out with your business in general – versus just adding email marketing to an existing platform, it can feel even slower!

Today, let’s talk about list growth. Everyone wants a bigger list. Why? Well they think it will bring them more money – ultimately that’s what it usually drills down to. More. more. more. Of course I want you to grow your list so that you can grow your business. But the most important thing is that you’re growing the right list. You want to be offering the right things so the right people are signing up. When you’re considering ways to grow your list, always keep that top of mind. Every new tactic that you use to grow your list, think “is this going to help me find my people?”

Grow Your Email List

For example, when you do giveaways, this is especially important. During a giveaway or contest, you might grow your list like crazy. But you don’t need thousands of the wrong people on your list. That just increases your marketing expenses, lowers your metrics and stats, and frustrates you and your readers – especially the ones that don’t want to hear from you. Those are not your people!

One of the best ways to grow your list is to offer something people actually want, in exchange for their email address. This is typically called a lead magnet or signup incentive.

A lead magnet can be a freebie, a discount or any other incentive. Lead magnets can include things like an ebook, a template or guide, or a course etc. It’s something you offer readers in hopes that they will sign up (a lead!). They exchange their email address for whatever you’re offering, and you both hope that what follows is good for everyone!

4 Ways Grow Your Email List

So you’ve signed up for an email marketing software (like MailChimp), and added a couple forms to your website. Now what? If you’ve been plugging away the last couple weeks or months, slowly growing your list at a snail pace, that is about to change.

If you’re ready to devote the time to grow your list, I can’t wait to share today’s tips with you! One of the biggest disappointments with an email list is after signing up for MailChimp, you’re excited about all the possibilities and promises you’ve heard from other people about how powerful email is and then you add forms to your website and… crickets…

Just slapping a “Sign up” form onto your website isn’t the most inviting way to add subscribers. These days, most people need some kind of incentive. You probably do too. Think of the last newsletter you signed up for. How did they get you? They probably had something you wanted! In this post, I’m going to show you four things you can offer in four different ways to grow your list…

>>Looking for what to say on a regular basis? Check out 33 Things to Send To Your Newsletter

If you’re like most of my clients, you’re procrastinating on growing your list simply because you don’t know what to offer. That’s about to change.

1. Free Download – Ebook, worksheet, process, template, spreadsheet etc.

We all love free stuff, don’t we? The key here is to make the freebie super useful to your readers and relevant to your website. Your goal here is to get them to sign up. So show them what you know about your area of expertise – your business or blog.

There are a lot of different buzz words and fun things to call this. Here are some popular ones: worksheet, roadmap, blue print, guide, template etc.

Word of warning: please offer something of value. So many times I see a “worksheet” that is simply 3-4 questions in a text doc exported as a pdf. Sometimes it’s nicely designed. Many times it’s very basic. It leaves you feeling like “really? I had to sign up for something to see this? Seriously?! Unsubscribe.” If you over sell and under deliver, you’ll probably see high unsubscribe rates. Remember, they’re going to judge your future work and products off of this. Don’t oversell it. If you over-deliver here, you’re setting a reputation for over-delivering. So if you offer things for sale, your readers are going to be more likely to value what that is versus thinking it might be crap too.

A great place to start when trying to figure out what to offer is to hop into Google Analytics and see what your top 1-5 posts are. Is there anything you could create based around one of those topics? This would be called a “content upgrade.” What’s really cool about approaching it from this angle is you already have traffic coming to this page. So you’re not starting from scratch. If you were going to write a follow up post to your top trafficked page, what would it look like? Could you turn that into something your users could download?

2. Free Course

Another freebie idea is a short, free email-based course. Using something like MailChimp’s “Automation” features, you can set up a simple 3-7 email series that goes out based on your topic. This is the simplest way to implement a free course. While I used to offer a free template for newsletter signups, now I offer a free 7 day course on content strategy. Sign up here:

 Free Guide: Become your own
Content Strategist with these lessons 

Get quick, actionable advice on how to use content to grow your business.

7 lessons, delivered to your inbox each day.

3. Exclusive Content

Why would anyone want to sign up for your newsletter beyond the freebie? Your signup area is also a good place to tell subscribers what to expect on a weekly or monthly basis. Maybe it’s a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Maybe you get a bit more personal about what you’re doing, or answer questions you get, or extra tips and tricks, favorite resources you’ve found or things you’re reading etc.

This is a good place to remind them they won’t just be seeing a re-hash of the blog or what you’re doing on other social media channels. Maybe you even share business news, stuff you might not just write a blog post about. Remember not to share something you wouldn’t want out there though.

Not ready for a full-blown email newsletter? You could use autoresponders to set up evergreen content that explains what you do, who you are, etc. And then just send out monthly or quarterly updates when you have something to say or a new product that is out etc. You could even do some light discounting.

4. Discounting

Discounting and giveaways are my least preferred method of growing a list. You can see quicker growth this route, but if done wrong you train your customers to expect discounts or grow a list of people who wanted your freebie instead of your business. However, in e-commerce offering a small incentive to tip the customer into buying now can be pretty effective. Try to be strategic when using promo codes or sales to grow your list. Think beyond just $x off or x% off, and consider other things that might add to the experience, without just tossing revenue away. Maybe you have a product that’s a higher perceived value, but that your margins are high on. You could offer a promo code for signups that gives that away for free with any order, or any order over $50 etc. Additionally, when you’re discounting, don’t forget to change things up. Offer something different each month and change your signup promo code and have a “expires x” date. This can also help add a sense of urgency and let your customers know you’re doing new stuff. The last thing you want is them to see the same offer every time they go to your website, that just cuts the price of your product down by $x because that’s the perceived normal value.

I hope this helped you think of some ideas for getting started. Remember, my #1 take away for email marketing is: ADD VALUE. Don’t be noise. Be useful. Would you be excited to see what you’re sending? Great! Not so much? Then don’t send it!

Want more? Check out Why You Should be Building an Email List, 7 MailChimp Hacks You Should Be Using, and Frequency: How Often Should You Send.

7 Questions to Ask When Creating Your Content Strategy

One of the hardest parts of marketing is getting your strategy right in the first place. After a strategy, you can create and execute on your plan. Having a plan keeps you confident that you’re moving in the direction of your goals. It’s easy to get busy and distracted. That’s why you need to set aside time to plan and create – so you can produce content on a consistent schedule. So ask yourself the following content strategy questions…

7 Questions to Ask Before You Create a Content Strategy:

  1. What are your intentions and goals for creating content?
  2. Who are you writing for?
  3. How often should you be sharing?
  4. Will you use themes or holidays to tie your content together?
  5. What should you be writing about?
  6. How will you know if you’re getting results from your content?
  7. What does your 90 Day Plan look like?

Editorial Calendar Template - How to Create Your 2017 Content Plan & Content Strategy Questions

To get started with answering these seven content strategy questions, sign up for your free content plan lessons. The Content Plan Guide covers quick, actionable advice on how to use content to grow your business. 7 lessons, deliver to your inbox each day.

 Free Guide: Become your own
Content Strategist with these lessons 

Get quick, actionable advice on how to use content to grow your business.

7 lessons, delivered to your inbox each day.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Lesson #1 – What are your intentions and goals for creating content?

How will content help your business or blog? Are you wanting newsletter signups, event registrations, downloads, shares, visits etc? Or some combination of the above? As with starting any new project, it’s important to know what your goals are and how you’ll measure them.

Lesson #2 – Discover what you should be writing about

A good content plan includes a look at who your audience or readers are? How to know where to focus your niche. This lesson is all about asking yourself what do you know and what do other people want to know? Plus tips and tools for SEO.

Lesson #3: Decide your post frequency & available resources

How frequently can you commit to publishing? Monthly, weekly, weekdays, daily, 4x day etc.? Selecting a frequency helps you plan the rest of your marketing and your resources (such as as other team members, authors, guest posts etc.).

Lesson #4 – Using themes and holidays to tie your content together

Picking monthly themes (even if just internally) can help you not only think of post ideas, but also tie your content together in a cohesive way. You can use monthly or weekly topics, categories, or themes. Plus, consider how holidays impact your content schedule. It helps to keep an eye on current events and holidays when planning future posts, even if not every holiday affects your business.

Lesson #5 – Brainstorm new content

Now that you have a full list of themes, it’s time to brainstorm new content ideas. This includes whether you will you do any series type posts and tips and tools for coming up with content ideas.

Lesson #6 – Getting results from your content

How does your content tie back into your business? Measuring the results of your content is a long game. We’ll cover how content is an important piece in launching any new products, events, contests etc. Plus, we’ll take a look at what you have planned for the coming year, and how you plan to distribute and promote the content that you’re creating (for example: your newsletter, social media, Pinterest campaign, blog partnership, blogger outreach, some combo of above etc.)

Lesson #7 – Your 90 Day Plan

In the final lesson, we’ll map out your next 90 days of content and commit to consistent writing. After your plan is in place, you’ll check in on it to make adjustments. Need to lower frequency? Do it! Ditching a theme? That’s learning and progress!

To get started, sign up for your free content plan lessons.

Like saving time?

Get the lessons and instant access to the 2017 Editorial Calendar Template. The purpose of this Editorial Calendar Template is to plan out your content for the year. With an editorial calendar template, you can keep track of post ideas, the status of posts, holidays, monthly themes, goals, and even how you plan to market your content. Get it now for $24.