An editorial calendar is one of the most important and underused tools in any advisor’s marketing toolbox.
It’s (arguably) the spine of any good content marketing strategy—and we highly recommend making one part of your planning for 2021.
There are supposedly 500 million blogs on the internet, but I’d be willing to bet that less than a quarter of them have a calendar driving their efforts.
And I bet at least half of those just treat their editorial calendar like it’s nothing more than a list of ideas with dates attached to them.
Any good advisor marketing strategy comes with a content calendar, and any good content calendar will include these three essential aspects.
People pay a lot of lip service to personas these days, but it’s surprising how little impact personas have on firm’s marketing.
Creating personas that don’t impact your marketing efforts is like buying a book on woodworking and putting it on your shelf without reading it. Sure, it makes you look smart, but if you don’t take any knowledge away from it, then it’s worthless.
It’s amazing how much time and money the average advisory firm will spend developing personas only to shelve them once completed and simply move on to the next thing.
The importance of personas does not end after you create them—in fact, that’s when they first become useful.
When you’re building your editorial calendar, create a column for personas so you can see how often you touch on each one. Spread the love between them all.
Here’s a link to the content calendar template we use at Three Crowns. (Note: Click “File” > “Make a Copy” if you want to use it for yourself.) It’s nothing fancy, but it helps us look at our editorial calendar as a whole, something a lot of advisors miss when they rush from one article to the next.
I used to attend a church where our worship pastor planned songs according to the liturgical calendar, but the teaching pastor didn’t plan his sermons that way. As a result, the songs and the message didn’t really line up.
Sure, both were about God, but it still left a good bit of dissonance.
Make sure your editorial calendar makes sense with what is happening in the world and what is happening at your firm. Tax articles go in Q1, college planning articles in Q2/early Q3, motivational planning articles go in Q4, and so on.
With that being said, you should always be ready to pause and/or pivot if something big happens.
If you don’t pause quickly enough, you could end up looking pretty silly. (Imagine sending an email to your prospect list on September 12, 2001, with the subject line: “How to optimize Social Security.”)
When the pandemic hit in March, you could almost hear the collective “screech” of editorial calendars across the country as companies everywhere shifted their focus to continue providing relevant value to readers.
Even on my best day, producing a good article takes me at least four hours, and more often than not it takes an entire day or more if you add in all the time spent on revising and editing.
I’ve tried doing it faster, but it’s just not going to happen most days.
And I write for a living.
People will tell you writing doesn’t have to take that long, and they’re right—it doesn’t have to take that long. It only has to take that long if you want it to be valuable to your readers.
If you want to produce quality content, there’s no “hack.” Believe me, I’ve tried. (Of course, there are processes that can help boost your productivity.)
Whether you do it all at once or a little bit at a time, writing a in-depth article that adds a lot of value to its readers is probably going to take you six to eight hours, or an entire day.
The average advisor already has enough to do, so how often will you find the time to write?
When planning your editorial calendar out, keep this important truth in mind: The best editorial calendar is the one you can actually execute.
One article per week is probably too much. One article per month may even be too much depending on your staff size and how many clients you serve. That’s okay.
Sure, you should push yourself, but the worst thing you can do is set yourself up for failure.
It’s like setting a new year’s resolution to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning and jog five miles when you’ve never really been the jogging type.
You’ll fail within the first couple weeks, and then there’s a much greater chance that you’ll just give up completely.
Start by setting a routine you can stick to. Wake up at 6:00 and walk a couple miles on the treadmill (seriously, who jogs outside in January?).
After you’re comfortable in that routine, you can move the alarm clock back a bit.
It’s the same with writing. Start with something you can handle. Maybe that’s one 800-word article per month, maybe it’s one 800-word article every six weeks or so. Once you’ve established that routine, you can push for more.
These elements may seem obvious, but we’ve seen a lot of advisors miss one or more of these targets. If you can keep them in mind when you’re setting up your content calendar for next year, you’ll be a step ahead of nearly everyone else.
Want to talk about establishing a content calendar that’s both realistic and incredibly effective?
Drop us a line!