Elevating Impact in Higher-Ed: 5 Components Your Blog Editorial Calendar Should Have

Ellen Seaward Apr 25, 2024 Ellen Seaward Copywriter Persona The Sophisticated and Supportive Host

Excel spreadsheets formatted to turn from green to red as deadlines approached. Online project management tools. One really big whiteboard. There are many kinds of blog editorial calendars. Having one is critical to an effective content strategy plan, but there’s no one-size-fits-all.

Whether you’re reviving an old blog, starting a new one, or just looking to optimize your current one, being prepared goes a long way. Here are 5 key things to do when building an effective blog editorial calendar.

#1: Determine Your Posting Schedule

Ask these three questions to start building your posting schedule:

  • When and how frequently do I want blogs published?
  • How long does it take to get a blog from idea to publication?

All marketers ask the first question. Only organized marketers ask the second.

Factoring in time for edits and polishing is critical in establishing deadlines. Take a look at your people power and resources to determine a sustainable timeline to work from. Once you have a clearer picture of your blog timeline from conception to publication, a reasonable posting schedule will emerge along with it. One thoughtful, well-written blog a week is a good goal to shoot for if resources allow. Once you have a cadence that works for you, establish workflows and a posting schedule so you stick to it.

#2: Identify Target Audiences & Choose Your Channels to Promote

Now that you have your blog posting schedule, identify the audience (or audiences) your blog is for. Depending on how often you’re posting it may make sense to speak to one audience, but a larger blog might have many kinds of posts for different audiences. Before you start writing any piece of content, you should be clear about who you’re writing for. You’ll also want to stay balanced on how much you’re writing for any particular audience.

Writing for your audience isn’t enough to reach your audience, though. Think about how to promote your blog other than just posting it on your website. Not all blogs, including personalized content such as accepted student checklists, need to be posted everywhere. Identifying your target audiences and channels for posting gives you a framework for choosing where and to whom a blog should go. A blog targeting high school juniors will get more reach on Instagram, whereas a blog targeting parents will be better served on LinkedIn.

#3: Establish 5-10 Blog Categories

Speaking of topics, let’s discuss categories. In addition to providing simple site navigation and improving site SEO, blog categories can make your higher-ed content strategy easier.

These categories should be broad topics that bucket ideas your audiences want to learn more about, like residential life, financial aid, athletics, and study abroad. To help choose categories, look at metrics on email, social media, and more to see what kinds of topics performed best.

Establishing categories also lets you see how well you’re covering various topics across high-demand interest areas and track metrics across various categories to see what’s working and what’s not.

#4: Plan Around Timely Posts, Holidays, and Special Events

Nothing beats knowing you seamlessly timed a blog post to something that just happened. Conversely, you want to avoid accidentally publishing a blog in a moment that isn’t timely.

Keep track of holidays, special events, and important dates and deadlines on your blog calendar so that you can post strategically. Is there a big game coming up next month? That’s a good time to get a blog about your athletics program on the schedule. Not only will this help you put out timely and relevant content but it will save you from accidentally scheduling posts on days they won’t perform well (like major holidays).

#5: Images and Copy

Proactively plan for accompanying blog content by adding an image and copy section directly into your editorial calendar. There, you can put links or files to images and jot down copy or copy notes for accompanying social media posts. When it’s time to post, you’ll know exactly where to grab the image and copy you want.

Plus, when it comes to auditing your content, adding an images section to your editorial calendar makes you faster at finding and updating old images. Adding an image to your blog post has huge returns as images can help engage readers. Hubspot has tips for strategically including images instead of grabbing stock photos.

Ready to Write?

Now that you’re equipped with the five components every successful blog editorial calendar has, you’re ready to get ahead on deadlines and execute an authentic, strategic content plan for your institution.

Have more questions about digital marketing? Carnegie can help.

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