The editorial plan is a useful tool for defining content planning strategy. It can be applied to different communication channels that involve frequent use such as updating a blog or managing a social network.
The editorial plan then allows those who manage these tools to figure out what to publish and how.
Before creating an editorial plan, it is necessary to think about corporate identity: knowing the brand and the goals of the company. In short, reflections on the brand identity, as with graphic work and any other operational strategy.
One of the useful tools for clarifying business strategy is, for example, a'SWOT analysis, a model that allows information to be schematized to learn about strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and make an analysis of competitors, i.e., "opponents," market competitors.
How the editorial plan is made
Let's see together what is the "toolbox" we can use to build and make an editorial plan work.
The tools for rolling out the editorial plan range from the simplest editor of text such as word, ad excel for those who like schematization, to the more complex systems of task management.
It doesn't matter much, really, where you track your content but it is critically important to carefully choose the tool that is most understood and shareable with the team around the editorial plan project.
Once the channel is chosen (blog, Facebook or others social media) you need to establish a posting frequency, that is, the number of times you will post a piece of content.
It does not matter that the frequency is high but for measurability reasons it is mandatory to maintain it.
A classic system for structuring content is the rubric system.
Contents can be informative, that is, concerning perhaps curiosity and culture, commercial, that is, aimed at sales, or there are the content infomercial, which, as the name implies, can be defined as a middle ground between the two types said before, for example, a Facebook page of a city indirectly could "sell" what the city is about.
The organization and content
The rubric system is based on the choice of certain topic of reference (topics) that revolve around communicating the goals and identity of the brand.
The rubric is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of posts, so it ensures a measurability of content, in the case of Facebook it can be evaluated through its tool monitoring, or you can use the tracking of Google Analytics.
Individual topics are chosen for each rubric, the contents of which are then developed within a fixed structure.
In practice, each rubric has a format, i.e., a general idea that is always the same and constitutes the common thread and a communicative objective. The contents of that topic are presented in the same graphic format, but vary the copy in graphics or just one of the graphic elements and, of course, the text of the post, so that one topic is distinct from the other.
Content must be based on absolutely reliable, verified and reusable sources. When using sources that are far from digital, such as a book, in addition to reworking the source it will be necessary to rework the concepts and adapt them to modern standards. Most of the time it is a matter of simplifying the message or imagining its graphic transposition.
Structuring an address book
What data are needed to practically structure our rubric?
The rubric is assigned a title, which does not have to be included in user publications but can simply be an element to distinguish one rubric from another.
In the description of the rubric, the subject matter is made explicit and an indication is given of the message to be given and the type of content to be conveyed.
We will then indicate the format which varies depending on the channel used and variations related to sponsorship, which will be used by the graphic designer to make the visual part.
In the section materials we will attach useful sources and can give some hints to the graphic designer, but it would be best to leave the creative part to him.
It is then necessary to indicate the frequency, that is, the regular cadence of posts.
After this data we will go on to enter the post example.
An example of a column
Let's take the example of a column. Let's imagine that we are managing the Facebook page of a long-established restaurant that has typical dishes on its menu.
The title could be "Rewarded by Tradition."
We want users, attracted by the post photo, to visit our site to browse the menu, so we will choose the post format with links.
The material used could be a cookbook owned for generations by the managers.
We establish a posting frequency of twice a week, corresponding with the weekend.
Structure of posts
The structure of the post consists of several elements that may vary depending on the channel chosen.
It basically consists of a graphic part, with the corresponding copy, which would be the text in graphics.
It is important to keep in mind that in graphics you should not write a lot, as people tend to dwell on the image and read little. The text should be structured in such a way as to put the most appealing information in the foreground, for example in the case of a column that talks about typical dishes, it is better to write information that relates to taste first.
For example, the first post for our "Rewarded by Tradition" column might consist of the graphic copy-The Best Noodles in Italy-and the accompanying text might begin like this, "Smokin', tasty, authentic. Our km 0 ingredients, since the 1950s, have made customers from all over Italy appreciate our tagliatelle." This text would then be followed by the recipe.
The image suggested by the graphic will probably be a picture of a nice plate of the noodles cooked by the restaurant.
Present rubrics to the principal
You have to give the client several choices in order to be able to identify the most suitable one, for example, a copy associated with an image can be misinterpreted.
Although people tend to focus more on the image, it is very important to curate the text, so headings should be presented first, with a sample post, and then all posts should be developed.
Variations in frequency may occur in the case of instant marketing, that is, when there is a need to post content that relates to a certain trend on the network, an incident or event.
They are often not programmable and require a great deal of creative effort and coordination of the team involved in content creation.
Exceptions are those related to "public holidays" and international days, which we might call "instant programmables."
A post regarding a holiday such as Christmas, for example, does not fit into the scheduled cadence of posts.
The internal and external chain of approval
Each post is subject to an approval process. In the case of a fairly streamlined situation, the process involves theowner of the company, or themarketing officer if any, the marketing director or the social media manager agency in-house or freelance, the graphic designer and the creative director who is the head of the graphic designer.
The editorial plan normally should be at least quarterly scheduled.
Every two months, then, wanting to act in an organized way in anticipation for the next quarter's changes, one must send all posts to the owner for approval.
Internally within the communications agency that manages the drafting and execution of the editorial plan, the approval process takes place as described below.
The content curator Sets the rubric strategy and texts and passes them to the chart.
The text copy and the copy in graphics are handed over to the graphic designer, without giving interpretations so as not to limit creative freedom; if the image then turns out incorrect, the copy is probably not clear enough and will have to be reworked.
Once the graphics are made, they are passed back to the content editor And if it suits the creative or marketing director.
Having passed the internal approval chain, theaccount will send everything to the client and only with the client's approval will programming begin.
Today, socials have their own programming tools, for example, Facebook has Facebook Creator.
There are external tools that allow the management of multiple social networks at the same time, but people often prefer to avoid using them because there is always a risk that communication between the tool and social could break down and create problems.
Therefore, we can define the editorial plan as a very important tool within the web marketing, which allows a company's content to be planned in order to optimize the effectiveness of posts within channels.