Do you ever leave the house without a Global Positioning System (GPS)? 

Of course not, most people today don't. 

A GPS is an important tool that gets you to your destination.

More and more marketing departments today are run like content development and distribution organizations. Think of your editorial plan as the GPS that guides you through:

  • Planning, developing, running and managing your campaigns
  • Monitoring metrics and making adjustments based on them
  • Achieving your goals.

Without one, you're working without clear direction, which will get you nowhere.

Here are nine steps to developing a sound editorial plan for both B2B and B2C marketing campaigns.

1. Start by identifying your sales and marketing goals. You can only build a plan to reach your business goals if you have a clear picture of what they are. Work with your sales or wholesaling team to define them. Include specific metrics and projections for things like:

  • number of contacts
  • sales volume and dollar value
  • client deepening projections
  • marketing cost expectations.

2. Create a list of key messages. Start by figuring out what your firm needs to say to consumers to get them to take the actions needed to achieve the goals you've defined. Once you do this, turn them into a list of messages you’ll integrate into your marketing deliverables. This ensures that your content won't be random and unfocused. It will include key messages that will generate business results.

3. Develop a list of topics and prioritize it. Come up with topics that you can integrate your messages into that will resonate with prospect and clients. Make sure that you can package these topics in different types of content that can be delivered in media that your client base engages with. 

4. Prioritize your topics. Determine an order and frequency of how you present your topics so they aren't random. It should take prospects and clients on a journey toward contacting your firm or purchasing a product or service.

5. Figure out where your target audience spends time. A good editorial plan reaches consumers in their favorite media, whether it's social, blogs, online search, television, streaming radio, email, print publications and more. Today, you can't force consumers to find your messages. They simply won't take the time because they have so much great information at their fingertips.

6. Determine your budget. Find out how much money you have to spend on content development and media placements. Your budget defines the scope and scale of your editorial plan.

7. Plan your content. Think about how to package your messages and topics in the most efficient ways to generate results. This could include developing white papers, commercials, videos, social posts, online ads, blog posts, web content and more.

8. Craft your editorial calendar. It should define when, how (content) and where (media) you deliver your content and key messages to consumers. There are countless ways to lay out an editorial calendar. Some of the most popular include:

  • Seasonal: Content and messages are distributed at the appropriate time of year (for example, mortgages during spring house-hunting season, home improvement loans in the summer, college-planning during back-to-school time and fund information before a major investing conference.) This is a time-bound editorial calendar and one of the simplest to manage. It is similar to how retailers plan their editorial strategies.
  • Sales: Messages and media placements are sequenced by how they’re delivered during the sales process, whether to intermediaries or end consumers. This type of plan isn't time-bound. Instead, it's more of a flow chart. It uses an “if / then” messaging logic engineered to close sales.
  • Client-centric: This is a plan that delivers targeted messages to different groups of prospects and clients. Messages are distributed based on individual interests, needs and behaviors. The calendar is organized by audience type.

Lay out your editorial calendar so it lets you see the big picture while still providing enough detailed information to execute your editorial plan.

9. Track progress and make adjustments. The editorial process doesn't end when you execute your plan. You must constantly monitor results and progress toward achieving your marketing goals. If you find that you're falling behind, make adjustments to your plan. An editorial plan is always written in pencil, never permanent ink. It's a living document that should evolve over time.

Need help developing an editorial plan for your firm? Contact Carpenter Group. We’ve worked with financial, professional services and technology firms to develop relevant editorial strategies that get results for more than thirty five years.