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Smart marketers are taking a tool from the editor’s toolkit and using it to help with their content marketing efforts. An editorial calendar is an essential component to building a content marketing strategy. Before building a calendar, you should know what kind of content you’ll be producing, who the target audience is and what resources you have available to you. It’s important to know the “why” regarding content marketing before you start tracking the “how.” Here are four ways an editorial calendar can be beneficial to content marketers.

1. An editorial calendar keeps content on track. A basic editorial calendar will include the following elements: the date the piece will be published, date the first draft is due, topic or headline of the piece, content owner, photo or visual needs, and current status of the project. (See a variety of samples here.) Calendars can be customized depending on the needs of your content marketing team, but remember, it needs to be accessible by all members of the content team and updated in real time.

2. A calendar aids in distribution efforts. A basic content calendar can help track status of creative, but it can be built out to include a distribution plan, as well. If you plan to disseminate creative content though social media, email or paid search, these efforts also can be tracked on a content marketing calendar.

3. Past content isn’t lost, and future ideas aren’t forgotten. Online marketing efforts move at a very fast pace, and once a content post is bumped from page one, it can be lost from memory. And if something is happening a few months from now, you can mark it down on the future month’s calendar so you don’t forget. If you’re also tracking social media marketing efforts on the same content calendar, a quick search can reveal the last time you posted about a particular subject when planning for future content.

4. A content calendar helps with cross-promotion. Keeping track of all your content marketing efforts in one place will help you see the bigger picture: If you’re focused on food and dining efforts in your content marketing post for the month of June, for example, it would be beneficial to align your other content platforms (video, social media, email, print efforts, etc.) with the same theme.

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If you need help with content planning and calendar creation, contact the Interfuse team.