Your franchise system’s success with a focused, organic-growth content marketing program depends on a strong content strategy. The third step in the Cadence9 7 Step Content Marketing Lifecycle is the editorial calendar, the tool to manage the content that fuels your content strategy to advance your business goals.

Organizing Your Strategy with an Editorial Calendar Just as a blueprint keeps the homebuilder on track for success by documenting all processes, your editorial calendar keeps your content production team on target and in sync. Planned content will also eliminate the stress of trying to come up with rushed ideas on a daily or weekly basis.

Once your overall content marketing plan is in place, it’s time to set up your editorial calendar/s to map out what is going to happen when and by whom for the next 3-6-9-12 months. In short, it’s a schedule of the content to be produced and delivered to your prospects and customers through various channels over a specified period of time.

As a franchisor with two primary marketing objectives and target audiences (franchise development and brand management), you may find it easier to maintain separate calendars since content needs will be different for each target audience and distribution channels may vary. For example, Twitter might be a more viable channel for brand management efforts while LinkedIn would better support franchise development.

The decision at a corporate level as to whether or not you will involve individual franchisees in your social and content digital marketing will impact the number and structure of editorial calendars as well.

Develop a Workable Calendar

A tool is only useful if it gets used. Just so, an editorial calendar is only useful if it’s readily available to everyone involved in content creation and easy to understand and use.
  • Provide multi-user access, as a shared document online (Google Drive or Drop Box), a specialized content marketing platform (like c9 prime™), or saved on the company’s shared drive.
  • Assign permissions to users so they can edit or only view the calendar, depending on team structure and responsibilities.
  • Have a designated manager for the calendar to keep track of all deadlines, resources and team members and to ensure the calendar is updated regularly.
If franchisees are conducting content and social media marketing independently, you, as the franchisor, may want to coordinate or at least view all calendars. Pulling all of this together is where a task management planning and publishing tool like Cadence9’s c9 prime™ shines. In a system built for this type of content management, the franchisor has online access to view each franchisee’s individual calendars, monitor content production in a centralized system, and the ability to aggregate many calendar schedules into a single view makes coordinating publishing schedules and content topics across the organization much more efficient.

If your content strategy and planning volume does not necessitate a scalable content marketing software, your workable calendar format can take various forms. You can create your calendar in Excel or you can find a variety of sample calendar templates online. Calendars are generally planned out for 3-6-9 months, or up to a full year in advance. The headings for your calendar define the content to be produced:
  • Publication dates
  • Content type and structure
  • Topics or titles/authors
  • Target audiences
  • Due dates
  • Keywords
  • Calls-to-action /offers
  • Media distribution channels
  • Roles and responsibilities for content creation, approval, submission and publication
Your calendar headings should reflect what is important to manage so you can quickly see all your content marketing activities and deadlines. The editorial calendar helps maintain consistency and content fidelity across all corporate and franchisee social media channels, promoting a true brand message through topics that align with your franchise’s content marketing goals.

Variety Keeps Your Calendar Fresh

Using a combination of original (80%) and curated content (20%) will keep your online presence from getting stale. Having your plan laid out in advance will facilitate the management of a variety of media types, balancing text with videos and other styles so your content remains interesting and engaging. Regular posting will maximize SEO ranking as fresh, new content is continually being indexed.

You’ll be able to see any gaps in content production such as Twitter or Facebook being overlooked, and you can drop in content ideas where needed to keep consistent postings. If you want to expand across additional social networks, you’ll be able to immediately see where and when this would be most advantageous.

Creating enough quality content can seem daunting, but content ideas are all around if you just know where to look:
  • Company news – message from President or CEO
  • New franchise location openings
  • Awards, honors or accolades received or given to your franchisee owners
  • Industry trends – become an industry thought leader
  • Customer testimonies
  • Product releases, updates
  • “In the news” for franchisor or individual franchisees
  • Holidays
  • Content for specific stages of the buyer’s cycle, new prospects to reselling existing customers
  • Newsjacking current events

Cadence9 Sample Editorial Content Calendar Download

Although creation of the editorial calendar can be challenging, it’s an investment that will pay big dividends. By keeping your editorial calendar updated and visible to all team members (corporate or franchisee), your content marketing strategy will be organized and manageable, delivering consistency in your brand message, while maintaining harmony and order with all your production team members.

Next in our series is Produce, the creation of your proposed content and Step 4 of the Content Marketing Lifecycle, including tips for creating high quality content in all types of media and how to use a Style Guide with your content team to optimize content production.