Let’s face it, change is something that we are not fond of. We have all heard the saying “Change is good.” but the truth is, change is scary and as humans we don’t like being scared (Except for the occasional Halloween thrills!). Change is met with resistance because it disrupts the status quo of comfort. So to create positive change, you must either approach it from an emergent mindset, with the standpoint that change is a continuous process or from a planned mindset, with the standpoint that change is an intentional attempt to improve.
Right now, you might feel semi-organized with editorial calendars that are spread throughout your photography business. You may have an editorial calendar for product promotions or session specials. You may have a calendar for your blogging or social media schedule. You may have an event calendar. Or an editorial calendar for printed materials that you plan to distribute in your community. You also may manage your projects, tasks, and workflow in a separate online tool. You have calendars, yet you feel disorganized and scattered, going in and out of different notebooks and online tools.
When it comes to your editorial calendar, you may have to plan for change, to create something that works and is all inclusive of your business strategies. Why is it important to have a good editorial calendar? As a photographer entrepreneur, you can’t afford to waste any more time on a bunch of one off editorial calendars. Having an editorial calendar that includes ALL of your marketing strategies will keep you organized and one step ahead, so that you can better impact potential clients and give an even better experience and customer service to current clients.
One of the first things you can do to plan change with your marketing strategy is to consolidate your editorial calendar. This may be a huge undertaking for you, especially if your current system is spread all over the place, but once you make the decision to transfer everything to one place, you will find yourself more organized and productive. Start by finding a system to consolidate every calendar you have and delete all of the other calendars you have. This can be a scary change, but by doing so, you will eliminate the time suck of going to different calendars and tools and streamline your planning process. Make it a daily routine to use your editorial calendar to build a new habit, and when you complete small tasks, celebrate your wins to reinforce the benefits of this new system.
We use 17hats not only for our client communications and follow-up, but also our internal projects and content creation within our photography business. Just like many entrepreneurs, we had our planning systems for different projects spread throughout, and found ourselves spinning our wheels trying to stay organized. With 17hats, we have one central base that we keep all of our editorial calendars together, future projects, and an area for extensive notes on our progress. We also are able to break down larger projects into smaller tasks and give ourselves deadlines, which keeps us more accountable and creates more consistent content release to our clients and audience.
After creating a universal editorial calendar, it is important to think about is how to get the most out of it. As mentioned before, an effective editorial calendar should include all of your content, promotions, and ways you can track your progress. Your editorial calendar should give you the ability to:
1. Plan your blog posts and content way ahead of time.
A good rule of thumb is to always be three months ahead with your content written and planned out. There is nothing worse than creating a promotion or content piece and the release date is already too late. Think of the last minute seasonal promotions you see or may have even been guilty of promoting. With a good editorial calendar, you can plan ahead according to holidays and season and you won’t find yourself scrambling to get a promotion or blog out on time.
2. Treat your content pieces as projects with tasks, comments, and workflow.
Big projects can be less overwhelming when you break them down to smaller tasks. You will also feel more accomplished as you complete smaller tasks towards a big project or content piece.
3. Schedule social media messages before your content publishes.
Have a plan for your social media as well and when you can begin to tease your audience that something new and exciting is coming.
Remember, with your editorial calendar, the longer the runway of promotion, the more successful you will be. Connecting with your audience involves long term strategies and communication touch points to build the like, know and trust factor, and this can be done more effectively with an editorial calendar that encompasses all of your marketing strategies. Plan for change and start with your editorial calendar, which will be the home base of how you communicate with your audience and clients!