Communications is an important aspect of public relations; in fact, you can’t have public relations without communication. A big part of communications has to do with writing, releasing and publishing editorial content. But content can’t just be thrown together as and when it’s needed (although this will happen when something unexpected occurs). Effective public relations strategies consist of well thought out and carefully structured editorial plans, and content items that are released according to an equally well thought out editorial calendar.
Factors to consider in editorial planning
There are several factors that need to be considered when creating an editorial plan. For instance, you’ll need to incorporate all media, including Facebook, Twitter, your blog, billboards, press releases and advertorials. The content will need to be released in such a manner that consumers aren’t completely saturated with your message but are still well aware of what you want to say.
You’ll also need to decide who is going to manage what content. For example, will Sally manage Twitter, Facebook and the blog while Jessica handles press releases? Or will Andrew take some of the weight off Sally’s shoulders? Maybe Bob has a unique idea for using pamphlets; will he need help bringing it to light?
Your content team will need to have a list of topics ready so you can decide what goes, what stays and what needs to be tweaked. It’s also important to decide what topic will go where; is it more suited to a Tweet or can be fleshed out into a blog post? Some topics will naturally arise throughout the week or month or year, but you should have a ready supply to ensure that you’re always top of mind.
Then you need to figure out how long it will take to get each piece of content written. Does an advertorial need to be researched, do you need time to conduct interviews or get quotes? What’s the proofreading and editing turnaround time for press releases?
Arranging the calendar
Start arranging the content on a calendar. Your plan can be for any period of time: a week, month or year, but it must be flexible to cope with changing trends, current events and crises. The calendar must not only include the release dates but also release times. This is especially important for content destined for the digital sphere because there are times when content is more likely to be seen than others. When these times are depends on where in the world you are, where in the world your target audience is and who your audience is.
Finally, you should always measure the results of each content piece released. That way you’ll create an accurate picture of what content works best where, and when.