Kelsey Raymond, COO

Kelsey Raymond is the COO of Intero Digital. Kelsey has over a decade of experience helping businesses achieve their growth goals through digital marketing strategies. She leads a team of experts in content marketing, PR, web design and development, Amazon marketing, social media, video, and graphic design.

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How to Create an Editorial Calendar

How to Build an Editorial Calendar That’s Both Proactive and Reactive

How to Build an Editorial Calendar That’s Both Proactive and Reactive

Kelsey Raymond, COO • Intero Digital • March 8, 2023

How to Create an Editorial Calendar

It’s no secret that content marketing is a prominent strategy for B2B companies of all shapes and sizes. In fact, 73% of B2B content marketers have a content strategy (only 40% of those marketers have a documented strategy, though).

One common struggle for content marketers?

Striking the right balance in their content planning.

 Reactivity + Proactivity = Successful Content Strategy 

Both reactive and proactive content can bolster your content marketing strategy. Balancing the two can help you:

  • Stay relevant. Responding to timely topics that your industry peers are talking about will help you position yourself and your company as an industry expert with a finger on the pulse of the industry.
  • Build your reputation as a trusted resource. Publishing content that’s both reactive and proactive will allow you to position yourself as a resource your audience can trust — both in terms of new developments in the industry and forward-looking insights that will be helpful and relevant for years to come.
  • Shape the future of the industry. When you publish content that shares predictions rooted in firsthand experience, you have the opportunity to influence the industry and shape how it evolves over time.

Reactive Content vs. Proactive Content

When we’re talking about reactive versus proactive content, this is what we mean:

reactive piece of content is in response to a current event or trend that folks in the industry are talking about.

On the other hand, a proactive piece of content predicts where the industry is headed (usually based on current or historical events in the space).

For example, to discuss relevant industry developments and help our audience make sound decisions regarding their content marketing strategy in 2023, our company published a blog post and a guest-contributed article discussing our recommendations for AI-generated content. This would be considered reactive content because we were reacting to the influx of questions we were receiving about AI-generated content and how it could potentially fit into a content marketing strategy (or not).

Another example from Intero Digital is an article we published about current content marketing trends and predictions. This would be considered a proactive piece of content because it’s focused on where we’ve been and our predictions for where the industry might be in the next five years. The piece proactively discusses where the industry could potentially be headed based on our firsthand experience in the space.

How to Create a Balanced Editorial Calendar

With that in mind, how do you make sure your content marketing strategy includes an editorial calendar filled with both reactive and proactive content? These tips can help:

1. Try for a 75-25 split.

This isn’t an exact science, but you’ll probably want about a 75-25 split between your proactive and reactive pieces.

The majority of your content should be more evergreen in nature and valuable to your audience for a long time. Plus, you won’t have to go back and update it every few weeks — you’ll only have to revisit your proactive, evergreen on-site content every year or so to ensure it’s still relevant.

That said, don’t negate the critical need for reactive, timely content. Reactive content shows that you’re a knowledgeable industry expert who’s up to date on what your peers are doing and struggling with now. Consequently, having approximately one-quarter of all your content be “on trend” makes sense.

Of course, this means you have to stay updated on what’s going on in your industry and the rest of the world. To do so, subscribe to industry newsletters, set up Google alerts for relevant keywords, keep tabs on competitors’ developments, regularly attend conferences — the list goes on.

2. Bring your sales team into the content planning process.

If you’re not talking with your sales team as part of your editorial calendar planning, you need to start. Salespeople are the “boots on the ground” folks who are always talking with prospective clients. This means they have a deep understanding of what potential customers are looking for, as well as what’s keeping them from signing on for your services.

Start asking for your sales team’s constant and current objections. The constant objections they hear time and time again (usually about finances, time limitations, and approval processes) can become evergreen or proactive sales enablement content. The objections that are timelier, such as those surrounding a lack of clarity on a brand-new service line you’ve just unveiled, can prompt more reactive sales enablement content.

Prepare to be surprised when you open the door for your salespeople to tell you more about leads than you imagined. Even if you have a swath of information at your disposal, you can always learn something new. And once you do, you can use what you learn to populate your content calendar with topic ideas that capitalize on what leads need to know right now.

3. Plan your content calendar in quarterly sprints.

Want to get to the finish line ahead of your competition? Map out your editorial calendar once a quarter. (Those three months will go fast, by the way!) Sticking with quarterly sprints ensures you’re able to respond to timely developments while also working on proactive and evergreen pieces.

During your quarterly sprints, review which pieces of content from the previous quarter resulted in traffic spikes or engaged audiences the most. You might discover that certain themes stand out for your audience. Use those themes as a guide for setting up future Google keyword pings as the industry grows and changes.

In addition to your quarterly content planning sprints, conduct a review to make sure important events and happenings are integrated into your content calendar. You can also perform a content audit. The content audit can be used to identify whether you need to update anything on your blog. It’s much more efficient to identify old content that needs a refresh quarterly or annually than in a piecemeal fashion. That way, you can generate a list of content to update that you can pull from when you have capacity to make changes.

4. Spend time reflecting.

Take a step back and look at your industry as if it were a timeline. What have you seen over the years when you look in the rearview mirror? And what do you see as you position your expert eyes in a more forward-looking direction? You might not have all the answers, but you probably have a great deal of insight into what could occur in your industry in the near and distant future.

No one expects you to be spot on with your predictions, and you shouldn’t just make unfounded guesses or claims as clickbait. But if you have something helpful and informative to say based on current events, a recent report, or even a growing social movement, have at it.

Striking a balance between proactivity and reactivity can be a powerful force when it comes to your content marketing strategy. You’ll be able to provide immense value to your audience — both in the near and distant future — and build your reputation as an expert leader in your industry.

Are you leaving content marketing opportunity on the table?

Kelsey Raymond, COO

Kelsey Raymond is the COO of Intero Digital. Kelsey has over a decade of experience helping businesses achieve their growth goals through digital marketing strategies. She leads a team of experts in content marketing, PR, web design and development, Amazon marketing, social media, video, and graphic design.