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Law Practice Magazine

The Marketing Issue

Plan and Organize Content Using an Editorial Calendar

Allison C Johs


  • Creating quality content can help lawyers build awareness, demonstrate their expertise and grow their practices.
  • Editorial calendars streamline the content creation process.
  • Plan your content using the editorial calendar to decide in advance what topics to cover and why, who to direct your content to and when to publish.
Plan and Organize Content Using an Editorial Calendar

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Like it or not, lawyers and law firms have had to become content creators to compete. By creating and publishing content, law firms build awareness of the firm, its lawyers, and the services they provide; educate potential clients or referral sources about why and how their services can help; demonstrate knowledge and expertise; and generate leads, inquiries and referrals.

Law firm content can be published in many different forms and on many different platforms, including website pages, newsletters, blog articles, social media posts and YouTube videos. But how do you manage and track all that content to ensure that it’s consistent and timely—or that it gets created in the first place?

An editorial calendar can help.

What Is an Editorial Calendar?

According to inbound marketing software company Hubspot, “An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators schedule their work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.”

But editorial calendars go beyond just scheduling. Depending on the tool or format you use for your editorial calendar it can help you gather all your resources in one place; brainstorm and keep track of ideas; plan topics, keywords and hashtags; record who is creating or publishing what and when; easily locate content or links to past content for future reference; and more.

By using an editorial calendar to strategically plan your content in advance, you won’t waste time trying to find a topic idea at the last minute, or struggle with long gaps between posts. Having content created in advance and ready to deploy can help take the pressure off when time gets tight.

When planning your editorial calendar, keep in mind that you’ll still want to cover breaking news, unexpected updates or new information that comes to your attention. Be prepared to change the schedule if necessary.

What to Include in Your Editorial Calendar

There are many ways to create your editorial calendar; you can use a simple Excel spreadsheet, create a notebook in software like Evernote, use a project management software program like Asana or Trello or search the internet for “editorial calendar templates.”

Whatever method you use, your editorial calendar should include general guidelines, such as the channels where you publish content, the frequency of publishing (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and the approval process your content must go through before it is published.

You should also address each of the following questions:

Who is this Content Intended for?

In other words––who is your audience? If you practice in more than one area of law, you may have a different audience for each practice area or service you provide. Or you may direct some of your content to potential clients, and other content to existing clients or referral sources.

Each audience will have different needs, questions and interests, or they may have different preferences for how or where they prefer to consume content. When planning each piece of content, keep your intended audience in mind. Do your research and plan accordingly so that you can reach each of your audiences effectively.

What Themes, Topics and Keywords are Important to the Audience?

Develop a list of themes or topics to create your content around. Then brainstorm specific article or post ideas under each theme. Add the titles, keywords and hashtags you want to include in the post to the editorial calendar.

As you come across interesting articles, blog topics or keywords that inspire you or that you want to include in future content, add them to your editorial calendar for future use. You may also want to develop specific calls to action for each theme or topic.

What is the Purpose of this Content?

What are you trying to accomplish with each piece of content you create? Are you trying to educate, entertain or persuade? What do you want your audience to do as a result of consuming that content?

Thinking about the purpose of each piece of content can help you determine what format the content should take, what platform it should be published on, and what calls to action or links to include.

When thinking about the purpose of your content you should also consider the stage of the “customer journey” that content addresses. Is your audience at the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the decision stage or the retention stage?

For example, content created to address an audience at the awareness stage will be content with a purpose to inform or educate, while content created for the consideration stage will focus more on why your solution or your law firm is the correct choice for the audience to make.

What Form Should the Content Take?

How are you going to present your content to your audience? Your content can take many forms, including text, images, video, infographics, audio, carousels or presentations. Based on the topic, audience and purpose of your content, one or more of these formats might be appropriate.

If you’re already creating content in one format, think about how you might repurpose that content in another format to reach a wider audience.

The same ideas might also be presented in different structures, even if the content takes the same form. For example, if you wanted to create text-based content around slip and fall accidents in the snow, you could create a “how to” post on preventing slip and fall accidents, an article with an overview of local laws on sidewalk snow removal, a client story about how you resolved a slip and fall case, a FAQ post about what to do if you have a slip and fall accident, etc.

Where Should this Content be Published?

The options for places or channels to publish or distribute your content increase almost daily, it seems. They include your firm website and blog, but also firm and individual social media accounts, your firm’s Google Business Profile, your law firm newsletter and individual email or direct messages to clients.

Choose the channels that make the most sense for you and your audience. If you’re just starting out, limit yourself to one or two main channels, and don’t forget that you can post the same content on more than one channel.

It is also useful to include a place on your editorial calendar to keep track of links to your content once it is published, so that you can easily refer to it (or link to it again) later.

Who is Responsible for Creating this Content?

In many firms, content creation isn’t the responsibility of just one individual at the firm. The editorial calendar can help you track which authors and editors are responsible for which content and can help spread the responsibility to different people with different areas of expertise.

If your firm has an approval process, the editorial calendar can help you identify bottlenecks by identifying where the piece of content gets stuck in the pipeline.

When Should this Content be Published?

The final element in your editorial calendar is the schedule––when do you want to publish each piece of content? Some pieces of content may be published on more than one channel or be published more than once on the same channel on different dates and times to reach all your intended audiences.

Keeping track of when you posted your content and the results that piece of content achieved can help you refine your posting strategy and learn what time your audience is most likely to engage with your content on a particular platform.

Try adding an editorial calendar to your marketing toolbox to see how it improves your content creation process and consistency.