If you’re looking to launch a multilingual blog on your company’s website, then planning your content in advance isn’t optional. It’s vital. Creating a blog editorial calendar will make your online content strategy infinitely more effective and maintainable. And if you’re managing content in several languages, planning ahead is even more essential.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to creating a blog editorial calendar in multiple languages, including what to focus on and our top tips for making them more effective.

Why is multilingual content management so important?

Content marketing and SEO are paramount for businesses to gain visibility online. We all know that if you’re not on the first page of Google, nobody sees you. End of story. Publishing multilingual content will help your website rank even higher in search engines and give you a competitive edge by targeting language markets that your competitors haven’t entered (yet).

Your multilingual editorial calendar should encompass your entire multilingual content management system and ideally include all your marketing channels: blog posts, videos, social media, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, and even eBooks. But for the sake of this article, we’ll keep things simple and focus just on the multilingual blog content. 

First off, you’ll have to have developed a multilingual content marketing strategy. Once you’ve done that, your editorial calendar is pivotal to keeping it all organized and successful. The calendar streamlines everything from assigning articles to publishing dates. Most importantly, your content calendar helps your team stay on track of your long-term content goals.

See also: 8 ways to plan your work schedule (and personal life) better

What should a multilingual editorial calendar include?

While you should design your calendar according to your specific strategy, here’s a basic content calendar template to follow:

1. Types of content to be published/updated

Keep a sheet—either on Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets—that includes a list of all content. This includes both upcoming blog posts and existing content that you might be updating or improving for international SEO purposes.

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to go back to old blog posts and update them regularly—Google loves fresh content!

More: How to set up a design workflow for global social media accounts

2. Languages

Make sure you’ve already researched what language markets are most promising for your brand, and hired the right content localization services. These are crucial steps in developing your multilingual content marketing strategy. 

3. People

Assign tasks to team members, including writers, editors and translators. More full-fledged content calendars may include community managers, graphic designers and photographersjust to give you an idea.

If you work with freelancers, download our checklist for hiring, onboarding and nurturing relationships with freelancers.

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4. Dates

A blog editorial calendar should include dates for content creation, translation/localization and publishing at the very least. Depending on your marketing strategy’s development, you could also include dates for the editorial process, proofreading, fact-checking, social media content, rewrites, advertising campaigns, etc.

This process can get quite detailed and be better served using a workflow app like Trello.

More: 12 multilingual social media tips that really work

A guide to creating a multilingual blog editorial calendar

5 key areas to focus on for multilingual content planning

Here are a few things to keep in mind for multilingual content management.

1. Article topics

Carefully research topics and themes for your blog. Here are some tips:

  • Have a brainstorming session to develop blog post ideas that are as relevant as possible to your company, industry and target audience. You can regularly schedule these sessions and continually tweak your blog editorial calendar accordingly. 
  • Feature special events, industry-specific news and holidays that may be relevant to your readers. This can include anniversaries and company highlights. These types of timely articles are fantastic for encouraging sharing and engagement.
  • Make a “personas” list. Write your articles directly to your target readers in each language market. For example, your target readers may be potential customers, community members or employee candidates. Drawing up a detailed list of their characteristics, interests, and needs will be very useful in the writing phase.
    • Pro tip: make your content as targeted as possible.
  • Base articles on popular search terms. We can’t deny the importance of SEO when it comes to digital content. Research the most popular search terms related to your industry in each language, and include them in your blog editorial calendar so the writer can incorporate them into the article. Keyword research is also a great tool for finding blog post ideas.
    • Pro tip: you don’t want your entire blog editorial calendar to be focused exclusively on the most popular search terms. The key lies in finding a balance between fresh ideas, timely pieces and SEO best practices.

See also: SEO localization for multilingual websites: What is it and why is it necessary?

A guide to multilingual content management
  • Don’t simply translate your articles. This is extremely important for multilingual blog posts: Make sure your articles are carefully adapted and localized to each language, including demographics, geography (i.e. timezone), culture, tone (friendly vs. formal, etc), and other nuances. Not all of your ideas in one language will be applicable to another.
    • Here’s a simple example: Let’s say you’re writing an article related to a holiday like Thanksgiving for your US English blog. Think twice before translating that article for your Spanish-language version. Writing about a relevant holiday/topic for your Spanish-speaking audience would be much better. Plan these things in advance, so you have enough time to craft quality content specific to each language.

More: What is creative translation? Everything you need to know & Translation vs. localization: What’s the difference and why should you care?

2. Cycles

Plan your content calendar according to a cycle, i.e. quarterly, bi-yearly, or yearly. If possible, we recommend having a yearly calendar planned out. The minimum would be three months. The whole point of having a blog editorial calendar is to help your company reach its long-term content goals. Planning content ahead of time allows you to make that “bigger picture” come to life. 

We can get so caught up in the day-to-day workings of our companies that we end up leaving our content on the backburner and losing sight of our goals. Or, if you’re like me, you might have so many ideas that it becomes almost impossible to concentrate on just one article topic. That’s when having a well mapped-out calendar comes into play. 

Top Tip: For inspiration, Google “content ideas + [your industry]”.

3. Quantity

How much content do you want to publish per cycle? This includes the number of articles and approximate word count. When dealing with multiple languages, do keep the translation process in mind. Make sure that the quantity is manageable.

Here’s an example of the quantity of multilingual content to publish on your website:

  • 2 x new blog posts a month
  • 2 x existing blog post updates a month
  • 1 x new lead generation piece a quarter

4. Production team

Are you using in-house writers and translators? Or are you outsourcing your content creation and translations? Make sure all team members are assigned specific roles and include them on the calendar. It’s also a good idea to set up a guide that explains how to use the content calendar—things can get messy if everyone starts using the calendar in their own way!

More: How to choose the right multilingual SEO agency to grow your business

5. Frequency

How often do you want to publish content on your blog? Weekly, bi-weekly? In the beginning, less is definitely more. Once you get the hang of it and your content flow is running smoothly, you can choose to increase your frequency.

Now that you’ve drawn up your personas list, created a cycle’s worth of article ideas, set attainable dates, and put together a killer team, it’s time to create your editorial blog calendar in multiple languages.

Here goes!

Multilingual content management planning

Step-by-step guide to creating a blog editorial calendar in multiple languages

Step 1: Choose your tool

Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel work just fine as an overall project management tool and allow maximum flexibility. However, you can also find editorial calendar templates and software online.

See more: 8 best tools for running an effective multilingual blog

Step 2: Create separate windows for each language

If you’re using Google Sheet or Excel, it’s helpful to keep all the languages in one place. By making separate windows, all team members can easily access their page and see the status of all the language versions. Each window should be similar in terms of formatting. 

Step 3: Create your columns

Your blog content calendar should be tailored specifically to your content strategy, but here’s a list of columns you’ll most likely want to include:

  • Article title/topic
  • Date assigned
  • Deadline for first draft/outline
  • Date for publishing
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Translator
  • Word count
  • Persona/target reader
  • Keywords
  • Meta tags and meta description
  • Tags and categories 
  • Call-to-action
  • Status 

Pro tip: Color coding isn’t just for high schoolers. It’s very useful in your editorial calendar, too.

Step 4: Assign one person to be in charge of everything

We highly recommend having just one person oversee the entire editorial calendar and make sure team members follow all the processes and dates. This person can also suggest changes as they see fit throughout the cycles.

When it comes to a multilingual editorial calendar, there are many steps involved: from the original content creation to the translation phase. Appointing a manager is key – they shouldn’t be involved in the finer details of the articles but instead focused on organizing and maintaining the overall multilingual content management strategy. 

multilingual content management

Make room for change

Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to swap in a timely blog post in place of one of your previous ideas if it’s relevant. Inspiration often strikes at unpredictable moments, so if you suddenly come up with a great article idea that wasn’t part of your plan, don’t dismiss it simply because it’s not on the calendar. Make it work! 

You should also regularly assess your overall content strategy and make adjustments based on your research, analysis, and observations.

Need help?

If you’re excited about joining the ranks of multilingual content marketing and need a helping hand in creating a blog editorial calendar in multiple languages, get in touch with us

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