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 key. Creating a blog editorial calendar will make your online content strategy infinitely more effective and maintainable. And if you’re handling several languages, these tips will be even more helpful.

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 ideally include all your marketing channels: articles, videos, social media, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, and even an eventual eBook. 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 will be pivotal to keeping it all organized and successful. The calendar will streamline everything from assigning articles to publishing dates. Most importantly, your editorial calendar helps your team stay on track of your long-term content goals.

Although you should design your calendar according to your specific strategy, here are the basics on how to make one:

What to include in your multilingual blog editorial calendar

1. Type of content to be published :

This includes both new content and existing content that you might be updating or improving due to SEO.

2. Languages:

Make sure you’ve already researched what language markets are most promising for your brand, and hired the right language experts and translators to be on the team. These are crucial steps in developing your multilingual content marketing strategy

3. People:

Assign tasks to team members, including writers, editors, and translators. A more full-fledged calendar may include community managers, graphic designers, and photographers, just to give you an idea.

4. Dates:

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

More: 12 multilingual social media tips that really work

a guide to creating a multilingual blog editorial calendar

Things to keep in mind in the design phase

1. Article topics:

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

  • Have a brainstorming session to come up with content 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 great 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.
    • 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.

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

  • Don’t simply translate your articles. This is extremely important for multilingual blog content: Make sure your articles are being carefully adapted to each language, keeping in mind 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. Obviously you should think twice before translating that article for your Spanish-language version. It would be much better to write about a relevant holiday/topic for your Spanish-speaking audience. Think about 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

2. Cycles: 

Plan your calendar according to 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 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. 

For inspiration, check out Forbes’ 2019 yearly editorial calendar, digital and print

3. Quantity:

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

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.

5. Frequency:

How often do you want to publish content on your blog? Weekly, bi-weekly? At 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!

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

Step 1: Choose your tool

Google Sheets or Excel work just fine and allow maximum flexibility. However, you can also find editorial calendar templates and software online.

Step 2: Create separate windows for each language

If you’re using Google spreadsheet or Excel, it’s useful 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 tabs

Your blog editorial calendar should be tailored specifically to your content strategy, but here’s a list of tabs 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 be responsible for overseeing the entire editorial calendar and making sure all the processes and dates are being followed by team members. This person can also suggest changes as they see fit throughout the cycles. 

As you can see, 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 nitty gritty of the articles, but focused on organizing and maintaining the overall content strategy. 

Make room for change.

Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to swap in a timely piece 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 be regularly assessing 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