Running a social media marketing strategy is no small feat. A single post could have five layers behind the scenes before the “Publish” button was ever tapped. One tool marketers can use is a social media editorial calendar to help keep teams on the same page as the social media beast gets fed.

Using an editorial calendar not only keeps everyone on the same page, but it creates efficiencies, establishes accountability and helps keep an overall balance of content, creative and expectations. In case you missed the Special Interest Group The Hodges Partnership hosted this spring, here are three big takeaways from their session.

What are the basics of an editorial calendar?

There are few core basics that every social media editorial calendar should have. Those elements are:

  • Date
  • Post copy
  • URL
  • Hashtags
  • Tagging notes
  • Platforms
  • Creative

What are things you need to know when building editorial calendars?

Before building your first social media editorial calendar, you should establish guardrails. Here are some of the things you should define on the front end to help keep consistency from calendar to calendar:

  • Buckets – What are the core themes you want your content to fall in? Each post should have a dedicated bucket to fall into.
  • Length – How long is your calendar? Are you writing weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?
  • Deadlines + Approvers – Once you have length answered, you can back out to determine when you need to send the calendar to the person or people approving the content.
  • Internal Markers – Are there any specific highlights or colors that have meaning? For example, maybe a post in yellow means that’s a blog post and can’t be scheduled in advance.
  • Organization/Client Philosophy – Be on the same page as far as philosophy goes. Does a client care if the 4/18 post publishes on 4/18, or if it gets swapped with 4/22 is that OK? Do they need to know that before it happens?

What tools can be used for making editorial calendars?

This is the fun part, finding the tools to help get the job done. The number one thing to keep in mind is to find a tool that works for the team and STICK WITH IT. A tool or a system is no good if it’s not being used consistently and correctly. Here are just some of the tools mentioned in the Social Media SIG:

  • Google Sheets
  • Trello
  • com
  • On-platform Planning and Scheduling Tools
  • Brandwatch
  • Sprout Social

If Twitter were a roller coaster, it would have more ups and downs and twists and turns than Busch Garden’s Loch Ness Monster. It seems like every single day there is a new headline shedding a spotlight on the social media platform’s disastrous acquisition journey, which started earlier this year when Elon Musk made an offer to buy the company.

For AMA Richmond’s November SIG on social media, The Hodges Partnership decided to skip the previously promoted session on editorial planning and focus the conversation on one question: WTF is up with Twitter?!

Marketing minds from across Richmond came together to chat a little bit about what they’re doing, both professionally and personally. We had representatives from large corporations, agencies, smaller shops and independent practitioners. Here are five takeaways are group came up with.

  • Let’s not make any rush strategy shifts. Most of the group wasn’t running to the “Delete Profile” button and neither should you. Like any business shift of this magnitude, bumps in the road are to be expected. Our group was in the camp of let’s wait it out and see what happens before we make a call.
  • Pausing paid is the most widespread, immediate course of action. One immediate action many marketers are taking is pausing paid on Twitter, and maybe even going as far as to reallocating those dollars to other channels. The functionality of Twitter Ads has been lackluster for months, but now with increased brand safety concerns, this is another area where we’re pausing efforts.
  • Keep up organic posting if it makes sense, but don’t overly invest time. Some marketers talked about keeping up with just the bare minimum posting and putting more effort into other channels that seem like longer term plays. This is a good approach if you want to keep the platform alive while you’re waiting it out.
  • Take listening outside of your feed. With all the impersonations that happened with the ill-prepared Twitter Blue rollout, take your usual social listening beyond your profile. Look not only for impersonations but listen to your followers and trending topics. Are people finding information on other social media platforms? Let your followers be your guide.
  • Prepare to have conversations about reputation management and 2023 strategy. Given all the unknowns, we suggest planning ahead and preparing for conversations about reputation management (should something happen in the unstable environment we’re in now) and 2023. Perhaps starting the year off with a social media audit is a good way to find out whether or not Twitter is worth being on in the long term?

Knowing how fast this whole thing is moving, there is a good chance this post will be dated by the time it goes live, which – if we’re thinking optimistically – that’s a good way for us marketers to stay in a job. The trends are moving faster than we can write about them, and it’s up to us to stay on top of them and keep our brands safe and secure on social.

What did we miss?

Social media advertising isn’t going away any time soon, but a lot is changing – from Apple’s iOS 14 update to Facebook’s monopoly trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. Here are some of our big picture takeaways as you plan your social media advertising strategy this year.

Make the case for social media advertising
Imagine you’re driving on I-64, heading west for a quiet weekend in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and you see a billboard. That billboard gets thousands of impressions a day, but there is no control over who those impressions belong to. But through social media advertising, you can create dozens of billboards for a fraction of the cost, and you can dictate that only people between the ages of 25-45, with a college degree and an interest in dogs can see them. This is why you advertise on social media. Better control of your dollars, serving up your message to the people most likely to need your product or service.

Please, stop boosting.

I cringe when I hear clients say that they boost posts. Unless you have Facebook Business Manager set-up, boosting posts is about as effective as throwing a fifty in the air and hoping the right person finds it. Boosting a post means you take something you published organically and you add some ad dollars behind it to get it to a narrow audience. With Business Manager, you could do the same thing – pull an organic post into a pot of money – but you could also customize and tailor that post and serve it to custom audiences – for example, people who have interacted with a video you posted last week.

Social media advertising should align with the Buyer’s Journey.

It is marketing after all. When you go to create a campaign, you set a goal at the very beginning – whether its traffic, conversions or page likes. These goals fit in the Awareness, Consideration and Decision steps of the Buyer’s Journey, and once you select a goal, everything within that campaign should reflect where an individual is in the Buyer’s Journey – from the images you use, to the copy you write, to the call-to-action you pair with it all.

Content sponsored by The Hodges Partnership

For close to two decades, Hodges has been helping clients tell their stories and enhance their reputations, and along the way, we’ve developed a reputation of our own. We’re an agency that gets results. An agency where there are no surprises. A place that cares as much about your success as you do. Our counsel is honest, transparent and insightful, at least we like to think so. It’s one of the reasons our client relationships last so long.

The team here at Hodges knows media relations in Virginia. From the Eastern Shore to Bedford and beyond, there is a level of nuance and finesse needed to navigate the ins and outs of Virginia’s various media outlets, which differ in shape and size.

On the surface, media relations may seem like a lot of copy and pasting the same email without much rhyme or reason. But the reality is, there’s a significant amount of planning and strategizing before we click “Send.”

We surveyed the office to get some thoughts about everything from planning and timing to writing and sending those pitches.

Planning and List-Building

“Consume the news you’re pitching. This might sound elementary, but so many people miss the mark on this. If you can reference a recent story or a specific segment and highlight how your pitch honestly aligns with their coverage, it will go an extensive way with an assignment editor or reporter.” – Meg

“If it’s an area where you’re continually engaging the media, get a subscription. It’s a good way to have a better understanding of issues important to the local community while supporting local journalism.” – Cam

“Being sure you’ve done your homework and understand that some news outlets may be owned by the same property – potentially sharing the same staff. For example, the same editor may work for The Farmville Herald and the Mecklenburg paper, so don’t pitch the same person twice.” – Laura Elizabeth

“Don’t forget about radio! It’s what I call the original Twitter.” – Cam

“You don’t have to re-create the wheel every time you pitch, but I like to create a master media list, keep that one file updated with correct reporter information. Then, I save a new copy and tailor it for individual pitches. This helps me remember who I pitched for what, which is helpful with reporting, too.” – Casey


“In many of the smaller markets, Waynesboro for example (News Virginian), the papers need at least a week of lead time to ensure a reporter will make it out to an event.” – Evans

“Be aware of publishing schedules and deadlines. Knowing when papers go to print will help you better understand when reporters generally are reviewing pitches versus solely focused on getting their story finalized. With smaller staffs at newsrooms, it’s helpful to give teams plenty of notice.” – Meg

“Reaching out to the reporter you’ll be pitching to inquire how far out they work on stories also is a good way to make an introduction and get on their good side.” – Paulyn


“Make sure you have all the permissions and photo credit information with all images.” – Jon

“If you’re trying to promote an event or get coverage ahead of an event, it helps to have some photos or b-roll to send along in the pitch and follow ups to make it easier for outlets to tell the story visually.” – Aidan

“Share hi-res photos with a Dropbox link with photo credits. It’s rare that an online article will go up without a visual, and the images you send can help.” – Cam


“Adjust your pitch based on outlet type. When you’re reaching out to media, cover off on the basics – TVs are interested in visuals and often someone to interview live, whereas for print, high-res imagery might be more important. For all outlets, a human-interest element is key.” – Meg

“Email isn’t the only way to pitch. Sometimes Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can provide a natural opening for a pitch, if you see them posting something related. A word of caution though: ask before you launch into your pitch! A simple “Hey, this brings a story idea to mind that I’d love to share with you. Are you open to receiving a pitch via DM or email?” should work.” – Paulyn

“When I’m working on a media relations project that spans Virginia, I like to delegate markets/regions to the team. That allows everyone to dig in deep to really learn the market and its reporters and media.” – Casey

Media relations is as much an art as it is a science – particularly among Virginia’s various news outlets. If you need more insight than beyond what we’ve shared here, we’d love to help!