Years ago, one of my editors liked to say, “Plan your work and work your plan.” Back then it only applied to a print deadline. Now that we’ve got multiple media platforms to manage planning your work pays off even more.

Here’s Why:

1. Time is on your side: Every business is impacted to a certain degree by the calendar. If you’re staring at a blank screen at Thanksgiving planning content for a Christmas holiday sales campaign it’s probably too late. Design your communications posting schedule in a way that realistically dovetails with marketing goals. Set deadlines to generate better outcomes.

2. Post consistently: A publication plan helps companies create content on a more regular schedule. Whether it’s social media or blogs, big gaps between posts or binge posting make engagement with your clients challenging. Outline topics that need to be covered and set deadlines in the publication schedule. Keep in mind that these aren’t carved in stone. If there’s a new development in your industry or a better topic comes up be sure to run with it.

3. Better content, better results: Working ahead helps prevent the type of content that’s posted just for the sake of getting something out there (I know you’ve seen those). Structured plans should include specifics on editorial content, photos/videos and graphics.

Once you’ve completed a year with a solid posting schedule, the foundation for future strategy is in place. Review what clicked in terms of sales, new leads, customer engagement and other measurables. Adjust and fine-tune the plan so it becomes a template you can put to work every year.