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Content Strategy Knowledge Base

How topic planning and strategic storytelling can help your communication. Credit: Scompler
How topic planning and strategic storytelling can help your communication. Credit: Scompler
Linda Schwarz

Storyteller & Content Strategist

Sandra Arta Kanaška

Tell me how much you care! The art of editorial and topic planning

Originally published: 1 March 2022
Last updated: 7 March 2023

Read time: 7 minutes

A lot of companies want to sell their products and make profits. They are bombarding customers with special deals and ads. What some of them forget is: People don’t buy a product because you tell them, they buy a product if you show them its purpose and create an emotional connection. Storytelling is the key to successful content marketing. And that is where editorial and topic planning comes into play.

Editorial and topic planning is crucial for a successful content strategy. Content strategists can use the Strategic Content Marketing (“SCOM”) framework to plan strategic storytelling and reach their content marketing goals.

More and more buyers these days seek meaning in their consumption behavior. They want to understand a company's values and learn about its mission before they trust it. Trust can be gained by clear, transparent and coherent communication - and by shared beliefs and purposes. But how can a company or brand find out what their values and mission are? The main question they have to ask themselves is: What do we care about?

There are content experts that help companies to answer exactly this question and teach them how they can get their message across while generating conversions or profit. One of them is Mirko Lange: lecturer at FH JOANNEUM and a renowned strategy consultant for content and content marketing.

He is the founder and CEO of Scompler, a strategic editorial planning tool with more than 25,000 registered users and around 200 corporate clients. In his course “Editorial and topic planning” Mirko Lange teaches the students how to develop a content strategy for a company using the SCOM-method and how to communicate best using editorial processes and topic planning tools. His approach covers three main principles: being better, together(ness), simplicity.

Strategy and content expert Mirko Lange. Credit: Scompler

Strategy and content expert Mirko Lange. Credit: Scompler

Quality over quantity - the principle of being better

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about it”, Theodore Roosevelt, quoted by Mirko Lange in one of his classes. The care story is the core story of every company. Why are we doing all of this? Why are we creating this product and why are we selling it? Companies need to find out what their core story is and then spread the word.

To get your message out there, you need to have a coherent content strategy, a strategic topic and content plan. Tell the one core message in many different ways and create not only value but also conversion. Establish a connection between the issues and explain how the company solves them. The purpose is not to create more content, but better content. Quality over quantity. And that’s why the first of the three SCOM-method principles is: do and be better.

How can we do that? “If you are not able to create a story which is relevant to your audience, if you use the wrong channel or format, you will not be successful”, Mirko Lange said. With the SCOM-method you can unite and professionalize all processes of communication and marketing according to a uniform methodology. Show the relevance with a personalized story and create stories for different personas and their needs. Tell the story in many different formats and distribute your content on various channels. Finally, analyze and evaluate it.

Working as a team - the principle of togetherness

As the saying "teamwork makes the dream work" implies, recognizing and determining the team roles are essential in content management and production. The second principle of successful content management within the organization is together. Whether it's an e-commerce store selling beauty products, SaaS products, or career coach services - a clear structure and defined roles facilitate a smooth content management process.

During the lectures, Mirko Lange introduced the students to the newsroom model, which is placed at the core of content production. The newsroom model hierarchy consists of three elements: strategy team, topic managers, and channel managers.

A strategic team is responsible for developing a core story and vision around the content, including the topics and channels. Usually, the strategic plan and framework are updated on an annual basis.

Topic managers are working with the story daily. That means every story has an assigned topic manager who is responsible for the content substance, research, fact collection, and sharing know-how internally and externally, as do other departments. There can be more than one topic manager within the organization, collecting and developing stories across different disciplines like social media, media relations, and the list goes on!

“The newsroom is not defined as an editorial process per se, but it helps teams to have a strategic approach in content management”

– Mirko Lange

Last but not least, the channel managers are assigned to the content production and distribution, thus also for aligning the content to dedicated channels based on the needs and objectives set for the content. Parallelly, channel managers can advise cross-functional teams on strategic and topic planning, which supports continued engagement and business growth.

Connecting the dots - the principle of simplicity

The last element of successful content management is simplicity. It allows cross-functional teams to operate easily, transparently, and without any friction. To enable that, the lecturer introduced a practical and simple solution managing the content in real-time to the students: Scompler, a software playing the role of the content command center.

During the interactive classes, Mirko Lange granted students the opportunity to take a deep dive into the software with a practical exercise: Choose an organization to work with, and experience content management in real-time. The industries the students chose ranged from governmental institutions to beauty influencers. The exercise provided students with a 360-degree overview on how editorial processes work across different areas of business.

In the first step, students created the core story and developed the strategy. What followed was content planning and determining the content types that fit the selected organization's goals and strategy. Then, student teams divided their roles (strategists, topic managers, and channel managers) and assigned content management and production tasks depending on the functions given. The practical approach allowed students to put themselves in a content strategist's shoes, seeing how strategic content and topic planning works.

“Nowadays nobody needs more content, but everybody needs precise, planned and strategic content.”

– Mirko Lange

To conclude, the editorial and topic planning class teaches a valuable lesson: In this oversaturated world, businesses don't need more content, but they need valuable content, meaningful connections and personal dialogue with the users. This way, they are orienting their story to the core needs of the 21st-century consumer. Understanding, listening, planning and executing are core elements of content strategy.

Tools, such as Scompler can be a handy and simple instrument in the strategic content topic planning and execution process, producing meaningful content and allowing brands to connect with the users on a personal level.

Where to go from here

If you want to choose high quality content instead of quantity and want to share your story, you are in a good mindset to implement the SCOM-method by Mirko Lange. Its universal and hands-on approach is suitable for various disciplines. Once you have your strategy in place and defined clear roles and processes behind your core story, the users will be more than happy to listen to you.

To test if the method is right for you, we suggest trying the free version of scompler.com and dive in right away.


Lange, M. (2015, March 10). Strategisches Content Marketing—Ein Framework zur Strategieentwicklung. Content Marketing Conference. https://www.slideshare.net/talkabout/150215-die-methode

This article is a student-written report on a part of the course "Editorial and topic planning" in the winter semester of 2021 of the M.A. programme in Content Strategy. It has been authorized by the instructor Mirko Lange.

This article was updated by Carina Israel, Dora Kramser and Xaver Lindlbauer.