An editorial calendar is quite simply a schedule of what you’re going to post and when. The calendar gives you an opportunity to plan out your editorial tasks ahead of time and figure out what to write about and when. Take for instance if you were running an entertainment blog, and were planning the editorial calendar in May you’d naturally want to write about major industry events like the Tony Awards in June and the Academy Awards. You’d also want to iron out what aspects of the events your website, magazine or blog will cover so that you’re not caught off guard days before the event.
Years of helping clients with their editorial calendars in addition to planning our own have given us some insight into how to optimize its use. Below are a couple of things we have picked up along the way that you should find helpful.
Consolidate all your calendars in one place
Using a whole bunch of different tools just to plan your editorial calendar is just asking for trouble. Take for instance many organizations that use a social media calendar (usually in Excel) for posting content, then a blogging schedule using an online calendar tool and website content calendar in excel. When you have this many calendars spread out across many tools things will get messy. So, the first place to start is to consolidate all your calendars. You can use one tool like CoSchedule which can help you do everything from planning social media posts to your next blog posts. Make sure everyone has an account with the tool and knows how to use it and boom! You’re in business.
Plan for all the key dates
It is important that your editorial calendar is all encompassing including ideas from across your company. So, make sure that the editorial team knows all the dates they need to like for upcoming products and marketing campaigns. The milestones should be recognized and adequately covered throughout your content.
Dates shouldn’t only be internally important but also generally important like a Valentine’s Day. You can have content that ties your marketing campaign with Valentine’s Day. Your editorial calendar can have a funny post about Pirates Day for instance. So, brainstorm and mark those dates way ahead of time.
Make sure to set up the calendar for a particular period
If you are a small or medium sized business i.e. around less than 30 employees then planning your content for the entire year is not a good idea. Plus, it’s too much work! Plan your editorial calendar perhaps a month or two in advance ideally when the company has some down time. Trends, news and other aspects of your industry may change, and that short-term planning will save you from having to rearrange and then reschedule everything.
Add dates for evergreen content
You don’t always need to include time-sensitive content as part of your editorial calendar. A good editorial calendar balances evergreen content with timely content. So, you’re offering both revisit value as well as updated information at the same time.
Use the editorial calendar to monitor and balance the material you’re putting out. When you see that there are gaps in the schedule or topic gaps in your content you can fill those in with evergreen posts.
An editorial calendar when done right can make lots of difference in your team’s productivity and the performance of your website or brand. All it takes is planning from the very beginning. If it requires seating all members of your team in one room to iron out all the kinks make sure that it’s done to finalize the editorial calendar for maximum effectiveness.