How To Build an Editorial Calendar
We’ve said it before: the secret weapon to growing your business is marketing. But today more than ever, marketing requires an engaged audience and a 360 customer experience. Staying consistent with your content is key.
But what is the best way to keep up in today’s tech-driven world, where audiences demand content 24/7 and are consuming a full hour more of content per day than they did last year? Staying on track with your content requires organization, productivity and solid project management. That’s where your editorial calendar comes in.
A CALENDAR THAT GETS THINGS DONE
An editorial calendar is used to define and manage your content creation process, from conception through publication. Although these calendars have long been used in newsrooms around the world, the rise of content marketing and the customer journey have quickly made this tool a fixture among savvy businesses. In one survey of business leaders, 69% said they use an editorial calendar to manage their content.
If you’re struggling to keep up with content development, or need to coordinate numerous parties involved in the content process, it’s time to develop an editorial calendar. Be sure to include details about how you want to streamline your workflow, including:
- Ideas, Drafts and Outlines: Make sure your team has easy access to these files through systems like Word, a Trello Card or Google Doc.
- Content Ownership: Who is responsible for each piece of content or channel? Ideally, you want to have an established owner, an editor and a person designated to determine final approval.
- Campaigns or Promotions: Decide what kind of promotional efforts are assigned for your content and who is responsible for it.
- Publishing: Who is going to make sure the content is published and what process is in place to make that happen?
TRAITS OF A PRODUCTIVE EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Not all editorial calendars are created equal. When you’re running a growing business, the editorial spreadsheets of yesteryear no longer cut it. Today, the best editorial calendars tap into these features to streamline workflow and boost productivity:
- Collaboration: This is an important function of any good workflow, and content development is no exception. New ideas and suggestions should be easily be shared to ensure the best rise to the top. And here’s an added bonus: any fixes that need to take place are better handled when everyone has access to the same content.
- Deadline tracking: In order to make forward progress, it’s a good idea to keep track of details like draft due dates, edit deadlines and publishing goals.
- Visualization: No one wants to scroll down a document of endless copy searching for the diamond in the rough. Instead, make your calendar visual. Decide what type of grid or layout is best for your team, and stick to it so that all your key team members learn the visual system quickly.
CHOOSE YOUR TYPE OF EDITORIAL CALENDAR
You recognize the need and understand the best practices. Now, it’s time to choose the tool best for your business’ needs. Here’s a breakdown of common types of editorial calendars that make content organization more productive for your business.
- Basic: In some cases, less really may be more. A simple layout like a Google Calendar could include content descriptions, publishing dates and links and info on who’s in charge of the content.
- Spreadsheet: This customizable layout gives you ways to track articles and metrics while keeping your publishing schedule on track.
- Kanban Board: It’s like a virtual cork board with columns to keep an eye on your editorial workflow from ideas to drafts to ready-to-be published content.
- Task Management: If you’ve got a lot of content producers involved in the process, this calendar allows you to create thorough checklists for each task.
Keep in mind, there is no one right way to organize content. Once you understand your team’s workflow needs, you’ll be ready to structure that all-important editorial calendar and keep your content on track—and your business productive.