Whether you're running a company blog, local newspaper, or magazine, struggling to maintain a consistent publishing schedule, generate fresh ideas, and keep your team aligned on content strategy is a common blocker to truly optimizing the business value of your content. An editorial calendar solves many of these issues by setting your content strategy and streamlining your content workflow.
This step-by-step guide teaches you how to create an editorial calendar that enhances organization, ensures consistency, and improves collaboration among your content team.
Editorial calendars are essential for successful content strategy, providing organization and consistency while facilitating collaboration.
Creating an effective editorial calendar requires defining goals, choosing the right tools, developing a strategy, scheduling tasks, and monitoring progress.
Maximize benefits by prioritizing quality over quantity. Leveraging analytics for data-driven decisions. And encouraging team communication & feedback.
The Importance of Editorial Calendars in Content
Content in 2023 is getting increasingly competitive, meaning planning is pivotal to success. It can be considered more important than content production itself. It is for this reason that Editorial Calendars are crucial for content success.
As the backbone for your entire content management operation, editorial calendars help you and your content team plan, organize, and execute your editorial strategy, streamlining the drafting process and saving time for you to produce higher-quality content.
An organized approach to content production enables your team to create content faster. By providing a clear overview of your company's content and plan, calendars are instrumental in organizing content production, assigning duties, optimizing time, ensuring everyone is on the same page, and helping streamline content production and reduce time expenditure.
Spreadsheets, such as Google Sheets and Excel, are popular tools for creating an editorial calendar, allowing you to include information like article ideas, due dates, and assignments to those in your team. Utilizing such tools enhances organization and promotes a clear understanding of the content workflow among the entire team.
Consistency is essential as it aids in establishing credibility, reputation, and brand identity. A consistent flow of content helps build trust with your readers and keeps them engaged.
An editorial calendar enforces responsibility for you and your team to produce content regularly and maintains a high standard, reinforcing your authority and trustworthiness.
By outlining the content that needs to be created, when it needs to be drafted, and who is responsible for creating it, a full content calendar helps maintain a consistent publishing schedule. This, in turn, ensures that your content is aligned with your content strategy and objectives, leading to better results and a stronger brand presence.
Collaboration plays a significant role in the content creation process. The more diverse perspectives and ideas your team can bring, the more creative and engaging your content creation team will be.
Calendars facilitate team collaboration, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
By providing a clear overview of the upcoming content pipeline and assigning tasks to team members, an editorial calendar helps streamline workflows and improve communication. This leads to more efficient content production and better results for your content.
Steps to Create Your Editorial Calendar
Now that we've established the importance of editorial calendars in content let's explore the steps to create your editorial calendar. These steps include defining content goals, choosing the suitable calendar interface and tools, developing a content strategy, scheduling and assigning tasks, monitoring progress, and adapting.
Following these steps, you can create an editorial calendar tailored to your content needs, ensuring that your efforts to produce content are organized, consistent, and collaborative.
Let's dive into each step and learn how to create the perfect editorial calendar for your content success.
Define Your Content Goals
Before creating content for your calendar, it's crucial to define your content goals. Content goals ensure that the right direction of your content is aligned with your overall marketing strategy and objectives, leading to better results for your content.
Identify your target readers and research their needs and preferences to define your content goals. Then conduct a content audit to assess your existing content and identify any gaps that need to be filled. Lastly, set clear, measurable, and achievable goals for your content, using the SMART goals approach as a guideline.
Choose the Right Tools
Choosing the right tools for creating your editorial calendar is essential for ensuring that your content planning process is efficient and effective. When selecting the appropriate editorial calendar tools, factors include your budget, team size, and content type.
Popular editorial calendar creation tools include Google Docs, Excel, Trello, Airtable, Asana, and HubSpot. Each tool offers features such as data sorting, filtering, and formatting, which can facilitate the organization of content ideas, assignment and content ideation of tasks, and progress tracking.
Consider your team's specific needs and preferences when selecting the right tools, and don't be afraid to experiment with different options until you find the best fit.
Develop a Content Strategy
With your content goals defined and the right tools in place, it's time to develop a content strategy for your editorial calendar. A well-crafted content strategy and editorial calendar ensure that your content aligns with your objectives and resonates with your target audience.
Begin by brainstorming the high-level topics you want to create articles around. These are your content pillars.
Afterwards, brainstorm article ideas, select the most relevant and engaging ones for your audience, and categorize them under your content pillars.
Finally, spread out these topics over publish time in a content plan, accounting for keyword research, content gaps, and seasonality (e.g., any upcoming events or holidays) to ensure a diverse and timely content mix.
Schedule and Assign Tasks
Scheduling and assigning tasks are crucial in creating an effective editorial calendar. This ensures that content is produced in an organized and timely manner and that team members are aware of their responsibilities and deadlines.
Project management tools like Trello and Asana can be beneficial for scheduling and assigning tasks, as they offer features like boards, descriptions, checklists, labels, due dates, attachments, and more.
Utilizing these tools allows you to keep track of your upcoming content pipeline, monitor progress, and adapt your content plan as needed to ensure smooth and efficient content production.
Monitor Progress and Adapt
Monitoring progress and adapting your editorial calendar is essential for ensuring your content efforts are effective and aligned with your marketing objectives. By continuously evaluating your content's performance and making necessary adjustments, you can improve engagement and better meet the needs of your audience.
To monitor progress on content backlog and make data-driven decisions, collect and analyze data on organic traffic and key performance indicators such as views, clicks, and shares. Use this information to identify trends, understand how much content resonates with your audience, and make informed decisions on future content production.
Review and update your editorial calendar to align the exact dates of your publishing dates with your current objectives and priorities.
Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of Your Editorial Calendar
In this section, we'll share some tips to help you maximize the benefits of your editorial calendar. By prioritizing quality over quantity, leveraging analytics for data-driven decisions, and encouraging team communication and feedback, you can ensure your content is as effective as possible.
Let's explore these tips to help you maximize your editorial calendar and achieve content success.
Firstly, Prioritize Quality over Quantity
Modern publishers must focus on content quality over volume. This is as prioritizing quality over quantity ensures every idea in your content is well-researched, well-written, and thus engaging for your audience.
Well-researched content provides value to your readers and helps establish your brand's credibility and reputation. By focusing on quality keyword research, you'll be able to engage your audience better, generate leads, enhance your brand image, and achieve higher search engine rankings.
Secondly, Leverage Analytics for Data-Driven Decisions
Utilizing analytics for data-driven decisions is essential for ensuring the effectiveness of your content efforts. By monitoring key performance indicators such as views, clicks, and shares, you can gain valuable insights into what types of content and how much content resonates with your audience, enabling you to make informed decisions on future content production.
Leveraging analytics can also help you identify trends and patterns in your content's performance, allowing you to make strategic adjustments to your editorial calendar and content plan. This data-driven approach will enable you to optimize your efforts and achieve better results.
Finally, Encourage Team Communication and Feedback
Fostering open communication and feedback among your content marketing team is crucial for ensuring the success of your efforts. Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives allows you to tap into your content marketing team's diverse knowledge and expertise to create more engaging and compelling content.
Encourage regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and digital discussions to facilitate collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Additionally, provide opportunities for team members to give and receive feedback on their work, helping identify improvement and growth areas.
Editorial Calendar Templates and Examples
This section explores other editorial calendar software with free templates and examples, including spreadsheets, project management tools, and calendars. Each type offers different features and benefits, so choosing the one that best suits your content needs is essential.
Whether you're just starting a content idea or looking to improve your editorial calendar, these free templates and examples can provide a solid foundation for your content planning process.
Spreadsheets: Excel and Google Sheets
Thanks to their flexibility and ease of use, spreadsheets are famous for creating editorial calendars. Excel and Google Sheets offer robust features to help you organize your content ideas, assign tasks, and monitor progress.
To create an editorial calendar using a spreadsheet, create a new sheet with columns for content titles, due dates, team member assignments, and other relevant information. You can then use the spreadsheet's built-in features, such as data sorting, filtering, and formatting, to manage your content plan and keep your team on track.
Project Management Tools: Trello, Asana, and Storipress
Project management tools like Trello and Asana or dedicated content workflow tools like Storipress are also excellent options for creating editorial content calendars. These tools offer features such as boards, task lists, and the ability to add descriptions, checklists, labels, due dates, and attachments to tasks.
Using Trello or Storipress for your editorial calendar, you can create a more visual representation of your upcoming content pipeline, making it easier for your team to see what tasks are assigned and when they are due. These tools also facilitate collaboration and communication among team members, helping streamline the content creation process.
Calendar Apps: Google Calendar and Outlook
Apps like Google Calendar and Outlook can create editorial calendars for social media posts. These apps provide a graphical display of tasks and due dates, making it easy for your team to see what content is scheduled for publication and when.
To create an editorial calendar using a calendar app, create a new calendar for publication and add events for each blog post you plan to publish. Include relevant information for content managers, such as content titles, assignments to team members, and due dates, in the event descriptions.
Additionally, businesses can integrate these apps with Trello and Asana for seamless planning and management. While familiar and flexible, standard calendar apps are often more manual, resulting in unnecessary editorial friction.
In conclusion, an editorial calendar is a powerful tool for enhancing your efforts. Following the steps and tips outlined in this blog post, you can create a comprehensive and practical editorial calendar that boosts organization, ensures consistency, and fosters collaboration among your content team.
Remember to prioritize quality over quantity, leverage analytics for data-driven decisions, and encourage open communication and feedback among team members. With a well-crafted editorial calendar, you'll be well on your way to achieving content success in 2023 and beyond.
Does setting all this up sound unnecessarily complicated? Well, it doesn't have to be.
Storipress is suitable for content teams of all shapes and sizes, from digital marketing teams to traditional newsrooms, and combines powerful content strategy tools like an editorial and content calendar, a content Kanban board, and a collaborative editor to bring your entire content team into a powerful platform. On top of this, Storipress also automates social distribution by connecting to all your social accounts allowing you to draft social posts for your content as you write. Additionally, Storipress enables you to harness the power of A.I. within your article workflow, with OpenAI article writing natively built into the editor.
Designed to be beautifully simple yet surprisingly configurable and powerful, Storipress scales from the tiniest solo publishers to the biggest content teams and newspapers.
With Storipress, assembling your content stack doesn't have to be a scary task.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is an essential tool publishers, businesses, and bloggers use to plan content production, promotion, and publication across various platforms. It serves as a visual workflow, allowing users to keep track of authors, types of content and distribution channels, and deadlines for publication.
What are the three components of the editorial calendar?
An effective editorial calendar should include planning, scheduling, and monitoring. This helps create a cohesive plan to ensure timely and relevant content that connects with your target readers.
Remembering these three components, you can also effectively manage your editorial calendar.
What is the difference between an editorial and a content calendar?
A content calendar is concerned with scheduling content and timing, whereas editorial calendars provide a blueprint for delivering purposeful and strategic messaging.
How is an editorial calendar used?
An editorial calendar is a powerful tool that helps publishers, businesses, and bloggers plan article creation and publication dates. It allows users to visualize their publishing workflow and track content types, authors, publish dates, and promotional channels.
By providing structure and organization, it ensures consistency in the production of content.
What does an editorial calendar include?
An editorial calendar typically includes dates for planned content initiatives and posts, content topics and types, authors, and other relevant details that will help an organization create meaningful content aligned with its goals. This includes setting a schedule for publishing content to coincide with the overarching editorial theme and specifics such as content status as article links, videos, or blog and social media posts for each of their multiple channels.
Organizations can use an editorial calendar to ensure their content is timely, relevant, and consistent. It also helps them plan and create content aligned with their content strategy. This can help them maximize the impact of their content and reach their audience.