How to Create and Manage your Editorial Calendar
Having a content calendar in place helps your entire team save time and be on-point with their content-related actions throughout an entire year. From the SEO team to the digital marketing strategist, everyone will have a clear idea of what should be published next.
The ideal outcome is to have a good, well-set editorial calendar to follow whenever content needs to be published, regardless of the channel you want to publish it on.
This can be done on a Google Sheet or Trello board.
Below is a list of reasons why you should be having an editorial calendar.
1. Keeps you organized and on track
2. Excellent for brainstorming
3. Helps maintaining consistency
4. Helps keep your audience engaged
5. Crucial for staying in the know
6. Provides visibility across departments
7. Helps plan your social media marketing
8. Keep track of your performance.
Having established the need to have one, below is a step-by-step guide on how to create and manage an editorial calendar.
Creating and Managing the Content Calendar
Open the Editorial Calendar Spreadsheet and make a copy of it in your own Drive folder.
Fill in the Brainstorming sheet.
Our recommendation is to fill it in with as many ideas at once. Your entire team can have access to this spreadsheet, especially if they’re familiar with your brand, your business goals, and your target audience personas.
To fill in the brainstorming sheet, enter your ideas in the “Concept” column.
Once an idea is approved in the Brainstorming sheet, it should be copied in the Daily Sheet and filled in according to the instructions described at our next step in this SOP.
The “Scheduled?” column should be filled in when you move an idea from Brainstorming to Daily. Enter “Yes” or “No” here.
The “Publish Date” should also be filled when you move an idea from Brainstorming to Daily, with the date you have scheduled the article for.
3. Fill in the Daily View sheet with the best ideas in the Brainstorming sheet. To do this, follow these rules for each of the columns:
a. Publish Date. Add here a date you want your content to be published.
b. Due Date. Set this at least two days earlier than the Publish Date. Doing this will give you flexibility in case any of the elements are still a Work in Progress (e.g: the article is ready, but you are waiting on the design team to finish up the graphics).
c. Author. Self-explanatory.
d. Topic/Title. Again, self-explanatory.
e. Content/Details. Enter here a very short brief of what you want from this particular piece of content.
f. Channel. It can be your blog, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn account, etc.
g. Keywords. If it applies, enter here the keywords you are targeting in this particular piece of content.
h. Target Personas. Enter here the target persona you will have in mind when creating this piece of content.
i. Offer/CTA. Chances are, a large portion of your content will be created to support marketing offers and deals your business is putting out. Use this column in the spreadsheet to add the offer/CTA links you will use in the respective piece of content.
Managing the Content Creation Process
Simply creating an editorial calendar wouldn’t help much if you didn’t manage the content creation process in a way that allows you to actually stick to your schedule.
Thankfully, this is fairly easy to do - especially with a project management tool. For the purpose of the examples given in this SOP, we used Trello (as it is one of the most popular, affordable, and accessible tools of the kind). However, feel free to use whatever suits you and your team the most.
Here are the steps you should take to manage the content creation process in Trello:
Log in to your Trello account.
Copy the Editorial Calendar Template board we have created for you. You can find it here: https://trello.com/b/4QuYicyP
To copy the board go to “Show Menu” → “More” → “Copy Board” → Enter your board name (e.g. “Editorial Calendar 2018”) → “Create”
3. Start adding cards to each of the boards, according to your editorial calendar and the
tasks that need to be accomplished.
To add a card in any of the columns click on “Add Card” at the bottom of any of the cards in that specific column.
b. To assign a task to a team member, click on the card → Members → Select or enter the name of the person in charge with this task.
c. Assign labels to each of the cards in the “To Do’ column. Your labels can be about anything - from the length of the content piece (e.g. long-form article labelled with red and short blog posts labelled with green).
For the purpose of this example, we have assigned cards according to the type of content/ the channel they will be published on (e.g. article blog post with red, social media with blue, email with white, guest post with yellow, and so on).
To add a label, click on the card’s name → Label.
To add a label’s name, click on the small pencil icon next you’ll find next to each color and enter your label’s name (e.g. “Guest Post”).
d. Trello will also allow you to leave comments on each of the cards, for your team members to see. To do this, click on the card and add your comment in the adequate box, then click the “X” of the pop-up window.
e. You can also add a due date for your team members to know when to submit the content. To do this, click on the card → Due Date. Once you’ve entered your due date, don’t forget to tick it at the top of the card as well.
4. Move the cards around according to the evolution of the content creation process.
To move a task from one stage to another, simply drag and drop it in the adequate column.
To Do. Add here all the topics for the pieces of content in your “Daily View” sheet.
WIP. This is where your team members will move each of the tasks when they start working on them.
In Review. Once the content is ready, it will be passed on for review (to your editor, or even to yourself). When this happens, the card should also be moved into the “In Review” column.
Published. Self-explanatory - all pieces of content that are published will be moved in this column.
Not Doing. Move here the “To Do” cards you had a change of heart on, for whatever reason (you can add the reason in the comments as well).
Following the steps and tips described in this SOP will bring a lot more organization into your life, so that you can focus on really creating world-class content. It may take some time to create the editorial calendar and manage the content creation process, but everything will be worth it!
If you need help with your editorial calendar, DigitalxMarketing is more than glad to assist you. DigitalxMarketing provides Digital Strategy, Digital Services, Training and Education to Business Owners, Executives and Marketers. As a DigitalMarketer Partner, we provide the World's leading digital marketing training and up-to-date tools & resources.