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Editorial Calendars: The Project Manager of Content Strategy

Here you are: you’ve done a content audit, you’ve developed a voice and tone, and you’ve posted the best content on your site. But when it comes to a successful content strategy, your work has just begun.

editorial calendar

Ensuring that your content is fresh and relevant is as important as every other step of your digital strategy. How can you make sure that you are posting new content on a regular basis and keeping your team accountable for creating this content? An editorial calendar is the answer to your content scheduling woes. Keeping everyone accountable and helping to schedule the right content for the right time is key to staying relevant and up-to-date. As you begin to carve out your editorial calendar, here are some thoughts on the two most common questions that arise.

What do I need to include in my editorial calendar?

  • Dates: a field with the date the content will be due is requisite, but you can also include dates that content is due to the editor, or when the editor will provide final comments.
  • Basic content information: the category, topic, headline, and author of the content.
  • Channels: determine where your content is going to be published on your site and/or social media channels. If you are keeping your calendar in a spreadsheet, you may choose to create separate tabs for each type of content.
  • Format: is it copy, video, visuals, something else, or a combination of things?
  • Content owner: decide who is in charge of making sure the content is ready for publishing; this could be the editor or subject-matter expert.
  • Status: where the content is in the publishing process: not started, being edited, complete, etc.
  • Keywords: the list doesn’t have to be long, but this helps with SEO and making sure that your content is easier to find via search engines.
  • Calls to action: what do you want the audience to do once they’ve read the content?

What should I keep in mind as I create content?

  • Audience needs: you should always be cognizant for whom you are creating content. Ask yourself what your target audiences might want, what you want them to do with it, and how it is helping you reach your organization’s goals and objectives. These considerations will help you determine where, when, and how often you publish content. Take it one step further and think about how you can be a unique player in your subject area. What might you be able to provide that like-minded organizations do not? 
  • Content resources: being practical will also be important whilst creating an editorial calendar. Take into account the staff and digital resources at your disposal. You can create a great editorial calendar with the right content at the right time, but if there is no one to help you implement it, that will cause some serious issues with effectiveness and success.

A successful content strategy has many working parts and an editorial calendar will help you keep them all in order. Appoint one person as the central point of contact to make sure that the calendar is updated on a regular basis. If this isn’t possible (or even if it is!), it might also be useful to schedule a recurring planning meeting to discuss new content to add to the calendar and update what’s there.

Looking for examples or don’t know exactly where to start? WordPress has its own editorial calendar plugin and GatherContent is a great tool for keeping track of content in a central place where everyone can access and edit. You can also find simple Excel templates at Vertical Measures and the Content Marketing Institute.

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