Planning and posting great content on a regular basis can be a struggle. Bloggers, publishers, marketing teams, and even large businesses all run into the same issue. When your content has become too much to handle, it may be time to make use of an editorial calendar. These kinds of calendars are a great way to organize all of your content in one place. They can also help teams with workflow and collaboration. In this article, we will learn how to create an editorial calendar. We will also talk about the benefits of using a blog content calendar. Lastly, we’ll look at some helpful tools and templates that can help you get started.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a visual workflow tool that is used to organize and track editorial content. This can help marketers to plan, publish, create, and promote content in an organized way. The type of content included in the calendar depends on the user’s individual needs. Editorial calendars are most often used by bloggers, writers, marketing teams, editors, and managers. Many professionals swear by using these types of calendars, as it promotes a consistent workflow. Some of the many other benefits include:
- Better organization and project delegation
- Content production planning
- Streamlined goals and content strategy
- Help keeping up with deadlines
How to Create an Editorial Calendar
#1: Decide Which Tools You Will Use
The first step is to decide which editorial calendar template or tool you will use. This will vary based on you (or your team) and each person’s individual work style. Many content managers use a combination of different tools. Test a few different tools and see what works best for your content strategy. There are lots of free options available online. However, if you want more advanced features, there are also a variety of paid tools. We will go into detail about these options later on.
#2: Determine Your Goals and Strategy
Next, you’ll want to outline the goals you want to accomplish with your content marketing strategy. Make a list of what you want to achieve and give yourself a timeline. If you are working with a team, you’ll also want to have a meeting to discuss group goals and expectations. Goals will vary by company, but some of the most common include:
- Improving brand awareness
- Increasing leads and conversions through a company website
- Improved SEO
#3: Create a Backlog of Content
After you determine your goals, you’ll want to create a content backlog. This is basically a list of content ideas that you can use to fill up your calendar later on. A list like this can be very helpful for a team, as it’s easy to view and keeps ideas organized. To create your list, you can use Google Sheets or Excel. Create your spreadsheet and start adding headlines. These can include things like:
- Assigned Author(s)
- Project Status
- Posting Date
#4: Create Your First Month’s Schedule
So many content creators wait until the last minute to produce their content. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and makes it difficult to be consistent. A very effective strategy is to plan out your content a month ahead. This is just enough time to keep your ideas fresh, while still maintaining a backlog of post-able content.
However, it’s good to keep in mind that your calendar needs to be planned out carefully. Many companies make the mistake of overloading the front end of their calendar. This can lead to a heavy workload and can reduce project follow-through. Keep your content evenly spaced out and allow yourself (or your team) enough time to complete each piece.
#5: Measure Your Strategy’s Success
As with any marketing strategy, it is a good idea to use analytics to measure the success of the content you publish. The metrics that you track will ultimately depend on your marketing goals. However, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a few things. Over time, you may find areas of your strategy that are not working as well. You might also find that the tools you use don’t fit your team’s work style. Make sure to check in with all team members regularly to see if your editorial process is a good fit.
Benefits of Using a Blog Content Calendar
Using an editorial calendar can help anyone keep their content organized. That being said, this tool can be especially helpful for managing a blog. The blogging landscape is growing very quickly. In fact, WordPress alone produces over 70 million blog posts per month! With all this competition, it is more important than ever to have organized, quality content ready to publish. Below are a few of the best benefits to using a blog content calendar.
Keeps You Organized
First, using a blog content calendar will help you to stay organized. A lot of bloggers will admit to keeping their ideas and unfinished pieces scattered in many different places. This disorganized approach can make blogging much harder than it needs to be. In comparison, a well-made content calendar will keep all of your future posts in order. In addition, you’ll be able to keep track of topics, images, and even extra links that you want to include in your posts later on!
It Shows What You Have Written About
As we mentioned earlier, keeping a content calendar stocked about a month ahead can be extremely helpful. One of the many benefits of doing this for your blog is that you’ll be able to see the topics you will be writing about. You can also look back at previous calendars to see what you have written about in the past. This will prevent you from doubling up on topics and help you keep your posts fresh and new. It may also help you find content holes in the blog posts you’ve been publishing.
It Helps You Optimize Your Marketing Plan
Many bloggers tend to overlook having a content marketing plan. However, this is a very important part of increasing your blog’s audience and reach. Creating a solid strategy can also help you to identify your blog’s niche, find your target audience, and define your brand. With a content calendar, you can track which posts are doing the best and use this information to your advantage. Then you can try to figure out why some posts are performing better than others. Also, you will be able to identify who these posts are reaching and target that audience with future posts.
Editorial Calendar Templates and Tools
There are many helpful tools for creating an editorial calendar. These range from downloadable templates to complete content calendar creator tools. There are plenty of free options available. If you want to take it a step further, there are also paid options with more advanced features. The tools that you use will depend on the format that you want your calendar to take. Some of the most popular calendar formats include:
Traditional Calendar and Calendar Apps
This first option is the most basic format. It involves using a regular calendar or a calendar app to input important dates. Although this is the simplest option, it does not provide much functionality. There is a lot more to content management than just publishing dates. Most bloggers and content managers will need more advanced features to keep on top of their schedules.
Spreadsheets are another fairly simple option for content calendar creation. The most popular options when it comes to spreadsheets are Google Sheets and Excel. These tools are both free, easily accessible, and are easy to learn. They can also be easily paired with many different calendar apps and other content management tools.
Kanban boards are a project management system that use the visual of moving cards through each stage of a project. They are a very popular tool for editorial management. This is because these kinds of boards can help to represent editorial workflow for a busy team. No matter how many people work on the project before it’s finalized, the steps can all be visualized on a Kanban board. Some of the most popular options for this kind of management system include Trello and Airtable.
Content Management Apps
This last option has become very popular as a result of the rise in social media marketing. These apps take the content calendar a step further and provide full content management tools. These apps have editorial calendar templates as well as analytics and other tools to keep content organized. This makes them the best option for teams with a high volume of content marketing. Some of the most popular platforms are CoSchedule, Contently, and Loomly.
Creating a Custom Content Calendar
Knowing how to create an editorial calendar is a great first step toward better content. Custom content calendars can also be a very helpful way for teams to stay organized. Planning ahead and keeping a schedule will also lead to a more effective marketing strategy. If you would like more help with creating quality content, you might consider using a content creation service. SEO Design Chicago’s content creation team is a great choice. Their experts can help streamline your marketing plan and create content that gets you noticed.
- What is an editorial calendar?
- How do I create an editorial calendar?
- What are the benefits of using a content calendar?
- Are editorial calendars good for bloggers?
- What is a Kanban board?