Editorial calendars aren’t just for glossy magazines. These valuable tools are helpful for marketers everywhere, especially those who regularly produce blog posts, articles, white papers, press releases, and other forms of content.
Editorial calendar tools
The easiest and cheapest way to create an editorial calendar is to use a spreadsheet in Google docs, which can be shared and edited with collaborators in real time. But you’re limited to just listing pieces of data such as content title, description, due date, and the author. Not to mention, how often do people really look at their Google docs?
Several paid editorial calendar tools offer better functionality. At esd & associates, we use DivvyHQ, an affordable tool that allows you to assign, schedule and submit content with anyone on your team.
DivvyHQ allows us to maintain a separate calendar for each client, which you can view in calendar or list form. Each calendar entry functions like a blog post, allowing you to write unlimited descriptions and include attachments, giving you and your team as much detail as needed about the content piece.
You can also categorize each assignment by content type, such as blog post, white paper and press release, allowing you to later sort by type.
Why should you use an editorial calendar?
1) Planning ahead
Not planning ahead and always scrambling to get work out the door at the last minute creates a stressful work environment. Pning your content in advance in an editorial calendar means you’ll be less stressed. You’ll always know what’s coming down the chute.
Meet with your team on a weekly or monthly basis to brainstorm and develop your content calendar. Once you come up with your blog post ideas and topics for other content, have someone take responsibility for posting the assignments in the editorial calendar. Everyone will feel relaxed knowing there’s a central place where they can view the upcoming content plan.
2) Staying organized
When was that white paper supposed to be ready again? Who was supposed to write that blog post about SEO? You no longer have to worry about these types of questions, because an editorial calendar helps you stay meticulously organized about what content is on the horizon, when it’s due, and who owns it.
Every entry in your calendar should state the author, the due date, the type of content, and any other key details.
A true editorial calendar tool like DivvyHQ makes it easier for teams to work together. For example, if the public relations team adds all of their upcoming press releases to the calendar, then the social media team will always be abreast of breaking news they can post about. If editors can see when blog posts will be due, they’ll know when they’ll need to set aside time to proofread. Your whole team can see the calendar and know what to expect.
With DivvyHQ, you can also give assignments to your team, who will be notified of the assignment. Then, the assignee can submit the completed content back to the editor all within the program. This helps avoid massive threads of emails and keeps everyone accountable.
The hardest part of using an editorial calendar is remembering to keep it updated. It takes time to get used to it and will feel tedious at first, but once you get used to having the benefits of planning, organization and collaboration, you’ll never go back to flying by the seat of your pants.
Written by Emily Crone
After being a writer and editor for several leading online publications the past eight years, Emily Crone is managing the social media, content strategy and copywriting efforts for national and Texas-based clients. Her writing portfolio includes BedandBreakfast.com, HomeAway.com, About.com and CreditCards.com, as well as Texas Monthly and Tribeza magazines.