You Need an Editorial CalendarBy Angelina Burkholder
Do you ever find yourself leaving the office and remember in a rush of panic that you forgot, yet again, to finish writing your blog post? You are not alone.
Whether it’s updating your organization’s social media, sending out marketing emails, setting up a new workflow, or beginning a campaign, staying on top of the content shuffle can be hard. More times than not, because we all wear so many hats, ideas get lost, deadlines are missed, and content goes unwritten or unpublished.
Cue the hero arriving on the scene. Say hello to the editorial calendar.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Start out small. Try to publish two to four blog posts a month, followed by two emails recapping those blog posts. Aim for updated social media four times a week, and finish off your editorial calendar with one premium content piece/download every three months. Map it out on a calendar and follow those items up with deadlines for writing, editing, graphics, and publishing.
Bonus: Color—coordinate all those items. For example, blue for all blog writing and publishing deadlines, red for all email writing and sending dates, etc. Your eye will quickly get used to the colors and their meanings and know instantly what’s on the plate every day when you walk into the office. It just doesn’t get easier than that.
Instead of just having this wonderful calendar buried somewhere in your laptop notes or scattered throughout another online organizational software, print it out. Tack it up somewhere where you’ll see it every day to remind yourself of the deadlines.
But here’s where you need to take an extra step: share the calendar with your co-workers. If you don’t have a content team, ask someone near you to hold you accountable for those deadlines. If it’s just you, the ticking clock and the growing list of to-do items, you won’t ever get to the deadlines (especially if content strategy is not a high priority endeavor in the organization). Knowing that someone else is aware of the deadlines and will be knocking down your door if dates aren’t met helps to give a little extra boost of (friendly!) motivation to finish items out.
This is our favorite perk that editorial calendars provide. Last minute items always get added to the already unbearable to-do list, and sometimes (unfortunately) it happens every day. We get it. You can’t plan for that. But you CAN plan around other standardized tasks that you know are coming up. Having an editorial calendar also alerts the rest of your team as to when you will be busy writing, editing, posting, and publishing.
If you never have those items on your schedule, then no one will ever know the time they are stealing from your schedule by demanding your skills for other tasks. Communicate well and often so that your co-workers are looped into the content process.
An editorial calendar cannot just live on a post-it note at your desk. It can NOT. At the very least, print out an empty calendar from a simple google search and fill it in by hand.
If using anything other than a keyboard seems too menial a task, check to see if your internal organizational software (like Basecamp) already has tools you can utilize to create a makeshift editorial calendar. Here at The A Group, we use the productivity calendar within Hubspot’s CRM, and we love it! If you don’t have anything existing that you can build off of, check out some of our other favorite affordable options:
Trello: It works as a content map with the ability to add multiple users and track all of your progress in real time! Starts at $25/month.
Content DJ: With the ability to optimize content for social platforms, Content DJ is the perfect tool for the content strategy that favors social media. Starts at $29/month per user.
Some other ones to consider include Divvy HQ and CoSchedule.
Friends, organization is right at your fingertips, and it’s begging to be utilized. And the bottom line is: your content shouldn't rule you—you should rule your content.