How to Create an Editorial or Content Calendar From Scratch
Tips for creating a custom content or social media editorial calendar
Managing content can sometimes prove to be challenging. For those who are getting started with editorial management, or are looking for a better way of organizing their content, there are many questions, such as:
- How will I keep my content organized?
- How will I know what type of content to post?
- Is there a way of staying on top of the game as far as content posting is concerned?
This is where an editorial or content calendar comes in.
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a real calendar that outlines a detailed framework showing when your valuable content is scheduled for posting throughout the year.
It is a vital tool that you can use to develop the foundation for your content. This makes it easy and gives you a starting point for planning your content. It also eliminates time-wasting when it comes to deciding what content to post and when.
A good editorial calendar should be able to categorize or classify content and clearly indicate the timelines for the pending material. Try to think of an editorial calendar as a blueprint for your content creation and publishing.
An editorial calendar can be used both for website copy or social media content. The goal is to ensure you always have quality and reliable content for posting throughout the year.
Does your business need an editorial calendar?
Although anyone can create or use it, an editorial calendar is more important for individuals or businesses who are serious about digital marketing.
For example, take a marketing manager in a medium-sized company. The manager oversees a team that’s responsible for handling all social media platforms, events, traditional marketing and content creation.
However, the team has a problem with being organized. The social media platforms of the company sometimes go for a week without any posts. As much as the marketing manager tries to organize things, their daily workload doesn’t allow it.
What the marketing manager needs is a tool to stay organized—an editorial or content calendar.
Other than making the life of the marketing manager easier, the editorial calendar will also bring value to the marketing team by serving as an effective communication and planning tool.
This means that any person in the marketing team is able to check the calendar at any time of the month or week and see what’s supposed to be posted. The calendar will give you and your team an opportunity to see gaps in advance and develop proper content for the perfect time.
What’s the difference between an editorial vs. content calendar?
Many people often confuse between content and editorial calendar. Although they sound similar, both of them are used for different purposes.
An editorial calendar is a tool mainly used for planning all content activities. It takes the available content and determines how that should be used.
On the other hand, a content calendar comprises instructions on the day-to-day management of content.
|Online editorial calendar tools|
Smartsheet free marketing calendar templates in Google, Excel, and Word formats – Pick and choose from a list of free downloadable calendar templates.
Google sheets – Just like using Excel! Works quite well for everyone ranging from individuals or a small team.
CoSchedule – Long time favorite for content marketers, it integrates with Google Calendar as well as WordPress, email providers, and social media platforms, etc.
Loomly – a heavyweight contender in the digital editorial calendar, Loomly offers various features that makes collaborating with your writers and scheduling content a breeze.
Sprout Social – an all-in-one social media platform. A free trial allows you to take a peek at powerful features first-hand.
How to create an editorial calendar
Creating an editorial calendar from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult, but it takes time and dedication to develop something that will incorporate all aspects of your business.
Here are 4 questions that should guide you in creating an editorial calendar:
1. How should my editorial calendar look?
Just like a content calendar, an editorial calendar resembles an actual calendar. There are different ways you can design your calendar. You can also check a number of templates from the internet.
However, every calendar should have important elements such as content theme, month, day, platform, among others. You can make your calendar to be as simple as an excel sheet and as complex as a paid software.
It is highly recommended that you arrange your editorial calendar using posting platforms, color-coding themes, months and important dates.
There is no single strategy or technique for creating an editorial calendar. You should be guided by the needs of your team and business as a whole. The editorial calendar will also give your team autonomy as far as creating and posting content is concerned.
2. What elements should be included in the editorial calendar?
There is certain information that must be included in your editorial calendar for it to be valuable to your team.
Below are some of the elements that you should consider to include in the editorial calendar:
- Topics/themes and sub-topics
- Important dates, seasons, events
- Distribution channels such as social media platform, blogs and others
- Posting cadence (e.g. monthly, weekly and daily)
Additionally, the calendar can also be made to include content owners—assigning every team member tasks for creating content.
3. How often should the editorial calendar be used and updated?
There’s no particular time to start creating your editorial calendar. However, starting to prepare it at the beginning of the year will give your team ample time to come up with a strong content strategy. At the same time, allow room for flexibility.
4. How do I choose which editorial calendar to use?
The type of editorial calendar will depend on the size of your business or company. If your company is big and requires posting content every week, then you will need a robust tool. An excel spreadsheet will be enough if you aren’t publishing content frequently.
If you’d like assistance in strengthening your digital marketing, reach out to our team at Brown Bag Marketing today. We’ll work with you to come up with a strong strategy that will lead to the success of your business.