How to create an editorial calendar that rocks

What is an editorial calendar?

An editorial calendar is like the agenda of a content team: a document that reflects what content will be published and when. It can also answer questions like where it will be published, how it will be promoted, and what its purpose is.

Before creating your editorial calendar

How long will your editorial calendar last?

What goals will your editorial calendar have?

What kind of content are you going to produce?

30 elements to include in your editorial calendar

  1. Title/topic/idea: If you have a title, albeit a provisional one, include it. If you don’t, don’t worry. An idea will do. (eg. Article on how to solve problem X.)
  2. Date: The day or week you plan to publish the content.
  3. Content type: The type of content to be produced. Eg. blog post, downloadable content for lead generation, landing page, etc.
  4. Description: Describe in two or three sentences what the content is about. If you have a clear idea, include details like the different sections of the content.
  5. Angle: What is the piece’s value proposition? What unique point of view will the content be tackled from? How will it differ from your competitors’ content? These questions help to define the value and angle of your content.
  6. Pillar or support content: If you work with topic clusters, adding this element to your editorial calendar will help you quickly visualise whether the content to be produced is a pillar page or a supporting page.
  7. Category: If you’re producing blog posts, specify which category it falls under. This may also be relevant for other content such as help centre articles or FAQs.
  8. Publishing platform: This refers to where the content will originally be published, be it your blog, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Slideshare, etc.
  9. Business goal: What are you trying to achieve with the content? Eg. generate organic traffic, educate your readers about a product, improve the relationship with customers, nurture the relationship with prospects and leads.
  10. User objective/user story: Ask yourself why you’re writing the content, not from a business vantage point but from your readers’ perspective. In other words, how this content aims to help them.
  11. Target audience/buyer persona: If your business works with several buyer personas, the easiest way would be to include the name of the buyer persona the content is targeted at. You may also add a short description. Eg. business manager with under three years of experience.
  12. Stage of funnel/buyer’s journey: This depends on the terminology you are comfortable with, whether it’s the sales funnel (TOFU, BOFU, MOFU) or the consumer’s purchase journey (discovery, consideration, decision). The idea is to identify the stage the reader is in.
  13. Idea by: Who came up with the content idea? This is especially important when you have employees from other departments contributing ideas to your editorial calendar.
  14. Author/editor: Who will produce the content or coordinate the piece, in the event that there are multiple content creators involved.
  15. Public author: The person who will sign off on the content publicly. This may or may not be the actual author of the piece. For example, an opinion piece may be created by a content marketer but signed by the CEO.
  16. Distribution channel: Content with no visibility is a waste of time and resources. Right off the bat, think about what distribution channels you can use to amplify your content’s reach. Eg. social media, email campaigns, etc.
  17. Repurposing: Once it has been created, what other formats and types can the content converted to or used for?
  18. Action (creation, updates, optimisations): Specify whether it is content created from scratch or existing content that needs to be optimised and/or updated.
  19. Comments: Allow for comments about the content idea. Eg. where the idea came from, aspects to consider, sensitivities, related ideas, etc.
  20. Links or examples: If the idea was inspired by existing content or needs to reference other content.
  21. Resources: Links, internal documents, people to contact, etc. List the resource needed to create the contact.
  22. Supporting visuals: Any visuals like graphics, original images, infographics, videos, etc. that support the content.
  23. Target keyword: Whenever the objective (main or secondary) is to generate organic traffic, include the keyword for which the content should rank for.
  24. Search volume of the main keyword: It is very useful to include the monthly search volume of the target keyword as a reference. This also helps with understanding its ranking potential.
  25. URL of the main competitor: The URL of the content that’s currently ranking top for the target keyword
  26. Secondary keywords: If there are relevant secondary keywords, include them in the editorial calendar. You may also want to include a link to another document (eg. SEO strategy) or to your keyword search tool report.
  27. Progress: Has the content been created? Is it pending review? Choose from various statuses like to do, WIP, draft, published. This provides those with access to the calendar full visibility of the content creation process.
  28. Editor/who to review: The person in charge of reviewing and/or editing the content before it’s published.
  29. Others involved: If there are others involved in the content creation process, whether they are from the marketing team itself or if they’re freelancers or content agencies. E.g. designer, SEO specialist, salesperson, product team, etc. This is important for large content projects that go beyond the typical blog article.
  30. CTAs: Any call to action. For example, if it is an article about a product launch, include a link to the product landing page. If the article is related to an existing guide or ebook, the CTA would be a banner promoting the downloadable content.

Editorial calendar templates and examples

Editorial calendar templates in Trello

Pros of using Trello for your editorial calendar

  • It is a flexible model that allows you to make adjustments as needed without having to delete, rewrite, copy, or paste as you would otherwise have to in Excel or Google Sheets.
  • They better reflect the present, past and future situation of the content marketing operational cycle.
  • You can choose to be notified when there are major changes.
  • It’s cleaner and more visually attractive.

Editorial calendar templates in Excel or Google Sheets

Pros of using Excel or Google Sheets for your content calendar

  • Anyone can understand a content calendar created on a spreadsheet easily. Project management tools may be easy to use, but there are team members that aren’t familiar with it, there may be some reluctance.
  • Its results are usually simpler. In an editorial calendar created in Excel or Google Sheets, you will most likely only include the basic and necessary information.
  • Organising your calendar in tabs allows you to have different editorial calendars for different types of content in the same document or include relevant information that you can keep separate from the editorial calendar itself.

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