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What is an Editorial Calendar and Do I Need One?

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Editorial calendar. Content planner. Publishing schedule. 

This tool goes by a lot of names. But the same is true of all of them: they all help you plan your content ahead of time so you build consistency and trust with your readers. 

Why Do I Need an Editorial Calendar?

Helping yourself stay sane is the first reason to use an editorial calendar. Knowing you have to post a piece of content (blog, social media etc.) but don’t know where to start is a terrible feeling. 

That’s where an Editorial Calendar can help. 

You can get a better picture of what your audience is seeing online by planning as little as a month ahead of time. You can also make sure you post something topical before the date. For example, if you run a cooking blog and want to capitalize on holiday-themed recipes, plan to post them at least a week ahead so people have time to share them! 

Planning also helps you build a long-term vision for your content, which in turn helps you get excited about creating it! There are few things as intimidating as a blank page, so having a topic (at least) in mind, gives you somewhere to start. 

Then once you’ve made your calendar, schedule the post and forget it. No more sloppy, rushed work because you gave yourself the time and motivation to get it done early. 

Content planners also help you organize what supporting content you need, like stock photos, graphics, SEO keywords, or social media posts.

How Do I Make an Editorial Calendar?

This part is a little less straightforward because everyone has a different preference for how they make their calendar. It requires a bit of experimentation to figure out what will fit you and your team (if you have one). 

I’m a person who likes first-hand accounts, so I’ll tell you my process: 

I used to use a program called Asana when I was juggling multiple clients because it’s a deadline-based platform. 

Then as I  moved on from working with clients to working on my own projects, I used Airtable because it allowed me to filter views based on things like deadlines or publications. However, the Free version changed a lot in the last year and wasn’t as user-friendly for my purposes anymore. 

So now I’m back to a simple calendar that I fill in with Draft Dates and Publication Dates. Then I simply schedule my posts when the draft is done. 

I tell you all of that so you can see that you don’t have to commit to one way of working forever, and you don’t have to pay anything to find something that works for you… but it does take a little bit of experimentation. 

(NOTE: If I find that I’m overwhelmed and need something more interactive to hit my deadlines, Trello is an awesome tool for everything from Editorial Calendars to planning a party.)

How Do I Know Which Tool to Use?

Ask yourself these three questions when choosing a platform to try:

  • How many people are using it? 
  • What’s your goal?
  • Simple or robust?

There are countless blogs about this topic if you want to learn more, but since my goal of this site is to maximize the value of your time, I’m going to keep these blogs short and to-the-point. 

If you’d like an editorial calendar template to get started, click here

 

Here are some more resources you might like as well:

Editorial Calendar Tools and Templates

The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use an Editorial Calendar

Content Marketing 101: Developing An Editorial Calendar

 

If you find other tools for editorial calendars that you love, please share them in the comments! I’m always looking for ways to be more productive.