How to create an editorial calendar for your blog
Without a blog editorial calendar in place you will find it very hard to deliver regular, varied content that is relevant to the needs of your audience. You will also have difficulties selling your products or services as you need to plan out the content to sync up with your product launch, sales etc.
Have you got an editorial calendar planned out for the next few months? Do you know what you are going to write about? Do you know what help is required to deliver all the content?
Here is a guy that has been blogging for years and was finding it difficult every day to work out what to write. When we told him about the editorial calendar software he was quite upset about it!!!
We have a list of tools that you can use and each will give you some ideas and encouragement for creating an editorial calendar.
1. Get started with Divvhq
Pricing: Free for 1 User and then pricing from $29.99 per month up to $149.99 + more for a custom solution.
I tested out DivvyHQ on the free license and this has sufficient functionality for one user.
Creating content to add to your calendar is very straight forward. Enter in title, description and then some additional details such as the calendar you want it to appear on, type of content, status and who owns the content.
The status is related to the stage the content is at. It could be in the parking lot where you just have an idea or it could be in production, under review, under revision, approved, published or killed.
When you create your content you can view a list of the content in a calendar view or a list view. On the list below you are looking at content that is ready for launch. You can see on the left of this menu option there is an option to view ‘Parking lot’ This is a list of content ideas that are not ready or written yet.
- Master calendar with aggregation of other calendars into one
- Filter calendars by type of calendar, person, etc.
- Drag and drop content items on a calendar
- Workflow and team management
- Email integration so you get informed when content is due
Summary – (Updated on July 2014) – Since writing this article Divvhq has implemented an alternative version with a different user interface. You can still use the existing user interface but over time everyone will migrate to the new interface. It’s a good platform and some nice features with a starting price of $25 per user.
2. Coschedule – Editorial Calendar and Social Media Posting
Coschedule is a relatively new edition to the selection of editorial calendars that are available but it’s a really good edition.
As well as allowing you to manage your full editorial calendar it also has a facility for setting up scheduled sharing for your blog posts across multiple social media channels which is pretty cool.
Here’s the editorial calendar which allows you to drag and drop items as you require.
- Calendar with full drag and drop facilities
- Task management so you can assign tasks to different team members
- Ability to schedule out posts related to the blog on social media
- It’s a standalone app so you can use it with or without WordPress
The price is $10 per month with unlimited users which is extremely reasonable considering the functionality available.
Summary – Coschedule is a well designed cost effective tool well worth checking out.
3. BetaOut – Editorial Project Management
BetaOut is much more comprehensive in terms of functionality and is really designed for a companies that have a team of writers. If you had a very large team of writers you could easily use this software.
In BetaOut you have a concept of a Newsroom and a Workbench. Your newsroom is something your editor would look at to get an overall view of what content is being worked on, what needs to be assigned out, status on work, etc. The workbench is where your writers write the content.
This is typically how the process works:
In the Newsroom you create a new assignment (an article). You have 3 choices:
- New Assignment (via workflow and desks) – This is an article you are going to assign to one of your writers to write.
- Self Published Assignment – This is an article you will write yourself
- Bulk Assignments (via workflow & desks) – You can import a batch of assignments.
I selected the option to create a new assignment via (workflow and desks). I select the default template for that assignment and any guidelines. For the default template we have just a basic outline of what we include in every article so this is displayed below.
You then specify details such as the date the writer needs to complete the article by, scheduled publish date, etc.
When the article is assigned the writer can see it within their ‘workbench’. This shows them an article is ready for them to write.
When this article is passed back to the Editor they can review it, send it back or publish it.
The article could be sent back for further revisions or published. All articles can be rated as well so you can track who is publishing great content.
There is a broad range of functionality included within BetaOut. As well as what we listed above there is also:
- Create custom workflows for content approval
- Management of payments and invoicing for contractors
- Email notification of assignments and udpates
- Reporting facility to monitor progress/status
Summary – BetaOut is really designed for bigger teams and would be a solution to consider if you have to manage a team of writers delivering content to you. The reviews of the WordPress plugin were not great so I’d love to hear from BetaOut to see if they resolved the issues. I was nervous installing it because of the ratings.
Note: See comment from the team at BetaOut which outlines that the poor reviews from WordPress are not legitimate, so please test this out before you make a decision, we will also test out also!
There are a range of other content management systems out there for blog posts and we’d love to hear from you if you have experience using them.
If you want a really basic system you could use a Google Calendar for Editorial. This is how it would look:
Another option is using Edit flow which is a WordPress plugin that helps with editorial. Before adding on this calendar to WordPress I’d love to hear people’s experience of it.
We also looked at Kapost which starts at $1200 per month. We’d love to hear from Kapost about what it provides that supports this price.
Over to you, we’d love to host a discussion about this. Do you use an editorial calendar? Do you develop blog editorial calendar software? Let us hear your wonderful thoughts!