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 – DivvyHQ is quite straight forward to use and the free version is perfect if you are a 1 person blogger. There are some minor usability issues and currently there is no integration with WordPress. Ideally you should be able to write the content and then publish directly to blogging platforms such as WordPress. I believe that this is currently being worked on.
2. Content creation help and editorial software using Relaborate
Relaborate is pitched as a content marketing solution to help you manage and create content and as part of this their is an editorial calendar.
Pricing – The free edition allows you to create up to 5 posts, and then pricing ranges from $29 to $299 per month + Enterprise pricing. After you publish a post you can delete one and then add on another!
When you want to create a post you can start writing or you can answer a series of questions that help you produce content for the post. The questions are pre-defined by Relaborate and are based on the type of content you are creating.
This is quite useful, particularly for people that are not used to writing. This gets over the BPS (Blank Page Syndrome – I made that up!).
When you are preparing your content there is material, people or sites that you may want to reference. This is catered for in the widget that is displayed to the right of the content.
Your queue – add in relevant links that are good reference material for the content
Trending – Perform a search on keywords to see what is trending in relation to this topic. This may give you good ideas of content to link out to or reference.
Influencers – Search for influencers based on the keywords you enter. These could be good people to reference in your content.
You can have multiple team members contribute to the content.
When you create the content you can automatically publish it to WordPress, Moveable Type or Tumblr
Summary – Relaborate is still at beta phase so there is some functionality that is not fully complete yet (e.g. view trending topics/influencers) but it does look promising and I can see it being very useful in an environment where you have a group of people that need to create content but don’t have much experience in this area. Tools such as this that make you more productive with content creation will save you a lot of time and money.
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!