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 difficulty selling your products or services, because 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 who 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!!
Why use an editorial calendar?
I often listen to Ann Handley (as well as being an awesome writer she’s also the best marketing keynote in the world) about writing and the importance of an editorial calendar and she convinced me to use one.
With an editorial calendar, you can plan your blog posts, and your social media content, weeks or months in advance.
I often listen to Ann Handley about writing and the importance of an editorial calendar and
This makes sure that you have an interesting mix of content – we can’t write about the same tool week after week or you’d all get bored! With the editorial calendar, we can make sure that we cover a mixture of tools for a mixture of networks.
It makes the content varied and interesting.
You can do the same with your blog, whatever your industry or niche.
When you plan in advance, and look at your whole calendar for the weeks ahead, you will plan more effectively.
You will also make sure that you don’t run out of ideas…
… you know those days when you know you need a write a post but you can’t think of a single topic?
That won’t ever happen again, if you keep your editorial calendar updated ahead of time.
When you start planning your ideas, you can get inspired. It’s often easier to come up with ten ideas in one go than ten ideas individually when you’re on a deadline!
Editorial calendar planning tools
Some people use a big piece of paper and a pen, but thankfully there are lots more high-tech ways of planning your blog content in advance.
In this post, we are going to look at three key tools that you might want to consider for your editorial calendar.
Read through the points below for some ideas about these tools, and then tell us which looks like your ultimate editorial calendar tool.
1. Get started with DivvyHQ
Pricing: Prices for DivvyHQ start at $25 a month and go up to $195 per user per month.
Creating calendars and adding content to them is very straightforward in DivvyHQ. This is a very focused tool that lets users create a number of editorial calendars, allocate users to them, and set different roles for different users.
To start, you click ‘Add new’ in the top right-hand corner, then choose ‘calendar’.
You can customize the way your calendar looks and add team members.
You can set the color scheme under ‘General Settings’…
… and you add team members and set their roles under ‘Team Members’ on the left-hand side.
You can also pre-select from a range of content options by clicking on Content Types.
The pre-set content types are on the left of the screen. If something is missing, you can add it in the center of the screen. As you add and remove content types, your final list is displayed on the right-hand side.
DivvyHQ uses different statuses, to show what stage of any piece of content’s journey.
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, approved, published etc.
This helps a lot with planning so you don’t get overwhelmed!
When you create your content, you can view a list of the content in a calendar view or a list view. You can create as many calendars as you need, add users for specific tasks, and more.
- 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 a good platform and has some nice features, with a starting price of $25 per user.
2. CoSchedule – Editorial Calendar and Social Media Posting
CoSchedule is a really good option for creating and managing an editorial calendar.
As well as allowing you to manage your full calendar, it also has a facility for setting up scheduled sharing for your blog posts across multiple social media channels, and sharing old blog posts too, which is pretty cool.
Here’s the editorial calendar, which allows you to drag and drop items as you require.
And here’s how it works…
When you have created your account, CoSchedule gives you the option to connect a WordPress blog with your calendar.
Next, CoSchedule directs you to install their WordPress plugin.
You will need to connect this to your CoSchedule account to get started.
When that is all set up, it’s time to schedule some posts.
To schedule a post, go to the CoSchedule calendar in WordPress and hover your mouse over the day the post is planned for.
You will see a pencil icon show up in the top-right of that day’s square. Click this.
You can choose whether to create a new blog post, a new social message, new content, an event, a note or a task.
We will choose a blog post.
Enter a title for the post (you can change this later). Then, this screen will pop up.
As you can see, there are lots of options at this stage for planning your post.
You can choose which category it will be published under, who will write it, and the time and date it is scheduled for.
Next, you can connect social profiles to be ready to share the post out.
You can connect Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Buffer accounts.
You can also set a series of tasks that need to be completed and add comments as a reminder to yourself, or for other members of your team.
Finish by ticking the check mark in the top right-hand corner. You can edit these entries at any point.
You can also move them around your calendar by dragging and dropping them. This makes it really easy to rearrange posts!
There are other categories in the CoSchedule menu on the left of your screen.
- My Activity shows you your top posts, in terms of social shares, and displays your upcoming, scheduled posts.
- Top Posts gives you more details of the social shares you got for each post, including a breakdown by social network. It also lets you share these posts to your social channels.
- My Team lets you add new team members and manage the team you have.
- Settings is where you manage the details of your CoSchedule editorial calendar. Everything from your timezone to the color of your calendar, as well as your social profiles and integrations (you can integrate CoSchedule with Evernote, Bitly, Google Analytics, Google Calendar and more) and WordPress permissions.
- Need Help? gives you access to a searchable database of questions and answers, and has a button to send a message to the CoSchedule team.
- Open in Web App lets you manage your calendar via the CoSchedule website rather than on your WordPress site.
One feature that’s especially handy is that you can plan out all your social media postings for every blog post before you publish the post. This saves so much time, and gets everything done in one go.
- 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.
Pricing: The price is $17 per month for bloggers, going up through different plans to $299 per month at an enterprise level.
Summary: CoSchedule is a well-designed tool that is well worth checking out.
3. Using Google Calendar as an Editorial Calendar
Another interesting way to manage an editorial calendar is to use a tool that you might already be very familiar with – Google Calendar.
It’s a surprisingly useful solution. You can:
- invite other team members
- add, edit and move blog post plans
- add regular, scheduled posts to remind you of when your planned posts are due
- use color coding to see, at a glance, the status of your planned posts
- get email notifications.
So, let’s start from the beginning.
Log into Google Calendar (if you don’t use it but you already have a Gmail address or Google+ account, you can go straight in).
On the left of the screen, click the downward arrow next to ‘My Calendars’ and click ‘Create new calendar’.
You will see this screen:
At the bottom, enter the email addresses of your editorial team so that everybody has access to the calendar.
Fill in the rest of the form, then click ‘Create Calendar’.
You will be taken to your calendar.
If you already use Google Calendar, you might want to uncheck the names of any other calendars you have.
This means only your editorial calendar will be on show, which makes it easier to see what is going on!
Now, you need to add some posts to your calendar.
You do this in the same way as you add an event.
Click on the day the post will be published on and this form will appear:
In ‘What’, write the time the blog post will be published and the title of the post.
Make sure the calendar that is selected is your Editorial Calendar.
Click ‘Create event’.
Next, you need to customize it.
- Click on the event in your calendar and click ‘Edit event’.
- You will be taken to a new screen where you can fill in details of what the post will be about, under ‘Description’.
- As this is a post that has not yet been written, choose a color that will represent planned, unwritten posts. Click this color in ‘Event color’ towards the bottom.
- ‘Invite’ the person who is due to write the post on the right of the screen.
- If you want to set up email or pop-up notifications for this post, select ‘Add a notification’.
Your post is now planned.
Another thing you can do to help with your blog post planning in Google Calendar is to set up recurring events.
These will show up weekly, daily, or on specific days, depending on the settings you choose.
This is a great way to prompt yourself to keep to your schedule!
- Create a new event as above.
- Next, click to edit the event and click ‘Repeat’ underneath the event’s time and date at the top of the screen.
- Choose how frequently you want to blog.
- Click ‘Done’.
Now you have blank blog posts, ready to fill in each week.
Give these a different color code to your planned posts. Choose another color for posts that are ready to publish. Stick to this color code!
When you want to add post ideas, edit the repeating event and fill in the details for the post you want to write, just like we described above.
When you save the event, you will see this menu:
Make sure you click ‘Only this event’, so that the blog post you have planned out won’t appear every week for the foreseeable future!
As you make progress, your editorial calendar will start to take shape.
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!
Image courtesy of Shutterstock