What Is an Editorial Calendar? Your Content Blueprint

Picture of Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

what is an editorial calendar

Picture this: You’ve got a killer idea for your blog, and you’re eager to share it with the world. But as the weeks roll by, that one great post gets lost in a sea of content without direction or purpose. This is where understanding what is an editorial calendar can be a game-changer.

An editorial calendar isn’t just about keeping dates straight; it’s your roadmap to delivering great content consistently. It lets you plan out topics, manage contributors, and track what goes live when – all key moves if staying relevant is on your agenda.

In the coming sections, we’ll dive into how to weave your brand stories, your social media posts, and your entire content marketing strategy into your editorial calendar. With these insights, you’re set not just to create but also to dominate with strategy and style.

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Table Of Contents:

What is an Editorial Calendar?

An editorial calendar is your content’s crystal ball.

It helps you peer into the future of your blog posts and social media content, letting you plan out great stories that resonate with your audience.

This isn’t just a fancy to-do list; it’s a strategic tool that lays out what will be published, when, and where.

Here’s an example of what an editorial calendar looks like:

A well-crafted editorial calendar allows marketing teams to visualize content over time.

You’ll see keyword topics, team assignments, and publishing dates, ensuring no piece falls through the cracks.

You get more than reminders — you’re getting an eagle-eye view of how different pieces interlock to tell your brand story across multiple channels consistently every month.

How a Content Calendar Helps Your Business

The effectiveness of your marketing plan largely depends on the quality and relevance of the content you publish. If your content is not cohesive or fails to align with your specific goals and marketing strategy, it won’t contribute efficiently towards achieving overall business growth.

An editorial calendar can help identify gaps in your content strategy while saving time through effective planning. It allows for a thorough evaluation of each piece of published material – whether a blog post seems out-of-place, if social media posts are merely building awareness or pushing new campaigns, or if this month’s theme aligns with what you’re trying to achieve.

Editorial calendars are highly versatile — you can plan a variety of content such as blog posts, lead magnets, case studies, videos, and social media posts.

Diving into content creation without a plan? That’s like steering a ship without a compass. But bring an editorial calendar aboard? Here’s what an editorial calendar template can do for you:

  • Your team can track who is doing what — and when — with ease. Every team member knows their part in creating fresh content or repurposing old ones on both blogs and social platforms.
  • Promotional channels won’t look like afterthoughts since they are baked right into planning stages along with other key details about each piece, from target audience insights to custom fields for unique data points relevant only to you.
  • Beyond keeping things orderly, these calendars serve as repositories for all those creative bursts — housing everything from thematic ideas down to specific calls to action — all organized so beautifully that even Marie Kondo would approve.

If you’re already a Content at Scale subscriber, you get a free content calendar right inside the app! Start planning with free calendar templates to kickstart this process smoothly.

Components and Structure of Editorial Calendars

An editorial calendar is like the master plan for your content universe. It helps you organize not just what you’ll publish, but also when and where it will go live.

A typical editorial calendar should include:

  • Title: This is the headline or title of your content piece. It should be catchy and SEO-friendly.
  • Type of Content: Is it a blog post? A video? An infographic? Specify what type of content you will be creating.
  • Publish Date: When do you intend to publish this piece?
  • Status: Keep track of where each piece is at in its production process — idea stage, draft written, edited, etc.

Beyond these basic components, there are additional features that can make your editorial calendar even more effective. These might include:

  • Keywords: This allows you to focus on optimizing for specific search terms with every piece.
  • Distribution Channels: List down all platforms (social media channels, email newsletters) where each post will be shared after publishing.

No matter how detailed or simple your editorial calendar is, the most important thing is that it works for you and your team. It should serve as a roadmap to guide your content marketing efforts toward success.

Variety in Content Types

Diversity is key in a solid editorial calendar. You’ve got blog posts that tell your brand story, social media posts that engage on a personal level, and email blasts to keep everyone in the loop. Then there’s video content that can show off products or explain complex ideas with ease.

A well-structured calendar doesn’t just list these; it visualizes them so teams coordinate smoothly. And let’s be real – nobody wants their content themes clashing like stripes on plaid. The right mix keeps things fresh and audiences coming back for more.

Monitoring Publication Success

Once your content goes live, you need to track how well it performs online. Tracking mechanisms come into play here: they’re not just bells and whistles; they’re critical components if you want to know whether people are listening (or buying).

Keep an eye out for which types of content strike gold with your audience. This ensures quality over quantity every time.

Remember: A well-planned editorial calendar can make all the difference in achieving consistent and high-quality output, leading to better engagement with your audience and ultimately driving business growth.

Free Templates and Tools for Editorial Planning

Finding the right tools can turn editorial planning from a headache into a breeze.

If you’re looking for free editorial calendar templates, Google Calendar and Google Sheets are your best options here.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar offers more than just scheduling appointments or reminders; it can also be used as an editorial calendar for planning and tracking your content creation process.

There are several reasons why you might want to consider using Google Calendar as your go-to editorial planner:

  • User-friendly interface: Its intuitive design makes it easy even for beginners to navigate through the platform.
  • Easily accessible from anywhere: Being cloud-based means you can access your schedule from any device with an internet connection.
  • Cross-functional collaboration: You can share calendars with team members, making collaborative work on projects easier.
  • Synchronization: All updates made in the calendar reflect in real-time across all devices connected to the account.

To start setting up your editorial schedule on Google Calendar:

  1. Create a new dedicated “Editorial” calendar under “My Calendars”. This helps keep everything related to content separate from other events or meetings.
  2. Add tasks such as brainstorming sessions, writing deadlines, and publishing dates into their respective days and timeslots. Make sure each task has its unique color code for easy identification.

When used properly, Google Calendar can be a powerful tool for managing your content strategy. It’s free, flexible, and offers numerous features that make planning and collaboration easier.

Google Sheets

You can use Google Sheets as a calendar spreadsheet. It’s user-friendly and accessible from the cloud. The platform allows you to quickly create, update, or review your content schedule whether you’re at the office or on the go.

Google Sheets also enables multiple users to view and edit the document simultaneously in real time. This feature makes it easy for teams to collaborate effectively on their content marketing strategies.

You can also customize Google Sheets to fit your specific needs by creating tabs for different types of content (blog posts, social media updates), authors, keywords, and publication dates which will help streamline your workflow.

To start setting up your editorial schedule on Google Sheets:

  1. Create a new sheet titled “Editorial Calendar”. In this sheet create columns for Date, Content Type, Title, Author, Keywords, and Status, depending on what information you want to track.
  2. Add all upcoming pieces of content into their respective rows under these headings.
  3. Use color-coding to keep track of progress; green could indicate published pieces while yellow might be used for those still in progress.
  4. Avoid clutter by creating separate sheets for different months or quarters within the same document.
  5. Share your Google Sheet with all team members involved in content creation and ask them to update their progress regularly.

Google Sheets is an effective tool for organizing and tracking your content marketing strategy. It’s free, flexible, and fosters collaboration — making it an excellent tool for businesses of all sizes.

Crafting Your Editorial Strategy

Your editorial strategy is the backbone of your content creation — it’s what helps you tell your brand story in a way that resonates with both search engines and human hearts.

It starts with knowing who you’re talking to, getting into their shoes, and mapping out content that turns strangers into followers, and browsers into buyers.

To carve out a spot for yourself in the bustling digital marketplace, first pinpoint what sets you apart — your Content Differentiation Factor. This is your North Star guiding every piece of content from ideation to publication.

You need a compelling narrative for each blog post. A good brand story isn’t just fluff; it has substance because it stems from genuine experience which gives life to great content.

Collaborating With Team Members and Assigning Tasks

A successful editorial strategy hinges on teamwork where every team member plays their part seamlessly. Collaboration tools are vital here — they let everyone chime in at just the right time.

Visualizing Content Across Multiple Channels

Picturing how different pieces fit together across various promotional channels helps keep messaging consistent while letting creativity flow — you’re planning but not stifling innovation.

Social media posts should align with blog topics so when someone hops from Twitter to your latest article, they land on familiar ground yet still feel intrigued enough to stick around — and maybe even click ‘subscribe’.

Maintaining Quality While Meeting Publish Dates

Create an outline for each piece of content ahead of time — a skeleton ready for muscle (the details) and skin (the creative flair).

Tie publish dates back to big events or product launches; this anchors them in reality rather than having them float aimlessly about.

Dig deep during editing rounds — not just grammar checks but also asking if this really serves our audience.

Tips on How to Create Quality Content Consistently

Create once, publish everywhere — that’s our mantra here at Content Hacker.

Crafting quality content means thinking beyond today or tomorrow — it involves looking ahead for months or years.

You want your brand story echoed across all channels, which could mean drafting several versions tailored per platform while maintaining core messaging integrity.

Social media isn’t just a piece of the content puzzle; it’s the frame that can hold everything together. When you sync your editorial calendar with your social media strategy, magic happens. You create a unified voice across platforms and turn casual browsers into loyal fans.

Your editorial calendar is like mission control for content — it tells you what to publish and when. Add social media posts to this mix, and suddenly you’re not just planning — you’re orchestrating an online presence that works hard for your brand.

To avoid sounding repetitive, space out similar messages across different days or weeks using a well-structured editorial calendar. This keeps followers engaged without overwhelming them with déjà vu vibes from their feeds.

If all these tasks sound daunting, remember project management tools are there to help teams coordinate seamlessly.

Using these strategies will transform how you plan content, giving every tweet its moment in the spotlight alongside traditional blog posts.

Elevate Your Content Game With Editorial Calendars

An editorial calendar is an indispensable tool for businesses and content creators, offering a structured approach to content planning, organization, and execution. With a well-laid plan, teams can achieve greater consistency, improved collaboration, and enhanced strategic alignment.

Ready to revolutionize your content creation process? Start by integrating an editorial calendar into your workflow today. Whether you’re a solo blogger, part of a dynamic team, or managing a brand’s online presence, the benefits are undeniable.

Take the first step toward content excellence and elevate your strategy with the power of an editorial calendar. Your audience and brand will thank you for the cohesive and compelling content that follows.

It’s time to build your blog empire.

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