By now, you have heard all about the amazing benefits that blogging can bring to your business and you are ready to start utilizing blogging. After you have developed your content strategy, it is time to start turning that strategy into action. One of the best ways to do this is to create an editorial calendar for yourself and/or your blogging team.
What Will An Editorial Calendar Help Me With?
An editorial calendar should be designed to help you stay on top of your blogging schedule. You can think of it as a sort of “to-do” list, you will list out all of the blog posts that you want to write so that you can have a clear idea of what needs to be done.
The point of using an editorial calendar over a standard to-do list is that you can include more information about your post that is useful and will help you stay on target. Some basic items that you will want to list out in your editorial calendar are: a working title for the blog post, who is responsible for writing it, the date it will go live, what site it is for (depending on if you do guest blogging or not), a call to action, any useful links for the article, keywords, category, and the status of the blog post (draft, scheduled, or posted).
What Are My Options?
When it comes to making your editorial calendar, you have several options. You can make it on a good ol’ fashioned desktop calendar, in your hand written planner, with spreadsheet, or by using a WordPress plugin.
Write It Down
Many people stand by the tried and true method of writing it down. The advantage of this system is that it is quick (no loading web pages, trying to find a document, or worrying about natural disasters momentarily wiping out your internet connection) and some people remember better when physically writing something down. The downside is that it is hard to share, you don’t have access to it everywhere, and if you lose that piece of paper you are screwed.
Use A Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets are a great option for setting up an editorial calendar, and one that I highly recommend to a lot of companies or individuals who practice guest blogging. The downside of using spreadsheets is that you have to set it up, if you aren’t using Google Sheets it can be difficult to share, and it doesn’t usually offer a good looking interface (which may deter you from using it). The upside to using spreadsheets to create your editorial calendar are that they allow for tons of flexibility so that you can tailor the spreadsheet to fit your needs.
Use A WordPress Plugin
The final option that you have is to use a WordPress plugin. The downside of using a WordPress plugin to manage your editorial calendar is that it is another plugin that you have to install, and depending on how many you already have, it may slow down your site speed a bit. The upside to using a WordPress plugin is that it is always there inside of WordPress waiting for you, you can schedule out posts with ease, and you can have a calendar overview of your blog posts that really puts your content efforts into perspective. The following are two great options if you want to use a WordPress plugin:
The editorial calendar plugin for WordPress is a great plugin that does what it needs to without overdoing anything. This plugin creates a simple calendar layout where you can drag and drop your draft posts to set up your blogging schedule. You can also create a new draft post straight from the calendar page, allowing you to set the time, date, blog title, and add any quick info or links that will be useful later on. You can even have a unique calendar for your different custom post types to help you stay organized and avoid clutter. This plugin works great for an individual or a small team managing a blog.
Edit Flow is similar to the Editorial Calendar plugin in that it gives you a calendar overview of your blogging schedule and it allows for easy drag-n’-drop scheduling and management. However, this tool is meant for more robust team-oriented blogging. You can assign posts to authors more easily, you get custom statuses (such as pitch or needs edit), you can add custom editorial metadata (tell person what the post is about, assign a first draft due date, etc..), and it includes editorial comments, allowing you to proofread others’ posts and add your two cents about it. Overall, this plugin is pretty awesome, although, it is not as light weight as the other one.
What option are you going to use? Or, what option have you found to work the best for you and your blog? Let us know in the comments and be sure to include why your method works best.