How To Set Up An Editorial Calendar Your Team Actually Uses

By Hannah Eisenberg - November 21, 2014

How To Set Up An Editorial Calendar Your Team Actually UsesCan you believe it is New Year's in 6 short weeks? I bet, you have thought about some New Year's resolutions already, right? No? Maybe I am just a teeny bit early.

In 2015, my goals are to:

  1. Spend more quality time with my children
  2. Follow my passion at work
  3. Start a small herd of dairy goats
  4. Get back into yoga
  5. Be even more organized

I know, I know. The goats are weird, but what can I say. I come from 3 generations of farmers, and goats are amazing animals... Moving on.

Whenever it comes to resolutions, nagging questions bubble up: How many of these resolutions will I actually follow through with? How many will gather dust and make me feel guilty?

Without a workable plan to put them in action, my goals will just remain dreams.

Is Your Editorial Calendar A Forgotten Resolution?

One of my work-related resolutions from last year was to set up and use an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is supposed to organize your content creation process to ensure you write for the right buyer personas, cover topics that are interesting to them and avoid gaping holes in your content strategy.

I tried Excel Spreadsheets, Google Docs and even paper and guess what? It failed. I did my buyer persona research, I did extensive keyword research and brainstormed blog post title ideas.

It is filled with great ideas, but it still gathered dust because it was not user-friendly, hard to use as a team and no fun.

A few months ago, I discovered a nifty little tool and that changed.

Say Hello To Trello

May I introduce you to Trello? An incredibly powerful, yet humble tool that is insanely easy to use.

I use Trello to organize my editorial calendar, my private to do lists and some simpler project work with clients that do require a more sophisticated project management tool such as Basecamp or Teamwork PM.

This Slideshare presentation will walk you through the process of setting up and managing your editorial calendar with Trello:

Here Are The Basic Steps:

Create a board in your Trello Account and name it Editorial Calendar.

Create the following lists:

  • Content Ideas (Brainstorming)
  • Approved Content Ideas
  • Assigned To Writer
  • Edit & Approve
  • Scheduled for Publishing
  • Published
  • In progress but not scheduled yet

Manage Your Content Creation Process

Consult your current editorial calendar or encourage your team to contribute and add them to the brainstorming list.

Go through the list of content ideas and pick the ones that really resonate with your buyer personas, your blogging strategy and your upcoming marketing campaigns and pull them in the approved list.

Assign writers via TrelloAdd as much information as you can using attachments, labels, descriptions, comments, checklists, and due dates to every card. I use labels to color-code my blog posts and content pieces by assigning a label that corresponds with my buyer personas.

Once approved, I can assign members to work on those blog posts by pulling them over from the side menu or open the card and click on members. You can tell the team member in a comment that he/she has been assigned to write the blog post by using @.

Throughout the entire process, every member of the team can track their time to ensure proper time management.

We also track time to improve our agency's efficiency. And since we are using Harvest for time tracking, we have integrated Harvest directly into Trello, which is very easy to do.

Once the first draft of the blog post has been written, the author can attach a file or attach a link to the blog post in the card and notify the editor. The editor and author can communicate changes through the comment section. It is awesome - Nothing gets ever buried in your inbox again.

Once the blog post is finalized, it will be pushed over into publishing. The author can attach social media optimized images, prepared social media posts and other important information to the card.

Once it is published it can be pushed into the published column.

If, for whatever reason, the blog post is finished or in progress but not scheduled for publication, it will be held there until it is ready to be scheduled for publication.

Benefits of Using Trello as Your Editorial Calendar Management Tool

This set up by stages of the editorial process rather than by writer or buyer persona allows you to see at a glance where your content creation is and what needs to be tackled next.

  • Track the flow of certain content pieces (e.g., subscribe to blog post to receive updates)
  • Encourages team work
  • Assign responsibility (assign members, tag them in comments, etc.)
  • Let’s you easily identify gaps or inefficiencies in your content creation process.

How do you manage your content marketing process?

I would love to hear from you how you tackle your editorial calendar. What tool do you use? What challenges did you face and even overcome?

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