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How to Decide on the best darn Editorial Calendar for your blog

Using Editorial Calendars for your blog

No one sees the hard work you do.

They only see the finished product.

Do you get a bunch of “attaboys” once you launch that website?

Sure, people see the stunning colors and beautiful, simple font you are using.

What about the pics?

Stunning!

Screenshot https://madewith.unsplash.com/categories/website
Screenshot Made with Unsplash – you made something like this, right?

After all, you put together a website your client is proud of.

But you know work you went through to get there.

You remember the late night where you had to do a revision for the client.

And, getting the content, like pulling teeth.

But, all along, you had a plan, and you stuck to the plan. In fact, you stuck to the plan and the website was launched on time!

You had a process and your team executed with precision.

Then, why don’t you use the same reason when you create your blog posts?

Hogwash!

You need a plan.

You need an editorial calendar. You need a tool.

We are going to visit several options to schedule out your blog posts with an editorial calendar.

Hacks for Editorial Calendars

These tools for editorial calendars are more like hacks meaning they are not made specifically to be an editorial calendar.

That being said they all work pretty well.

Google Calendar

I don’t have any numbers, but I would be that Google Calendar is one of the most used calendars on the planet. Mostly, I’m sure, it is because there is a boatload of Gmail customers, 1billion to be exact.

Gmail has come to dominate the email landscape. Who is your free email carrier of choice? Yahoo!? Please.

There are a few reasons why I think Google Calendar is a good option for having an editorial calendar.

First, Google Calendar is free with your Gmail account. Remember what I said above? Yeah, the calendar comes free along with a whole bevy of various tools, all for free, for each customer of Gmail.

Second, Google Calendar is very accessible. Whether you have a Gmail account or whether you have a Google Suite, Google calendar can be accessed a million different ways (okay, maybe not a million).

Finally, because so many have Google Calendar and can access the tool, it is very familiar. The user interface is very familiar to people, and we just know how it works already.

Here are a couple of good resources on using Google Calendar for your editorial calendar.

Amy Porterfield has a fantastic, practical article.

Corey Eridon,  Director of Content at HubSpot, created a stellar post as well.

Paper/Whiteboard

Whiteboard Courtesy of Unsplash, Breather.com
Courtesy of Unsplash, Breather.com – You can use a Whiteboard like these

Sometimes, there is just no substitute for the ordinary, the simple.

A good piece of paper with printed out calendars can make a great tool for the planning process.

CoSchedule offers printable calendars to help you plan your schedule, but it isn’t necessary. Any paper calendar printed will do.

If you add a whiteboard to the workflow, then you have brainstorming heaven.

It does help to have a plan in place for the planning, especially if you are going to get multiple people in a room for this kind of brainstorming.

There are three good reasons to use this method.

First, the simplicity. There are no additional tools needed.

Second, it gives you a chance to write out your topics and planning with your own hand. Doing so often helps us remember and integrate the planning into our thought processes.

Thirdly, using paper and a whiteboard makes it easier for everyone to glance at the calendar at the same time.

There are, of course, cons to using paper. There is the whole using more paper and killing trees thing. Papers not properly stored can become a mess.

I think it can be a good move for the brainstorming phase, but it is not likely the best option for ongoing content monitoring.

Asana

Recently, I started working in Asana to build out an editorial calendar for my business blog. I was put on to the idea by my friend Mary.

Asana has added the ability to add calendars to your project which has made it easier to use for an editorial calendar.

Additionally, if you are a paid subscriber, Asana has templates available.

The real benefit for Asana is that you can see the calendar and you can break down tasks for team members. For example, if you have a process you go through for your content creation, you can add all of those to each task and schedule on the calendar.

Asana is a project manager at its core, so it works pretty well. After all, content creation and management are project management tasks.

If you are already using Asana for project management, this is a good option as your team is already familiar and using the software.

Do you need a step by step? Check out the post at Tuts

Trello

We will get to actual tools for editorial calendars, but the Trello is one of the most used and most popular tools for editorial calendars.

Trello is an agile based, Kanban method project management tool. It is very loved by its customers.

Simply do a search on Google for Trello and editorial calendar, and you will find several companies explaining how they use Trello.

There are several benefits to using Trello for an editorial calendar:

  • One of the most popular project management tools
  • Easy to display ideas
  • Easy to Schedule and assign
  • Tasks lists built in each card
  • Tons of Integrations
  • Free acct for individual users
  • Kanban layout

Another thing that is helpful is several companies have written blog posts on how to use Trello for an editorial calendar.

One company using Trello for an editorial calendar is Startup Southern. Startup Southern is an “inclusive media platform that explores the dynamics of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South.”

I spoke with Ayumi Fukuda Bennett, Founder, Startup Southern, via Twitter, and she gave me three reasons they like using Trello.

“1) Ease of visualizing all content pieces in however you’d like to divide up your calendar.

2) Flexibility: you can easily move pieces from one place to another, should posts need to be moved (even to another board)

3) Assignment labels: for multi-member teams, those assignment labels allow you to easily see which content has been assigned to you. If you decide to converse inside the card, the conversation remains just within the people that need to be involved and only about the card topic.”

Ayumi Fukuda Bennett, Founder, Startup Southern

Trello Resources:

http://blog.trello.com/moved-to-published-using-trello-as-an-editorial-calendar
http://markerly.com/blog/how-to-build-an-editorial-calendar-with-trello/
https://app.automatedinsights.com/blog/how-to-build-an-editorial-calendar-with-trello/
http://conversionchamp.com/editorial-calendar/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-a-content-management-process-with-trello/

Editorial Calendar Software

While there are various ways to manage your content using other tools, there are also various software programs made specifically for being an editorial calendar.

We will take a few of the third party software, a couple of their benefits and pricing.

CoSchedule

Screenshot CoSchedule.com
Screenshot CoSchedule.com

CoSchedule is the king of the third party editorial calendar software, especially for WordPress users. CoSchedule got their start as a WordPress plugin.

It is a premium plugin and service which helps everything in the content delivery process from the planning, creating and promoting your content.

Pricing – For solo marketing, CoSchedule starts at $30 per month annually or $39 month-per-month. Other price points start at $60 per month annually.

DivvyHQ

https://divvyhq.com
DivvyHQ has the recommendation of the Content Marketing Institute which makes it pretty impressive.

It has been around since 2011. It seems to cater more to the content marketing world as a whole.

The features look to be similar to CoSchedule with a slightly less expensive introductory price point. The introductory price point of DivvyHQ seems to be slightly more limited than CoSchedule

AudienceOps

Audience Ops is coming out with their own editorial calendar. It is currently in beta with a handful of people testing, and I have been unable to get an invite as of yet.

Audience Ops is making their own path in the world of done-for-you content marketing, but they are leaving the rest of us behind with this tool.

The price point is about the same as DivvyHQ and CoSchedule. I am curious to see how it works when I have the opportunity to check it out.

WordPress Plugins

Three WordPress plugins can be used for an editorial calendar.

The first one is EditFlow. Edit Flow has several features including the ability to monitor the workflow of the article. Also, they have something called Story Budget which helps you keep track of the stories coming available for better content control.

The second plugin is called Editorial Calendar. Editorial Calendar is more simple than Edit Flow, with a very simple, easy to use layout. You have the option of starting posts in the calendar interface and drag posts to the date you wish to use.

Finally, I came across a newer plugin called Nelio Content. The Nelio Content plugin has paid versions, but they also have a free version using the plugin in the repository. It is worth taking a look.

Over to you

Editorial Calendars are just tools. They are tools that solve a real tangible problem of monitoring and keeping track of your content publishing activities.

An editorial calendar is one part calendar and another part project management.

Previously, editorial calendars were used more to let readers and advertisers know when certain pieces of content were being published. At least, on the front end.

A plethora of software tools have emerged in recent years, and smart, savvy content producers have begun using these tools to create their own solution.

The real important thing is to find a process that works for you and use that process, even if that process is a paper calendar.

What works for you?

What tools do you use for an editorial calendar?

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Todd Jones
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Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at grafixCat media, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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