Being a content creator can be overwhelming. Keeping up with blog posts, guides, and everything else on the agenda is hard work!
Now, imagine a system that keeps track of all the content you want to create, all the steps you have to take when creating it, and where each piece of content is at in its creation process.
Sound like a distant dream? Well, it’s not. It’s called an editorial calendar and in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to create one, with a free template too!
If you’re looking for a way to streamline and speed up your work flow, read on.
An editorial calendar is more than just a schedule of your content. It’s a visual tool that lets one person or an entire team to plan, create, schedule, and promote content—for the next week, month, or even year. It includes the tasks, team members, and due dates involved at every stage.
The benefits of using an editorial calendar are many, but here are a few:
In my experience, using an editorial calendar has made a tremendous difference in the way I work and I have never looked back. Procrastination often occurs when we don’t know what to do next, and so we delay the work at hand.
But for me at least, when I know that all I need to do is conduct the different tasks listed in my specific checklists, I am more productive and I procrastinate much less. Now, I hope it can do the same for you!
Here are some foundational principles to guide you in the process.
While an editorial calendar can help you to refine your content strategy, you do need to have an initial framework to begin with. You can use our guide to creating a content strategy for a deeper dive, but here are some basic questions to start with.
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Once you have an idea of what content you want to produce and how much of it, you can lay out your workflow. This includes:
With an understanding of your strategy, workflow, and team size, now you’ll need to find out which software is most suitable for you and/or your team. Which is what this next section will cover.
There are several different approaches and tools you can use to create your own editorial calendar for free.
Project management software like Asana and Trello are often the go-to for editorial calendars. My coworkers and I use the free version of Trello and we love it! With Trello, you have a workspace and within your workspace you can create boards. Within boards are cards where you can add descriptions, checklists, labels, due dates, attachments, and more. This makes it simple to keep track of various aspects of the content creation process.
You can also invite others to work on your boards. This is great for collaboration, but not the best for large teams since it can become quite messy with too many cards and labels.
You can upgrade to the paid version for more power-ups and powerful integration features.
Keep reading to download our Trello editorial calendar template.
Spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets can be used for editorial calendars if you don’t have the time to learn new software, but they are more manual and not as visual. I have made an example in a spreadsheet to demonstrate what an editorial calendar in Excel/Google docs might look like. Feel free to make your own based on this suggestion.
Regular calendars like Outlook or Google Calendar can be good choices for visualizing and scheduling tasks fast and easy—plus you’ll get built-in reminders. Furthermore, you can create checklist templates with specific tasks across the different stages of the workflow, and paste them into the calendar note field to keep track of what you have done and what’s remaining.
Nevertheless, regular calendars might not be the best if you want to keep track of status in an orderly manner and see everything in one glance. Here’s a simple overview of how a month’s worth of planned content might look like in Google Calendar, with color codes used to identify the type of content and status.
Ok! Let me share with you my Trello editorial calendar template. It works wonders for me in building out my content marketing funnel, so I want to share it with you!
Here’s the link:
Here’s what it looks like:
And here are its three components:
When you decide to make content on one of your ideas, simply move the card into the “date assigned” list and set a date for it.
This Trello editorial calendar board consists of 6 lists:
As mentioned above, each list consists of cards, which are your content ideas. You can add checklists, labels, and dates to each card.
This editorial calendar has several different checklists, each relevant to different stages of the content creation process. Alright, but what kind of checklist am I talking about here? Well, in fact, checklists for helping you along every step of the process!
To import any of these checklists into a card:
In this template, I use labels for content type as well as status. This is great for staying organized and in control of your schedule.
You can add new labels as well to customize it as you wish. Here are the labels I use for content types:
Here are the labels I use for content status:
Here’s how you get your copy of the board:
Now I’ll leave you with some final tips for getting the most out of this template!
Note that this editorial calendar is a template, and you can edit it the way you want. The more detailed customization is added to it, the better. If it suits your needs as it is, great!
Download the Trello app on your mobile phone and use the widget to capture ideas quickly when you’re out and about. Here’s how
When the calendar power-up is activated in Trello you will see the scheduled posts in the Trello calendar making up to a month’s worth of content visible at a glance. Simply click the calendar power-up located at the top of your board.
Now you’ll see a calendar with all your cards visible at the assigned date, with its labels. I have done some demo scheduling with cards in all the different lists to show you how it looks like in the Trello calendar
In the calendar view you may click on the cards and view them directly from the calendar interface. Notice that all the status labels are also showing, which gives you a good overview of status of all the scheduled posts. The labels are explained in more detail below together with the other features of the board.
If you have a WordPress site and write your content in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs, you can use a plugin called Mammoth .docx converter to import a post from your writing client easily into WordPress!
Now you can just do the tasks in this checklist and get the stuff done! The YOAST SEO plugin is very helpful when working through this list.
Using some form of an editorial calendar is a must for every content creator. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that it has provided you with some constructive value.
Enjoy this editorial calendar! I hope it makes a difference in your workflow efficiency. Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them the best I can!
René Frydson is a 33-year-old passionate digital marketer, blogger, and productivity enthusiast from a small city called Forde in Western Norway. Alongside his formal education in marketing management with a specialty in digital marketing, Renè has 6+ years of experience from his own ventures online. He has hands-on experience from his employment in the marketing department of a large energy company in Norway. Join him over at themarketingonion.com where he publishes interesting and informative content within the digital marketing and productivity space.
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