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5 Tools for Content Planning

Good planning is half the battle, and that certainly applies to the regular publication of content. Only by continuously and purposefully supplying your readers, as well as Google, with quality content can you ensure that content marketing efforts are not simply wasted.

An editorial calendar helps maintain long-term strategic content planning and implementation for websites and social media, helping to secure content objectives. In companies where several people are involved in the publication of content, an editorial calendar provides an essential overview. But even when just one person is responsible for controlling content, it offers a documented guideline that also provides internal confirmation of the scheduled publication of content.

Good planning is half the battle, and that certainly applies to the regular publication of content. Only by continuously and purposefully supplying your readers, as well as Google, with quality content can you ensure that content marketing efforts are not simply wasted.

An editorial calendar helps maintain long-term strategic content planning and implementation for websites and social media, helping to secure content objectives. In companies where several people are involved in the publication of content, an editorial calendar provides an essential overview. But even when just one person is responsible for controlling content, it offers a documented guideline that also provides internal confirmation of the scheduled publication of content.

A well-organized content calendar is an important feature of any content strategy and answers one particularly important question: When will what content by which author be published and on which channel?

Once created, this document must be regularly maintained and updated. The topic scheduling and development of the editorial calendar is therefore one of the content manager’s most important tasks. Editorial plans can vary quite considerably, but the key requirement is they must reflect the needs of the company.

An editorial calendar should at least cover these issues:

  • Planned publication date
  • Content theme(s)
  • Content type (e.g. technical article, interview, infographic, video, etc.)
  • Author
  • Publication channel(s) (e.g. blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, guest blog, etc.)

Editorial Calendar Templates

How should an editorial calendar be set up? Some companies use a simple Excel document whereas a Google Drive spreadsheet offers the added advantage that several people can work on it simultaneously. Instead of homespun Excel solutions, Word or SharePoint offer several templates that can be customized to meet specific company requirements.

Content Marketing Institute editorial calendar template

This Excel-based template has a rudimentary design, but it works well for beginners. It contains columns for scheduled blog posts, topic, author, calls-to-action and related keywords, and in addition, there is space for article ideas and notes.

Postcron content calendar

This Google Docs calendar has a simple but workable layout. With columns such as author, subject, audience, keywords, publication channels and results/conclusions, the structure provides a good framework for a content plan.

WordPress editorial calendar

Do you use WordPress to manage your blog? There are several plugins for editorial calendars that can be easily integrated into this popular content-management system to allow editorial content for blogs to be easily organized within WordPress.

1. WordPress editorial calendar plugin

This free calendar plugin provides a simple overview of when each post is to be published. You can move posts via drag and drop and edit them directly in the calendar. Scheduled and published posts are categorized according to their status, and content without a fixed release date can be identified and grouped via the “unscheduled drafts” function. This simple and clear editorial calendar is ideal for beginners and single-author blogs.

2. Edit Flow

This free WordPress plugin can also be used to create and manage an editorial calendar. It offers a simple calendar interface and can be operated intuitively via drag and drop. Because it includes a comment function, Edit Flow is also suitable for multiple-author blogs. It is possible to sync calendars with iCal or Google calendar, so you can also track proposed and published content outside WordPress.

3. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a paid-for WordPress plugin that primarily facilitates the sharing of content on social media. Thus, in this calendar, an appropriate social-media teaser for each blog article can be pre-planned and created. Then, when a blog post is published, the associated social-media teaser can be released automatically. The number of associated social media channels and profiles is unlimited, and certain tasks, such as edit post and post release, can be assigned to other team members. CoSchedule is well-suited to large blogs with multiple stakeholders, and at $10 a month per blog, the costs are still quite manageable.

An editorial calendar helps to achieve content objectives

Which form of editorial calendar is best for each company primarily depends on the nature of the published content and the respective channels employed. In some companies, for example, guest blogs may play an important role in addition to social media.

No matter which template a company chooses, there will be a benefit because an editorial plan helps to ensure a certain publication frequency, which in turn helps to realize content-strategy objectives.

Just remember that you can’t plan everything, so an editorial calendar must never be set in stone, and unforeseen events will often require a departure from the current plan. When it comes to content, it is important to go with the flow and continuously check, adapt and develop your editorial planning accordingly.


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Comments

7 Steps to Organize your Content Planning | Textbroker.com 3. August 2017 - 20:36

[…] There are many free templates for spreadsheet software or plug-ins for CMS programs available for download that can be used to create social media calendars. Some of these have already been described in a previous post. […]

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