How to Create an Editorial Calendar For Corporate Blogs

How do you co-ordinate multiple authors on a corporate blog? One of the dilemmas for Content Managers is to make sure different blog posts are delivered on time but also that the tone, topics, and social media activities are aligned. One way to get this under control is to establish an editorial calendar.

Courtesy Andy Wibbells

Corporate Blog – How to Get Started

Your editorial calendar is one of the simplest ways to track different blog posts, including their status, contributors, guidelines and other factors you want to manage. The key is to keep it simple, useful, and easy to update.
Instead of investing in expensive software or adopting complex plug-ins look for simpler solutions. For example, create a spreadsheet in Google Docs and share it with the other writers. Once this is embraced, move to more complex tools.
Your aim at this point is to:

  • Train the team to use the editorial calendar. Once they get used to it, you can explore other solutions. Baby steps at first.
  • Create a set of guidelines that are easy to follow and encourage others to use the calendar.
  • Try it out with a small group of writers first.
  • Remove the bugs and glitches.
  • Share with a wider audience.

Corporate Blog – Providing Guidelines

Once you have completed the test phase, look for ways to make the editorial calendar part of day to day operations.
One suggested approach is to:

  • Examine how other firms use editorial calendars
  • Download white papers, case studies and blog posts that give direction
  • Hire a consultant to provide the direction you need to get started
  • Allocate someone (not you) as the owner of the editorial calendar. This person will be the go-to person for all related queries
  • Request a modest budget to investigate software that can be plugged into your blogging platform or ask your internal IT team for a quote for bespoke designs

In addition to this, share with your writing team:

  • Best practices on how to use an editorial calendar effectively
  • Walk through how the editorial calendar works
  • Discuss where they need to avoid common mistakes
  • Look for ways to update the guidelines if necessary

Corporate Blog – Setting Up the Editorial Calendar

As with most things, if you keep it simple chances are it will get accepted.
I recently developed an editorial calendar spreadsheet for a government agency. Here’s what we did:

  • Developed the template in MS Excel
  • Pasted it into Google Docs
  • Setup security settings for the writers
  • Went through some demos to test if it worked.
  • Recorded how it worked with Screenr (free video recording software)
  • Shared the tutorials with the team

Corporate Blog – Creating the Editorial Calendar

The editorial calendar spreadsheet was created along the following guidelines:

  • Document Number – unique identifier for each blog post
  • Blog Name – name of the post
  • Blog Title – 70 characters for the meta title field
  • Blog Extract – 150 characters for the content snippets added to the meta description field
  • Primary Keyword – main keyword to be used in the post
  • Secondary Keyword – associated keywords to be used in the post
  • Author – name of author
  • Business Unit – name of business unit that requested the post
  • Content Owner – ultimate owner for the content
  • Status – Draft, Completed, Revised, Deleted
  • Due Date – date when the post must be completed
  • Graphics – request for specific graphics or guidelines
  • Comments – additional blog post for each blog post

Conclusion

The result was that the team adopted the editorial calendar within a few weeks. For the content managers and those who owned the content assets this meant there was less confusion amongst the blog team, more transparency between business units, and a better corporate blog.
Have you created an editorial calendar for your corporate blog? What was the main barrier you faced? What lessons did you learn?

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