Editorial Calendar Templates: Pros, Cons, and What to Look For

 In Content Marketing Toolbox, Content Planning, Tips & How-Tos

How streamlined are your content marketing efforts? Do you have documented workflows? What about an editorial calendar? If you answered no to one or all, your enterprise content team likely encounters issues with throughput, consistency, and adequate topic coverage.

The reality is that businesses must continually publish relevant content to derive content marketing ROI. And an editorial calendar is a key piece of the puzzle to do this. It keeps you organized and focused. Otherwise, content planning and creation are chaos. It provides structure to your content efforts, ensuring all parties are aware of topics, parameters, deadlines, and more.

In this post, we’ll define what editorial calendars and templates are and what to include when building one.

What Is an Editorial Calendar?

Many use editorial calendar and content calendar interchangeably. However, they aren’t the same. Editorial calendars are for planning stages of content. Teams use it to conceptualize stories and assign content creators.

Often, organizations establish themes far in advance and may have more than one, depending on business lines or audience types. You can consider it a framework for ensuring cadence and balance. It can help balance the pressure of cadence for enterprise teams. For example, 51 percent of businesses that invest in content marketing publish content every day.

If your team has this level of throughput, you have to plan way in advance. So, an editorial calendar enables you to do this. You’d then use a content calendar to define the tasks to produce a piece of content. They handle the day-to-day management of content and your publishing schedule.

You need both, but we’ll concentrate on editorial calendars for this post.

What Is an Editorial Calendar Template?

Such a template is pre-built and editable, offering you a structure to schedule and manage content output. You can use a variety of mediums for templates — spreadsheets, Word docs, PDFs, or within a content marketing platform.

While there are many ways to build one, most have these features:

  • Publishing dates
  • Titles
  • Content creator assignments (e.g., writers, video animators, designers, etc.)
  • Funnel stage
  • Content cluster

You’ll have more flexibility with an editorial calendar within software specially developed for content marketing. So, what should the template include that will be most beneficial for creating consistent, high-quality content?

Every Editorial Calendar Template Should Include These Elements

As you assess different editorial calendar templates available or decide to build your own, these components provide the most benefit.

Strategic Alignment

Every piece of content you produce should align with your content strategy. Unfortunately, there’s still a deficit there. The most recent CMI (Content Marketing Institute) B2B survey found that 40 percent have a documented one. Another 33 percent said they had one, but they hadn’t documented it. So, let’s be honest, you cannot be successful with content marketing, whether you have an editorial calendar or not, without a strategy!

For those that have a strategy and an editorial calendar, it puts the strategy into action as far as:

  • Driving toward the goals you’ve set for content
  • How each project ties to the buying stage you’ve defined
  • The link between content and specific initiatives and campaigns
  • Setting the big picture around content expectations

Editing and QA Phases

Content creation is an iterative process. It doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Rather, it requires multiple stakeholders, including reviewers and editors. Thus, you need to build this into your editorial content template. Ideally, you’d use a platform that enables:

  • Task management and tracking
  • Review workflows for those inside the content team and outside (e.g., legal, compliance)
  • Built-in dates
  • Track changes and version history

These and other workflow-related components aren’t going to be easy to implement with spreadsheets, so that’s a drawback of using that type of template. You’d be able to do some customization, but it would be a lot of manual work.

Organization by Content Type

Today’s enterprise content teams create all kinds of content — blogs, ebooks, white papers, infographics, videos, case studies, etc. You also use lots of channels to distribute content. That requires your editorial calendar template to have this field for categorization.

SEO Keywords

Most content will require SEO optimization, so you’ll want to include a field for the keyword on your template. Defining this from the beginning ensures that creators optimize the content for the chosen term or terms.

Audience Personas and Attributes

You have multiple audiences that you’re trying to attract. Thus, you need to segment your editorial calendar by these personas. Some content might cover more than one, but many will be more specific. Including this helps you make sure you’re covering everyone.

Idea Bank

Content always starts with an idea, and you’ll never be without the need to keep generating them. Instead of these living in many places or on sticky notes across the office, an idea repository is essential. If you can easily collect, access, and foster them, the better. While you could include this as a tab on a spreadsheet or section in a document, you’ll appreciate having a centralized storage space within content marketing software.

What’s the Downside of Editorial Calendar Templates That Aren’t Dynamic?

If you use a template that’s not dynamic, you’ll run into some challenges. As your content grows, that document does, as well. That makes it harder to keep straight and can cause errors.

This format means you’ll have to contend with these shortcomings:

  • Customization and adaptability aren’t available.
  • It’s challenging to organize and manage them.
  • Many might refuse to adopt it because it’s too inconvenient.
  • You can’t integrate it with other functions or business units.
  • Filtering and searching are painful.
  • You can’t easily share direct feedback and comments.
  • There are no automated notifications related to due dates.

A Better Way to Schedule, Organize, and Execute with Divvy

The Divvy platform has you covered. Our solution allows you to manage, structure, and streamline content production. It’s a dynamic solution that eliminates all the issues listed above. It makes content marketing operations and collaboration easier. See how it’s a game-changer for enterprise content teams by starting a free trial.

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