5 Benefits Of An Editorial Calendar

by Jason Keath on Jan 06, 2012
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Originally published on Blaisegv.com (edited by socialfresh.com)

In the intense world of managing an online community, it’s easy to make grandiose plans but far harder to stick to them.

Exciting events and milestones come and go, but it’s the steady forward thrust that really matters to ensure the continued growth of your community.

But of course we all have that day when we sit at our workstation and realize we don’t have anything planned for the next few days or weeks.

A bit like writer’s block, anxiety sweeps over you and you can’t sweat out an initiative or content for your membership to engage with.

This Is Where The Editorial Calendar Comes In

Forward planning, as always, is the key to solving this organizational problem. By using a publishing calendar you can minimise a lot of the stress of figuring out what you should do next.

An editorial calendar also helps you stay focused on your mid to long term goals, and provide your membership with regular initiatives.

Who Benefits From An Editorial Calendar?

You will benefit, as this calendar will give your community initiatives some consistency and help you break down larger concepts into more manageable tasks. Of course, don’t feel you have to stick to the calendar – unexpected events can easily be added at the last minute.

Your community members will also find such regularity helpful, as it will give them a schedule to work by. They will know to expect a webchat or competition at regular intervals for example, which allows you to increase the likelihood of return visits.

The Benefits Of Using An Editorial Calendar

Beyond just giving you a clear plan over a set period of time, there are many other benefits that an editorial calendar can bring you as a Community Manager. Here are a few of them:

  1. Teamwork: If you are one community manager out of several who are taking care of your online community, then an editorial calendar will allow for delegation of tasks and oversight for all to see what is upcoming and needs working on.
  2. Be More Timely: You don’t have to use a set amount of time for your calendar, but by planning far enough ahead, you can add in important cultural events you want to address, or community milestones that need promoting. This then allows you to work up a plan of action around them.
  3. Organizing Creative Assets: Setting up initiatives for your community usually require gathering up various types of assets, such as images, text and other forms of media. You can add dependencies for entries in your calendar to ensure you have everything ready for the day it needs to be published to your community.
  4. Look Professional: If your community is supported by some form of advertising, you will be able to attract potential advertisers on the strength of a clear and structured editorial calendar that they can work their upcoming marketing campaigns around.
  5. Create Themes: You could use the calendar to plan weekly or monthly themes for your community. If you manage a horse riding community for example, you could dedicate each month to a different aspect of horse-riding, so that your membership feel they have progressed in their hobby thanks to their participation in your community.

Creating an editorial calendar isn’t hard, just sit down and think about where you want to take your community and what they might be interested in. Come back next week for a new article on how to go about creating your own calendar, what you can put in it, and a bonus download that you might find helpful.

Do you already have an editorial calendar? How useful do you find it, and what do you use it for?

[photo by Joe Lanman]

Originally published on Blaisegv.com 

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • Would love to learn more.  Does anyone know of any templates or examples of editorial calendars available online?

  • Thanks Blake. There will be a follow up post to this one next week with one basic example template. And then the following week we have a post coming with lots of templates and options for people to consider. 

  • Great overview, Jason. I find that editorial calendars are essential. We put together this template to use internally and for our clients – it’s simple and gets the job done. You can download it here: http://www.moosylvania.com/blog/an-editorial-calendar-template-for-you-and-your-sanity/ Looking forward to your follow-up post!

  • Thanks Lisa. We had already come across your template and I plan to include it in our post in 2 weeks. 

  • I have just recently begun using an editorial calendar and although I am still not fully staying on schedule, I definitely see an improvement in my online organization

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  • Great post! I’ve also found that having a Google doc with all the things I’m writing has been helpful to share with my bosses. Communicating what you’re working on and the results of those efforts is really important, especially if you’re on the biz side in startups. Tech peeps have the types of jobs that have very visible results – a feature got built or a bug got fixed. Marketers have a lot of ongoing tasks – scheduling Tweets, monitoring a Facebook page, networking with press… etc etc. I’ve found an editorial calendar to be one way I can show tangible evidence of how I add value (and Google Analytics to show the metrics). 

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