The Importance of the Editorial Calendar

Social media is a beast with an insatiable and never-ending appetite. If it goes hungry, a company’s social media efforts can start to suffer as people lose interest and get less engaged.

With steady flow of content so important, a key element of a tactical plan is an editorial calendar, a document that spells out what content will be appear when over a period of weeks or months. An editorial calendar is important because it provides a social media program with structure and supports the creation of constant content.

This lets a company know what’s coming editorially and plan in advance as opposed to creating content on the fly, which can put a lot of pressure on a social media person or team.

In some respects, an editorial calendar runs counter to how social media operates because it establishes a long-term plan as opposed to being part of a real-time engagement and conversation plan.

But an editorial calendar is actually a way to support real-time activity by providing a foundation upon which conversations and engagement can be layered.

Creating an editorial calendar is a fairly straightforward process. It starts with selecting a period of time – let’s say three months – and then adding regular events or themes so that a regular schedule is created. It could be a specific kind of blog post each week, a poll or a contest.

The idea is that things happen on a regular and ongoing basis so the social media team knows what to do, and the audience knows what to expect.

In an ideal world, an editorial calendar makes life easier for a company to feed the social media beast.

7 Comments on “The Importance of the Editorial Calendar”

  1. I agree that some sort of structure is important but I think that a healthy balance of pre-planned content and more spontaneous, on-the-fly type of content is best. And of course this can be pre-planned into your calender, e.g. have a day a week where you summarize the newest social media tools and updates for that time period. Or have a certain percentage of content each month be allocated to these more spontaneous kind of posts.

    1. Katy,

      You’re right; there’s a fine balance between scripted/organized and spontaneous/real-time. Striking that balance in a way that engages and provides structure is the key. Thanks for the comment. Mark

  2. Editorial calendar, hmm, I would like one of those. Now if I could only scrape together enough time to create one. How do you feel about making an editorial calendar to create an editorial calendar?

    Any tips on how to budget time more effectively when managing a company blog is merely a portion of the daily to do list?

    1. Aaron,

      An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. It can be a populating a one to three month period with events, contests, holidays, etc. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can fill a calendar. As for budgeting time for a corporate blog, it helps to have a collection of ideas that you can tap on when needed. As well, you can even write several posts at one time if and when you have the time.

  3. Glad to see you raise the issue-I’ve been fighting this battle for several years. Social media utopians would argue otherwise, but you still need some kind of publishing system to keep the trains rolling and consistent posts coming, starting with an editorial calendar, with clear deadlines. This helps keep the bloggers on track and everyone on the same page. I actually think people can be freed up to be MORE creative if there’s a structure/foundation in place vs an “anything goes” environment. I outlined a system recently in my blog I’ve used with several high-tech co’a http://bit.ly/hiqwfB

  4. I was just telling my eMarketing team the other day that we should have an editorial calendar. But does this thinking spring from the fact that Mark and I are former journalists? Do other digital marketing managers see the need for an editorial calendar?

    Dale Tournemille

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