Editors Note: This Editorial calendar template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other TechWhirl Templates Library materials.
An editorial calendar serves as a scheduling tool for teams and individuals within an organization who have responsibility for creating and distributing content to achieve specific marketing, sales, branding, and support goals.
A cross-functional editorial calendar drives alignment of actual content creation and production activities with the organization’s strategic business goals and objectives. As a tool for scheduling, it supports the organization’s resource management needs around these goals. It also adds value by visually depicting the content roadmap over a specific period of time, and identifying gaps in the content strategy or messaging framework that content teams must implement.
Organizations create enormous volumes of content for consumption by their stakeholder groups across a variety of platforms and outputs. Content for customers, for partners, for the supply chain, for investors, and for employees. A cross-functional editorial calendar can be a key tool in attempting to manage the creation and production of content, whether the organization fields a single unified content team, or spreads the responsibility among functional groups within the business.
In a blog post for Kapost, “6 Tips for Planning an Editorial Calendar,” Anna Washenko points out that managing the overall content creation process is seen as the “top challenge to content marketing success.” This becomes even more critical when considering the content requirements the post-purchase phases of the buyer (or user) journey, when technical, how-to, and troubleshooting content may be required.
This Editorial Calendar template lets team members see what content needs to be created or reworked to address the overall user experience, and invites new ideas on reusing content to support all phases of buyer journey from awareness through consumption of the product (or service). Because it’s a spreadsheet, it can be filtered and sorted in a number of ways to show share of work effort, timelines, and coverage of products and services. Teams can also consider converting the spreadsheet to a digital format such as SharePoint to simplify collaboration and provide dashboard views into status.
Using the Template:
- Identify all products and services, customer needs, branding and organizational requirements that can be address by content.
- Set up meetings between content teams and stakeholders to brainstorm what kinds of content can support specific plans and goals.
- Review existing brand, marketing, and content strategy to group and sort content needs by products, services, business goals, and timeframes.
- Download the Editorial Calendar template (.xlsx) file and save to a local location.
- Enable “show comments” to view tips on completing items in the calendar.
- Conduct meetings with content teams to complete a calendar item for each identified need, taking into account research time and testing in addition to creation and production.
- Obtain feedback from key stakeholders on the content plan and schedule and revise as needed.
- Revisit the editorial calendar regularly to update with results, and new needs that arise.
- Consider importing the calendar to a collaboration tool such as Microsoft® SharePoint to allow real-time monitoring and notifications to participants in the process.
Do you have other user guide templates that work well for the products you are documenting? Are you in an Agile development environment and have tools for creating user assistance that aligns with Sprints? Feel free to contact us and submit your templates. We’ll provide credit to you for assisting the TechWhirl community and contributing to Template Tuesdays.