Crafting an ever-evolving editorial calendar

There’s more to it than you might think.

So you’ve sat down with your comms team and drafted some great ideas for content to distribute within your organization or even beyond. That’s great! But did you think about when, where, and how that content is going to see the light of day? That’s where your editorial calendar comes into play.

Editorial calendars themselves won’t solve everything. And in order to be effective, they need to be carefully constructed, with each piece of content and distribution channel getting proper attention. A strategically crafted editorial calendar will simplify your content distribution and create a place where your team can collaborate to make your comms even stronger and more cohesive. To learn how the best editorial calendars take shape, we spoke with industry experts on the benefits, pitfalls and best practices of creating and maintaining a tight, practical, and dynamic edit cal.

An ever-evolving tool 

What if things outside your control shift and change, and you need to move things around accordingly?

According to Sukhi Sahni, communications expert and adjunct professor a Georgetown University, one of the biggest challenges teams can face in this realm is the need to manually change and input dates, times, and details on the calendar. But solutions abound.

“Investing in technology or content platforms allows teams to build effective calendars with the ability to reconcile information from multiple sources of information in real-time,” Sahni said.

She added that a consistently updated calendar is the only one that’s going to be impactful. “A static calendar is of no use,” said Sahni.

Internal best practices

When you’ve got an editorial calendar that’s functioning on all cylinders, you should have a clear, rounded perspective of what material you’re sending out to the rest of your organization. But you shouldn’t ever send a story out just to tick a box — it should fulfill an audience need.

According to Eric Hazard, managing director at Vested, the best pieces of content emerge from conversations within the communications team, driven by a keen sense of what’s important to the members of your organization.

“Make sure you’re aware of what your internal communications objectives are,” Hazard said.

Because comms teams need to determine what content will provide maximum value to the people that the messaging is going out to,  internal editorial calendars are a great way to reinforce external messaging and align it with all communications functions of the organization.

Hazard provided a hypothetical scenario: Suppose your organization is being recognized as a great place to work. How do you turn an external-facing award into internal news? There’s a multi-step thought process that goes into it, and an editorial calendar can help.

“Think about the channels that you’re going out to: Does it go out to Linkedin? How about the intranet? The important thing is that the employees see these messages frequently, as they can help build culture,” he said.

Focusing on both the big and small pictures

Editorial calendars are a great tool to help content teams figure out what they’re going to be working on in the near term, but they’re also helpful in identifying big-picture trends across an organization that need to be communicated.

According to Sahni, the biggest key is organization.

“A well-organized editorial calendar allows teams to focus on the big picture and a view into the future while solving for the day-to-day needs,” she said.

Without a bird’s-eye view of the overall business, an editorial calendar might seem rudderless. That’s why the content team needs to prioritize crafting a calendar that is cross-functional and easy to navigate.

“A well-managed calendar can impact the bottom line by creating efficiencies, prioritizing projects across teams, making information easily shareable, and accountability for your teams and your business stakeholders,”  said Sahni. “This is a critical tool that helps organizations be well managed and positions comms professionals as business leaders rather than just a communicator.”


2 Responses to “Crafting an ever-evolving editorial calendar”

    Laura says:

    Can you recommend some technology or content platforms that we can use to create a dynamic calendar? From my experience, SharePoint “has the ability” but it always kind of a mess in practice. We’re using Excel currently, with a two-sheet view. The first sheet has everything in it and the second sheet is a summary sheet that can be shown to executives. It pulls certain columns from the first sheet (or master sheet) to create a “summary” view.

      Justin Joffe says:

      Hi Laura, we use Trello and can’t recommend it enough – you can assign relevant owners to separate projects, views, boards and customize it accordingly. Hope that helps. – JJ Daily Headlines

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