For more on how to use content calendars effectively, see the Editorial Processes and Pitching Guide.
Brand publishing operations rely on momentum and consistency. In order to create content that is of high quality and keeps audience engagement and readership high, teams have to ensure they’re being as efficient as possible, while also creating systems that ensure that the work being produced is good.
A well-run content calendar can be the fulcrum of any brand publishing operation. They’re helpful for keeping production moving and keeping processes transparent. Content calendars are organized, written schedules that include details on stories in progress as well as other critical information. They also help in creating structures to ensure accountability for writers.
Particularly for brand publishing operations, it is helpful to use the calendar to also help communicate progress and momentum with other teams within the wider operation. Content calendars should always begin with a sense of how many pieces of content need to be published daily and/or weekly. Then, using a timeline for posting the content and the various steps of writing, reporting and editing needed should be used to inform the calendar’s structure.
Calendars can be creating in any platform of the team’s choosing: Google Sheets, or a dedicated project planning software can all work. The key is to ensure that the below key sections are included in each content calendar.
- Publish date: This is the most important part of the calendar. A glance at this should tell managers where there are gaps in momentum and find ways to fix them
- Deadline: This is the second most important part. Managers can look at this and know if a story is late and make plans accordingly.
- Slug: This is the short word that acts as an identifier for the story. Giving each story a slug — one or two words — makes it easy to refer to the piece and ensures there isn’t. confusion between stories.
- Headline: The suggested headline for the piece.
- Category or Topic: If the site has certain categories, industries or verticals it covers, it can be useful to include this so types of stories are easily categorized
- Multimedia: This is helpful to know if stories need images or video created or charts and graphs designed
- Status: This should be a simple way to denote where the piece is. For example, statuses of a piece can be “Reporting,” “Editing” and “Ready to Publish.”