Do you usually know when the next post will be published on your blog? Do you even know which topics your upcoming blog posts will cover?
When you are new to blogging, it is normal to just write posts and publish them when you finish. This is acceptable when you’re just getting started as it is better to publish fresh content rather than overthinking things in the beginning.
However, once your blog starts to grow, you’ll want, or rather need, to start getting more organized with your content planning. An editorial calendar is what lets you do just that.
Srikanth already wrote a detailed post on what an editorial calendar is. But in general, an editorial calendar is a long-term content plan that allows you to:
- Stay organized and quickly view all the upcoming topics on your blog
- Better plan promotion for each individual post
- Keep track of who is writing what (if you have a multi-author blog)
In this post, I’m going to show you how to use a third-party tool called Trello or a free WordPress plugin to create an editorial calendar for your own WordPress blog.
How To Create An Editorial Calendar With Trello
I’m going to start with a tool that isn’t a WordPress plugin because it’s actually what we use here at ShoutMeLoud.
Trello lets you create a “board” that contains multiple lists and cards. I’ll show you how to do this in more detail in a second, but here’s a quick idea of how you set up Trello to create an editorial calendar:
- Create a list for each stage of the publishing process, like “editing”, “promoting” etc
- Create a separate card for each individual post
For example, here’s what our editorial Trello board looks like here at ShoutMeLoud:
Want to make something similar for your blog?
Here’s how to create your very own editorial calendar using Trello:
Step 1: Sign up for a Trello account and create a board
Trello is a free service. To sign up, simply head here.
Once you have a Trello account, you can create a new board from anywhere in the interface by clicking on the Plus icon in the top-right corner followed by choosing Create Board:
Once you have done that, all you need to do is give your board a title and choose whether you want to make it public or private:
Step 2: Create lists (columns) for the various content stages
Now, you should be looking at an empty board.
To create the structure for your editorial calendar, you want to think about the various stages each blog post needs to go through before it is ready for publication.
For example, on our board we have lists for:
- Article ideas
- Ready to publish
But you don’t need to use the exact same structure if it doesn’t fit your processes. Try to think about what works best for your blog and how you like to create content.
Once you’ve thought of the different stages, click the Add a list… option to create your first list:
Repeat the process until you have separate lists for all the stages your blog post will go through:
Step 3: Create cards for individual blog posts
Once you have the overall structure of your editorial calendar, you can start adding individual blog posts.
For that, all you need to do is click on Add a card… under one of your lists:
Then, you can give the card a title. This title is what will actually show up on the list. Once you type in the title, click Add:
Then, you can click on the card to expand an interface with more options:
Here, you can add:
- A description
- A comment (this is helpful if you’re collaborating with multiple team members)
- Due date, assign the card to a specific team member, add a label, and more
If you add a due date or label, it will show up on the list to help keep you organized:
That’s pretty much it! Once a blog post finishes one stage, all you need to do is drag the card over to the next list to stay organized:
It’s very simple, it’s easy to stay organized, and it doesn’t cost a penny!
I do few other things to further optimize our content process. For example, we have a checklist which is for post content publishing. I will write another post on how to create that in the near future.
How To Create An Editorial Calendar With The Editorial Calendar Plugin
If you prefer to keep your editorial calendar inside your WordPress dashboard, there’s a free plugin called Editorial Calendar that is built just for bloggers like us.
The plugin doesn’t offer very advanced functionalities in terms of categorizing posts based on what stage of the publishing process they’re in, but it does make management easier and helps visualize all your upcoming posts.
Once you install and activate the plugin, you can access your new editorial calendar by going to Posts → Calendar.
Here, you’ll see an actual calendar that shows you:
- Upcoming scheduled posts
- Unscheduled drafts that need a publish date
If you want to change a post’s scheduled date, all you need to do is drag and drop it to the new day that you want to publish it:
You can also drag and drop unscheduled drafts onto the calendar to quickly assign them a publishing date. Also, the Quick Edit button under each post helps edit basic information right there in the calendar view:
Other Free, Yet Premium, Options To Create An Editorial Calendar On WordPress
I think one of the two methods above should work for most bloggers. But if you want some other options to create an editorial calendar on WordPress, here are a couple of other solutions:
- CoSchedule – CoSchedule is a premium tool that lets you manage and organize both, your posts and your social media promotion strategy. It is a tad bit expensive at $40 per month (plus $9 for each additional team member), but it does offer lots of time-saving features for the price.
- Edit Flow – Edit Flow is like a slightly more advanced version of Editorial Calendar. It gives you the same calendar view, plus features that make it easier to manage a team of writers and editors. If you’re a solo blogger, you probably don’t need those extra features.
Start Using An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog Today
While an editorial calendar is especially helpful if you’re working with a team, solo bloggers too can benefit from a more organized approach to creating content.
It only takes a few minutes to set up. And once you have it, I bet you’ll improve your productivity and manage your blog better.
Now I want to hear from you – do you use an editorial calendar on your blog? Why or why not? Share your experience with us.
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