Before you read this, have a look at my ‘What the Heck Is an Editorial Calendar‘ post.
The internet has no shortage of editorial calendar templates.
Most of them are in unwieldy spreadsheets, some of which are useful if you can manage to figure them out before you get frustrated and throw you computer out of the window. I’ve also never seen one that’s conducive to several posts a day written by many authors.
Then there are so-called editorial calendar WordPress plugins. Whoever created these has no idea what an editorial calendar actually is. All these do is allow you to see which posts you have scheduled and who’s written them.
As I said in my previous editorial calendar post, the purpose of an editorial calendar is not simply to track your blog posts, it is to enhance your creativity and bring cohesiveness to your blog.
Where to Create Your Calendar
Let’s rule out spreadsheets immediately.
It is possible to create a great editorial calendar in Bubble, but I prefer Kanban boards (it’s just the way my brain works), plus I think Trello is better for collaboration. Trello also has a calendar feature that makes it easy for anyone to understand, even if you don’t like Kanban boards.
Here’s How to Do It: Option 1
Once you’ve signed up for Trello, look in the upper right hand corner and click on the plus sign to create your board.
Next, name your board (including your monthly theme) and choose a privacy setting. I highly suggest that you make your board private.
(Ohhh you still don’t know what a monthly theme is? Read this.)
Then you’ll see Trello’s default board structure:
(Note that the traditional Trello colors are blue and grey. I have a plugin that lets me install different styles on Trello. I happen to like orange.)
The first thing to do is set up your categories by editing the labels within the board. For quick reference, I put the categories names in the “To Do” list, which I rename with the obvious title of “Categories.”
Hover over and click on “Add a card.” Type in the name of the category and then click “add.” This screen will popup:
Click on “Labels” and then “Change label name.” Assign each category a color.
Once you finish adding your category cards, your list will look like this:
This step is important, especially if you are a visual thinker. Displaying the category on the left most list helps my brain to associate a color with a category quickly. All I need to do is glance at a card to know the topic.
Color coding your categories might not seem that important if you only write one post per day, but if you are writing several, you will be very thankful for this system.
Next, click on show sidebar > menu > powerups > calendar > enable. Now, you’ll notice a “calendar” link on the left of your sidebar. You’ll use this feature to see a monthly and daily snapshot of your tasks.
Before you create your post topics, you need to create your weekly lists and assign each week a sub-theme.
Your board should look like this:
Now it’s time to add individual post topics. You can do this in Kanban view (above) or switch to the calendar view. Using the Kanban view helps you to create cohesive topics because you can readily see your theme, sub-theme and categories. The calendar view is slightly more practical in that it lets you bypass a few steps.
Let’s go with the Kanban view for now so that we can walk through all of the steps.
The easiest way to do this is to go down the line of options. Start with assigning a member. You may find this unnecessary if you are the only author, however, if you work with a team of writers this step is a must.
Assign your appropriate label/category. Then you can add a checklist. I use this to track every stage of the posting process, but you can use a checklist however you wish.
If you work with a team and use custom feature images, your graphic designer can upload them via the attachment option rather than emailing them to the author. This keeps everything in one place.
You can fill in details about the post in the description section and your team can collaborate in the comment section.
(The timer option you see is a feature of the add-on Plus for Trello.)
Using the Calendar Feature
The calendar feature is helpful if you produce a lot of content and/or have many authors.
Click on the “calendar” option on the upper right side of your screen.
It will look like this:
Here you can see how useful this feature is if you have more than one post per day. You can also see if you schedule a two posts that fall under the same category within the same day, like I did in on Tuesday the 9th. The great thing about Trello is that you can drag and drop cards from one list or day to another. If you do this in calendar view, Trello will automatically change the date.
Adding a new card in calendar view gives you some neat benefits too:
When you click on a date, all of your cards for that day pop out giving you a more detailed snapshot of your day. From there, you can open each individual card and you can add a new card.
Trello automatically populates the date for you and gives you the option to adjust the position of within your list. For instance, if you are scheduling a second Monday post, you’ll want to set it at position 2 so that everything will be in order within your list view.
If for any reason you need to move the card to a different list, you have that option as well – though that wouldn’t make much sense within the context of this approach to an editorial calendar.
Once you click “add,” you go into the card and enter in your information the same way that you would in list view.
An Alternative Approach: Option 2
If you are really good at remembering your weekly sub-themes, you do away with the weekly lists and instead create lists for each category and then use the calendar view to schedule your posts.
Your list view would look like this:
Don’t forget to assign each category a label and color code each post so that you can make sense of them when you are in the calendar view.
If you are new to creating editorial calendars and aren’t adept at generating a lot of ideas, I suggest using the first option. It was built to maximize creativity. For instance, I use the second option for my personal editorial calendar, but I use the first option for all of my clients.
Are You Overwhelmed Yet?
That’s okay. The good news is that I can totally help you! Just contact me and we can chat about what you need and want to get from your blog.