Your Website’s Fountain of Youth Part 1: Editorial Calendar

Why your content strategy needs an editorial calendar and how you should use it.

From the age of the Greek writer Herodotus in the fifth century BC up through Ponce De Leon’s exploration of Florida in the 16th century, the legend of a fountain of youth that could wash away the years has persisted throughout history.

While we can’t get rid of those crow’s feet, we have found the fountain of youth… for your website. In this blog series, we will define the components that comprise the secret to eternal youth for your digital face.

What is an editorial calendar?

An editorial calendar is a tool for organizing and planning content publishing on your website. You may first think of an editorial calendar as a tool just for scheduling blog posts or news articles, but it can be used for any section of your website that requires updating at some frequency. That could be the homepage, news section, product offerings, events, program deadlines… you name it.

You can (and should!) also use an editorial calendar to plan social media content. And when you use calendars to align content planning across channels… oh, man, that’s when the good stuff happens.

Why should I use an editorial calendar?

A website is a big thing, and if we don’t have a tool to help us know what needs updating, when, and how, we run the risk of our content becoming old and outdated. That could mislead and misguide our users, and then users get angry. And we don’t want that. So we need to feed the beast, and feed it the right stuff.

We create websites with big expectations for how they will help our business. An editorial calendar helps ensure those expectations become (and remain) reality.

How do I use an editorial calendar?

There are many ways to create an editorial calendar, depending on what tool works best for your organization’s content and collaborative needs.

  • Excel spreadsheet

  • Google Doc (spreadsheet or text document)

  • Google Calendar

  • A project management tool like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp

A calendar can be as minimal or as robust as your content needs dictate, but some fields to consider tracking include:

  • Topic

  • Associated media (photos, video, etc.)

  • Link(s)

  • Content source

  • Status (What this means could vary depending on the content. Is it awaiting review? Has it been written or curated yet? Is a development task required before publishing?)

  • Reviews and approvals

  • Brand and audience alignment (Editorial calendars can be powerful tools not only for scheduling content, but reinforcing a balance of brand messaging. By noting which key messages, brand components, and target audience your content reflects, you can make sure you’re planning content that is relevant and supports your communication goals.)

  • Relevant deadlines: Drafts, Review, Publish, Remove/Archive

It’s important to build regular editorial calendar usage into your daily workflow, so your awesome tool doesn’t go to waste.

An editorial calendar is a fountain of youth because…

It helps your website stay fresh, accurate, and relevant, supporting both your own business objectives and the needs of your audience for the long haul.