Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on August 18th, 2010

How to Establish an Editorial Calendar for Your Website

Most organizations have more on their Web project plate than the website content strategy. These organizations (who are organized and prepared) have plenty of plans for the foreseeable future. These foreseeable Web projects–i.e. new service offerings, product releases, office expansions, and subdomain creations–could have a major impact on the overall strategy and implementation of your website’s content. In order for a content strategist, website editor, or webmaster to make educated decisions throughout the maintenance phase of a website’s content, it is very important to establish an ongoing editorial calendar for the website.  
Establishing an Editorial Calendar It is recommended that the person, or persons, responsible for your website’s content establish an editorial calendar to plan future content changes. If your company doesn’t have a content strategist, Web editor, or copywriter responsible for this, choose someone within your organization that can you can trust with content scheduling and maintenance. The person responsible should then create a calendar of planned future changes to your website. Your editorial calendar can be created as a spreadsheet, and can include: Content Summary The first column is the content project name and the second column includes the content summary. Keep the summary brief, but describe what the campaign will entail. Content Impact Description This column should include a description of the content’s impact on the website. This is helpful because it describes how other content will be affected, signaling to the maintenance person that there could be more work that needs to be done. This could include preparatory tasks or post-publication, adjustment tasks. Only the person responsible for maintenance will truly understand what a content project will fully involve. Content Launch Date This one is pretty straightforward. This is the planned launch date of the project. It may change as the project nears, getting pushed back due to other project timelines. Either way, it is incredibly helpful to content strategists, web editors, and copywriters for project flow and management. Estimated Time Needed to Complete/Completion Date This column is also incredibly helpful for project flow and management. The content strategist or manager in charge can accurately inform and delegate any project timelines to the team, company and client, allowing the project to run smoothly and confidently from the start. You can also provide additional columns for: Team Member Responsible, Content URL, and Additional Notes. The editorial calendar of your website’s future content is extremely helpful to whomever is in charge of your site’s ongoing maintenance. This ensures that all work will be created on-time, as planned, and without surprises. It is also important to regularly update your team, company, or client with upcoming projects, and verify that all dates and projects are completely updated. If you are doing this work for a client or company, you face the chance that they are reluctant to turn over the control or the information necessary to do this job well. If this is the case, create the document and send it to the established “maintenance staff” for them to complete. Thank You For Reading! No one likes people who don’t share, especially giant flying cats. So if you liked what you read, please share my post with any of our socially-labeled buttons, or we’ll sick Fluffy after you! Please subscribe to our RSS feed as well so you can receive daily fodder from our blog.