3 Tools to Better Manage Your Blogging Editorial Calendar

social media how to Have you tried using a blog editorial calendar?

Do you have a central place to track blog topic ideas, manage writers and schedule publish dates?

Blogging is much easier when you have your content planned out. Knowing what you’ll write about and when you’ll publish it helps you stay on track.

In this article I’ll share three editorial calendar tools that help you deliver better content in less time.

What Is a Blog Editorial Calendar?

A blog editorial calendar shows you all of your blog posts and where they are in the production process. It sounds simple enough–perhaps so simple you may think you don’t need one. But an editorial calendar has a large impact on your overall organization and productivity.

editorial calendar tools

Use an editorial calendar tool to organize, track and plan your blog content.

Blog editorial calendars are especially useful if you’re working with a team of writers. Knowing who is responsible for which article, whether an article is currently being written or waiting for approval and even whether it’s published makes your system run smoothly.

There are a variety of editorial calendar tools at your disposal. In this article I’ll tell you about three that include a range of functions to help you and your team manage content production.

#1: Customize Editorial Management

Edit Flow is a free plugin that allows you to create and manage your editorial calendar within WordPress. It offers a bounty of features including custom status, editorial comments, notifications and multi-user support.

With Edit Flow, you can quickly view a snapshot of your planned content month-by-month and reorganize as necessary with the drag-and-drop feature. If you want to keep tabs on your calendar outside of WordPress, you can synchronize it with iCal or Google calendar.

Hover over any post on the editorial calendar and you can choose to Edit, Preview or Follow it, even if you aren’t directly working on it.

follow updates on edit flow

You don’t have to be working on a post to preview or edit it.

If you’re working with a team, you can set up custom status reports to suit your content creation, moderation and publication workflow, then assign them to each post. For example, you can use status descriptions like Assigned, In Progress or Published so you’ll know who’s working on an article and where it is in the publishing process.

When you create a post, its assigned status is visible on the main editorial calendar.

edit flow calendar option

The calendar view shows each post’s status.

In addition to post status, you can create custom editorial comment fields based on your needs (e.g., dates, checkboxes, text fields, etc). As you assign content to team members, you can use these fields to include any notes to the author or another editor.

In some cases you may need to create a free-form comment box or you can choose to be more specific and define fields for all information you want to log about the post as it goes through each workflow stage.

For instance, you may want to add a field indicating the due date of a first draft or another field containing a link to the source for the feature article’s image.

edit flow metadata widget

Use the Editorial Metadata widget to leave comments for team members.

If you have a larger organization, you can create groups of users and enable the notification feature to make communication easier. For example, you could have a user group for editors and set up notifications so only those people get emails about post updates (e.g., a post is ready for review or is scheduled).

You don’t have to go deep into WordPress to review Edit Flow.

When you log into WordPress, there’s a dashboard showing you a high-level view of your blog’s status. You can add a couple of Edit Flow widgets to your dashboard to view the status of all your posts or keep an eye on posts you’re following.

edit flow widget options

Choose widgets to display on your WordPress dashboard.

If you enable the Post Status widget, you can quickly see the status of your unpublished posts.

edit flow post at a glance widget

The Post at a Glance dashboard widget gives a quick look at progress.

Edit Flow is simple to set up and is a really good way to organize your content production. Whether you’re working alone or managing a team, it’s useful to set up a workflow and track which stage your content is in.

#2: Include Social Sharing

CoSchedule is a paid blog editorial calendar ($10 per month). You can use CoSchedule as a web application (access it directly from the CoSchedule website) or you can use it within WordPress.

The advantage of the web application is ease of access. You can allow team members to manage and work within the calendar and application without giving them access to WordPress. (Of course, editors and authors will still need to access WordPress when writing blog posts.)

Like Edit Flow, CoSchedule shows you scheduled posts month-by-month, has a drag-and-drop feature, lets you sync with Google calendar and creates tasks and email notifications for team members. You can also assign team members a role that determines their access rights.

coschedule calendar

CoSchedule’s editorial calendar view lets you see publish dates at a glance.

What’s special about CoSchedule is it’s social sharing option. You can schedule where and when to share your blog post content after it publishes. For example, you can automatically share your blog post to Twitter when it publishes, share it again three hours after that and again two days after that.

Any time you share content on your social profiles, it’s important to keep track of how people are responding to it. When CoSchedule shares your content, it automatically uses shortened bit.ly links so you can see how many people are clicking.

If you use Google Analytics, CoSchedule can add tracking codes to your links so you can tell which links generated website traffic and what visitors did once they arrived on your website. If you don’t use Google Analytics tracking, you can still add custom tracking codes to your links.

Are you ready to add posts to the calendar? When you have an idea for a post, go to the CoSchedule calendar, click on the pencil icon for the date you want to publish the post and select the New Blog Post option.

Fill in your initial idea for the content, a proposed publish date, assign it to an author, select a category and assign a status. When you click Add Post, it’s added to your calendar.

adding a post to coschedule

Adding a new blog post to the editorial calendar is easy.

When you create an item, you can add comments and create tasks with or without due dates. For example, if a post is written, you can create a task for your editor to review it.

assigning tasks in coschedule

Assign tasks to team members to keep things moving along.

You can also schedule out your social sharing for the new post—even before the post is finished.

CoSchedule is a nice application with great functionality. I particularly like its social sharing capability because when you have a new blog post, sharing it once is generally not enough. With CoSchedule, you’re much more likely to set up additional sharing times.

#3: Create and Manage Multiple Calendars

(This review was based on DivvyHQ Version 2.)

DivvyHQ is an online content planning and production tool for high-volume teams. It isn’t tied to any blogging platform (not even WordPress), but it provides a range of editorial calendar functionality including the ability to create your content within the tool.

Like the other blog editorial calendar tools, DivvyHQ provides a calendar overview, team management and workflow assignment and tracking.

One difference you’ll find in DivvyHQ is that you aren’t limited to a single calendar. You can create several calendars and color-code them to keep them straight.

color options for calendars in divvyhq

When you create a calendar, you can assign a color to it.

Each calendar has a drag-and-drop feature and gives a high-level view of your publishing schedule. You even have the option to filter calendar posts based on who’s assigned to the post, etc.

Your calendar can display different types content: email, reports, video and much more. When you create content, just click the appropriate box related to what you’re writing.

content options in divvyhq

Select the type of content you want to use.

Team management is easy, because like the other tools, you can assign members tasks, roles and permissions.

Add team members to the relevant calendar and define their roles (which also defines their permissions). You can assign people to more than one calendar. For example, a member may be a contributor for one calendar and an editor for another.

Each blog calendar—whether written by a single person or a team—has its own workflow covering everything from coming up with topic ideas right through to publishing a post. You can track that flow using either DivvyHQ’s default workflow or creating your own.

The default workflow includes the Parking Lot (for ideas), Planned, In Production, Approved and Published.

workflow in divvyhq

DivvyHQ’s default workflow is simple.

If you want to create your own workflow, you can create workflow items and move them around with a simple drag and drop. As part of the workflow, you can define estimated times to complete each phase.

customized workflow options in divvyhq

Customize your own workflow and add items.

DivvyHQ’s content management feature is fully customizable and allows you to add fields to your content to indicate things like the target audience, blog categories, etc.

customizing content options in divvyhq

You can customize and manage your content strategy.

To add new content to the schedule, select the date you want to assign your content to and select Add New Item.

creating content ideas in divvyhq

Create the initial idea for the content.

Type in the summary, choose a suggested publish date, assign the post to a calendar, choose the type of content (e.g., blog post, video, report, email) and assign a team member to be responsible for it. You can save this content, add more detail to it or park it.

If you want to create your post right now, click Add Detail and you’ll see the full editor where you can start writing.

An important note about writing posts within DivvyHQ: While DivvyHQ offers a full editor, you can’t publish directly to platforms such as WordPress. DivvyHQ is working on a new version that includes this function. Once it’s released, you should be able to do all of your writing within the tool and publish to your preferred blog platform.

editing content in divvyhq

DivvyHQ’s full content editor lets you get down to business.

On the left side of the editor are various settings for the post (e.g., what calendar it belongs to, the content owner, who it’s assigned to, etc.).

You can also see the production schedule and check off list items as posts move into production. If you’ve set up any extra fields in the Content Strategy section, you’ll see them in the left toolbar as well.

If you or a team member has specific tasks to do, you can add them with the Add Task option.

assigning tasks in divvyhq

Create additional tasks for team members.

DivvyHQ is a nicely designed product with some great features. It is missing a few options, most notably not being able to publish directly to WordPress, no social sharing and no advanced reporting. But direct publishing and social sharing are coming very soon, so you can look forward to added value and usability.

Conclusion

No matter what size your writing team is, you need a blog editorial calendar tool to organize, track and plan your content. Workflow, team management, post ideas and creation all come together with the right tools.

What do you think? What blog editorial calendar tool do you use? What are the features you can’t live without? We’d love to hear your comments and advice below.

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About the Author, Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary is the social media tools guy for Social Media Examiner and founder of Razorsocial which provides expert information on social media tools. Download his social media tools guide. Other posts by »




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  • RMRStyle

    Ian Cleary is the man – he really knows his stuff! :)

    Great points made here, especially how this becomes more important as your team grows. When my business was just me – I could shoot from the hip. Now that I have a dozen employees, half of which are posting on Social media or writing content – having a calendar is the only thing that keeps me sane and my team from tripping on each other!

    Great job Ian – see you at NMX this year?

    Best,

    Antonio

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hey Antonio, great to see your team growing! Even with a small team it’s still really useful. Thank you so much for your feedback and hopefully see you at NMX. Ian

  • Vladimir

    I would also suggest Asana

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thank you.

  • http://socialthreesixty.com/ Chad Egeland

    Great stuff Ian!

    I absolutely love CoSchedule it has to be my favourite tool that I use right now. If you’re looking for another free WordPress editorial calendar their is a fantastic plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar that’s made by StressLimit (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/editorial-calendar/) it has a drag and drop interface and is easy to use.
    While not as powerful as CoSchedule it’s a great way to get more familiar with the editorial calendar process.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Great post Ian! I’m a huge fan of CoSchedule. It’s a great tool.

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Which of these are you using at Razor Social Ian?

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Stephanie, yes they are adding some great functionality and plenty more to come!

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hey Jeff, I use Editflow at the moment but I was tempted to move to Coschedule!

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Thanks Ian. I do like the fact that CoSchedule is a stand alone app.

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: World Cup Breaks Facebook Records, Google Legal Woes & Twitter Analytics

  • hugobarauna

    Thanks for the tips. At Plataformatec, we use Trello for our editorial calendar.

  • jo

    Are any of these compatible with Magento? Or is anyone using a blog/social media calender which integrates with magento?

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Chad.

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Hugo, Trello is a great tool also, thanks for sharing! Ian

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    You can try Divvyhq which can be used independent of the platform.

  • http://www.7eyetechnologies.com Kristina Roy

    I did not use CoSchedule till now. Even first time came through to this name. It will be really interesting to use it and check how it helps me to improve my blogging passion.

  • http://www.webdesigningcourse.in anupriya26

    Wonderful ways to manage editorial calendar for bloggers.

    Ian Cleary, really you have saved a lot of time for bloggers!

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Kristina.

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thank you, I hope so!

  • Emeric

    Great article as usual @iancleary:disqus ! I forwarded it to my team :-) We’ve tried edit flow and DivvyHQ but settled for Coschedule. DivvyHQ became way too expensive recently, at least for us, and edit flow is definitely not user friendly (especially for occasional guest bloggers). CoSchedule has done the job well for a very affordable cost ($40 fr 4 blogs!). I have 5 people writing for our blogs, and it makes managing their content a walk in the park. It used to be a nightmare!

  • http://www.probloggingsuccess.com/ Jane

    Hearing about Edit Flow for the first time! I am using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin at the moment and I am happy with it.

    I’m hearing a lot about Coschedule these days. Time to check it out. DivvyHQ looks really promising because it allows me to create multiple calendars. It would be a highly useful feature for a blogger like me who runs multiple blogs.

    Thanks for the list Ian :)

  • http://coschedule.com/blog Garrett Moon

    Thanks for all of your support Emeric! We are SO happy what we are saving your team some time and headache :)

  • http://coschedule.com/blog Garrett Moon

    We sure hope you check out CoSchedule Jane. Be sure to send us your feedback and thoughts :)

  • Emeric

    You’re welcome @garrettmoon:disqus !

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Yes Jane, they are all very good tools and each suitable for different scenarios!

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks for jumping in Garrett!

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    We just keep track of what’s going to be posted when inside Basecamp. I looked at CoSchedule before but found it kinda confusing.

  • http://www.socialimc.com Randy Hlavac

    Very nicely done. I really appreciate articles like this which gives me new tools to improve both the frequency and the quality of my blog articles. I will be telling my Northwestern social marketing students about it. Thanks

  • KristiGarrett

    I’ve been using CoSchedule for my new site, LittleGreenWheelbarrow.com, and BOY, does it save me bunches of time! It’s a pretty powerful tool. I can schedule all posts, move them around by just dragging to a different date, and send social messages right from the same dashboard. What a find!

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hey Scott, it’s getting better and better! Ian

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Randy.

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Great to hear Kristi!

  • Carson

    Just downloaded Edit Flow. It looks great!

  • Bean

    Thank you Ian, this is great info and exactly what I was looking for. Came at the perfect time.

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Bean

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Carson!

  • http://ghostblogger.co Lacy Boggs

    I’m a BIG fan of CoSchedule! It’s changed my content strategy for the better for sure.

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Thanks Lacy.

  • Owen Hemsath

    I really like coschedule but the link previews were a little inconsistent. I think it was not meshing well with another plugin.







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