Darina Murashev

How to Build a Team-Based Editorial Calendar from Scratch

By: Darina Murashev | July 12, 2018 | 
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How to Build a Team-Based Editorial Calendar from ScratchCreating engaging content that converts is easier said than done.

Whether you are a one-person show or leading an editorial team, the first step should always be a game plan for organizing, scheduling, and editing content for your blog and social media platforms.

For many content marketing professionals, developing an editorial calendar is a good start.

However, if you’d rather develop a content marketing strategy that excites your readers and motivates your team, you’ll need a team-based content calendar.

Benefits of a Team-Based Editorial Calendar

Much like traditional content calendars, team-based content calendars can help you track important content factors: what and when you’ll publish, who will do the publishing, and where you’ll publish.

In many ways, your team-based content calendar will look and behave like a regular editorial calendar.

But by creating a content strategy incorporating team strengths, you can tap into more of the creativity on offer.

  • Increased reader engagement.A team calendar enables you to select writers who are excited about the content they produce. Your audience will take notice.
  • More accurate or informative content.Use the calendar to assign topics to knowledgeable writers, rather than whoever is available. Your readers will benefit from informative, helpful content that can help them tackle their problems.
  • Easier content delivery and scheduling.By incorporating your team’s personal schedules or commitments, you’ll ensure deadlines are always attainable. And it can help you track the best times to assign and schedule content, so your team always delivers.

Consider these three team factors when building a content calendar which benefits your writers and audience.

If you already have a content or editorial calendar, try one or all of these tips to drive your editorial strategy in a new direction.

For a Fresh Perspective, Tap Their Interests

At its core, your content team is a collection of professionals with hobbies, habits, and interests.

Your team works best when they’re able to unite their dynamic personalities and skills toward the desired end.

(In this case, that goal is creating the best content possible for your blog, website, or social media channels.)

For many publications or companies, your content team may also be part of your audience.

They may read the company blog, use company services or products, or regularly operate within company industries.

Tap into their interests for a fresh perspective on topics that are relevant, important, and interesting to your audience.

One way to incorporate team interests into your content strategy is to brainstorm together.

A structured, encouraging brainstorming session involves your entire team in the content creation process.

And it can help you discover topics or conversations you might otherwise have missed.

Scheduling regular brainstorming sessions each quarter, month, or year ensure you’re keeping in touch with your team.

Regular sessions also help employees feel more comfortable with contributing to editorial strategy or suggesting new ways to create better content.

Depending on the focus of your blog, you may not always generate related or usable ideas from your team brainstorming session, and that’s okay.

Use creative mind-mapping techniques to explore subtopics or subpoints to develop targeted content or put an original spin on popular subjects.

Try it:To incorporate your employee’s interests into the editorial calendar, hold a team brainstorming session where anything goes. Ask your team critical questions about what they’d like to write about, what they think the blog should cover, or how they would improve popular or outdated content. Don’t be afraid to explore new trends or revisit old ideas for inspiration.

Play to Their Strengths

Every employee has something to contribute—professional expertise, a sharp eye, or unique insight.

If you’ve been working with your team awhile, you know their strengths and weaknesses: what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, and tasks they struggle with (or hate).

Incorporate this knowledge into the content calendar to keep track of appropriate tasks and responsibilities.

If you’re new to the team or work on your own, do an assessment to reveal strengths and weaknesses you may have missed.

Team up with human resources to coordinate an assessment test or review any taken during the hiring process.

And reach out to your team and ask them to indicate strengths or weaknesses they think they have.

Review whatever new information or notes you gather.

Find trends in their daily or overall performance, such as tasks or responsibilities they volunteer for or are assigned to complete.

Be sure to note particular tasks they enjoy.

Look for skills or industry experience which other team members may not possess. These could be copywriting skills, web analytics knowledge, or CRM proficiency.

Not every employee will feel capable or experienced enough to complete specific tasks. That’s okay, too.

Challenges are a big part of what helps us grow as professionals and as people.

Play to their strengths when it makes sense, but give team members room to explore and challenge themselves as well.

Either way, allowing them input on topics, tools, and processes they understand best can help you execute content strategy with ease.

Try it: Invite employees to supply a list of strengths and weaknesses. Note tasks or responsibilities each team member excels in, enjoys, or struggles to complete. Compare differences between self-identified strengths and weaknesses and what you notice. Consider your notes when developing content workflows, assigning tasks, or measuring strategy performance.

Be Cognizant of Their Schedules

Traditional editorial calendars help with content scheduling, including when to set deadlines or post content.

Many content marketing professionals develop these schedules to increase reader engagement, grow their audience, or keep up with the news cycle.

However, releasing content is often a multipronged effort dependent on team members with their own schedules and time commitments.

From start to end, content will pass through the hands (or inboxes) of your writers, editors, fact checkers, quality control professionals, social media managers, and more.

If the schedule is too rigid, complicated, or demanding, you could be hindering the potential of your content—and the professionals that create it.

Instead of fitting the team into your calendar, try fitting your calendar to the team.

Do you have a team full of early birds or night owls?

Schedule important tasks when they are more likely to be active.

If a critical team member has regular time commitments, schedule important deadlines around them.

If you manage a remote team or have remote members, keep their schedules in mind. As you’re planning, ensure they can attend meetings, complete tasks, and communicate with you as necessary.

Your employees will have a better idea of their usual (or preferred) schedules. And you should expect them to update you as things shift.

Try it:Request a copy of employee work schedules. This will give you a clear idea of their time commitments, deadlines, and responsibilities. (You can do this in person or with a calendar application such as Google Calendar or Outlook.) Review this information when assigning time-sensitive tasks, creating deadlines, or scheduling content in advance. Add important notes or events to your work calendar to keep track of daily commitments.

The Editorial Calendar Affects Everyone

Your editorial calendar affects every member of your team—so why not incorporate what matters most to them?

Tap into their interests, experiences, and availability to improve content flow and effectiveness among your readers.

Center the content team’s input and you’ll develop an editorial calendar benefiting your employees, your company, and your audience.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

About Darina Murashev


Darina Murashev is a freelance writer from Chicago, now based in Salt Lake City. She writes about tech, money, career building and data science. She enjoys travel, live music, and spending time in the great outdoors.

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