Make An Editorial Calendar

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February 2, 2017 by Kathryn Kuttis


Content creation can happen anywhere you are. Sometimes ideas flow easily. When they do, I say make an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is a way to organize and plan content. It can be jotted down on a scrap of paper or carefully mapped out. Once complete it serves as a map of the topics you plan to cover over a specified period of time.

Traditional media have long used editorial calendars to plan ahead and coordinate content with advertisers. Bloggers and social media managers use them to keep posts consistent and relevant to their audience. This article from Entrepreneur has tips for how to build an editorial calendar and links to online tools (in case you want to make yours client ready).

While advanced planning can be an effective way to stay focused, you don’t need to follow an editorial calendar if current news events carry you elsewhere. We know readers prioritize what’s new. Ideally you’ll be able to tie the scheduled topic with what’s happening in the news.

When appropriate topic development should include universally recognized moments that create common ground with your audience. For example, Valentine’s Day, the Oscars, Martin Luther King Day and the presidential inauguration are all recent events that were on someone’s editorial calendar.

Still not convinced? Here are three reasons to create an editorial calendar for your blog:

  1. Minimize writer’s block.
  2. Keeps content consistent.
  3. Considers the big picture.

It’s also worth noting that new employers and clients like to see an editorial calendar to make sure everyone is on the same page with content. A plan that fits with your overall goal is usually the most convincing.

This week students in J452 created editorial calendars for their blogs. The best ones will use research to connect with relevant trends and events occurring over the next five weeks. Trade publications like Ragan Report, Odwyer’s and the Holmes Report  are the quickest way to stay up on industry news and major events that might impact the direction of blog content.

Of course, you don’t have to use the editorial calendar but it’s always nice to have one just in case.

See if your calendar ideas fit with any of the kernels for this week:

Oprah Winfrey, 60 Minutes’ Newest Special Correspondent, Is Exactly What America Needs (wmagazine) Can Oprah recast journalism and save the media’s reputation? What is  it about her approach as a broadcast journalist that makes her so effective at audience connection?

As a Muslim player at the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu can’t avoid immigration ban debate ( How do celebrity athletes manage the media and stay on their own message? What’s a player to do when they don’t want to speak out?

A Syrian Doctor with a Visa is Suing the Trump Administration (New Yorker) How is the US breaking trust with travelers? How does communication play a role in the ban on travelers and the response to it?

Can Logitech’s New Remote Make You A Better Presenter? (Fast Company) How important are presentation skills for PR? What are some tips for improving your presentation skills?

Beyonce Announces She Is Pregnant With Twins (Rolling Stone) Is how you announce something as important as the announcement? Has social media taken over for the press conference? If it has, what’s missing?

‘Divestment is our goal’: Seattle City Council to vote on pulling $3 billion from Wells Fargo over Dakota Access Pipeline  (Seattle Times) When it comes to environmental concerns activism includes a balance of communication, finance and legislation. What is Seattle doing right in their fight against the DAPL?

6 social media mistakes that communicators are still making ( As you look to expand your social media footprint this are these tips useful? What mistakes do you brands making online? How can you help your readers employ social media

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Millennials Are Making With Their Money (Forbes) Sometimes telling your audience something they don’t want to hear can be the most helpful. What’s your knowledge of finance? Are you willing to unpack this for your readers?

PR Decisions Require More than Gut Instincts (PRWeek) How do PR professionals help organizations to be more responsible decision makers? What are ethical guidelines?

Mental health and stigma: ‘You’re not alone’(BBC) What campaigns are working to combat stigma around mental health issues? Do these have a history of success? What makes them effective?

Appease or oppose? How the world’s nations are reacting to Trump (Guardian) What can we learn from other countries as they respond to swift changes in US policy. How has Mexico and China been thrown on the defensive. How does communication work to shape policy and diplomacy?

Former vice president Biden to launch charitable foundation (Washington Post) How does a new nonprofit establish a connection with its key audiences? Did timing play an important role in this announcement?

DataSift and LinkedIn: A new angle for social media analytics (ZD Net) How are analytics evolving. What do the shifts mean for PR and social media monitoring? What opportunities are ahead?




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If you share an interest in public relations, media and visual design, this might be a good place for you to hang out. I started this blog to exchange ideas with my students at the University of Oregon. They keep me (and maybe you too) at the forefront of social media, visual communication and career development. Here you'll find our best ideas, links and learning as we write, create and blog our way through a course on Strategic PR Communication.

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