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Content Management

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your College Website

editorial calendarAn editorial calendar keeps you focused and on track. It helps you plan ahead so that you can better manage time and resources, and it gives you a way to identify and manage topics you want to cover. Best of all, it provides your content contributors with a roadmap so that they also know what changes to website content are forthcoming. 

Why implement a website content calendar?

Use a content calendar to:

  • Keep track of deadlines when major site features should be refreshed.
  • Organize new content rotation so that you know what content needs to be ready for key positions within your website.
  • Note when pages are ready for site review.
  • Designate responsibility for new content development and routine reviews.
  • Allocate which content topics should be published on various platforms.
  • Identify audiences that your content should address.
  • Maintain brand consistency.
  • Stay accountable and productive.

Your editorial calendar doesn’t have to be complicated: In fact, the easier it is to create, read, and understand, the more likely you will use it and keep it up to date.

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1. Decide the format for your calendar.

Will you use a spreadsheet or an actual calendar to manage your editorial content? A spreadsheet such as the example shown below from Lock Haven University allows you to include other details such as authors, deadlines, and descriptions in separate cells so that you can sort these as needed. If you use a monthly calendar, you can include these same details on the actual day you want your content published.

Lock Haven University editorial calendar
The editorial calendar for Lock Haven University is laid out on an easy-to-ready spreadsheet.

 

Workflow software such as Wrike can help you manage your editorial calendar online and includes features that allow you to toggle between views. These programs allow you to manage and view various stages in your content workflow. They also allow other contributors to access and edit your editorial calendar.

The University of South Florida has a style sheet for their editorial plans that includes everything from publication dates to acceptable topics for various platforms.

2. Brainstorm content.

Whether you are the sole producer of content or the content manager, the strength of your editorial calendar will benefit from campus-wide input. Likewise, you will want to compare your content topics to the overall mission of your college or university to ensure that you are furthering your school’s mission through the content you publish.

If you need ideas for content, check out publications produced by academic associations as well as what your competitors are publishing on their platforms. Also consider your school’s calendar year and develop content accordingly. For example, August content typically features how to apply to your school and back-to-school content.

3. Assign tasks.

Decide who will create and produce content, who will be responsible for editing, and who will oversee its publication. Delineate these various tasks within your editorial calendar so that each person can see where they fit in the content creation workflow. Other tasks to consider include research, drafting, gathering graphics and images, editing, optimizing content, and promoting content.

4. Set attainable deadlines for each step.

Be reasonable in setting deadlines, but also make it clear that deadlines should be met. If there are multiple people in your content workflow, make sure there are deadlines assigned for each step.

5. Consolidate your content calendars.

Managing one content calendar allows you to see all content on multiple platforms. You’ll be able to identify where you can repurpose content and what ads to run to boost your content’s success. Be sure to delete all other calendars so that everyone involved in content creation is on the same page—literally.

6. Set a specific time each week to review and edit your calendar.

Get into the habit of reviewing content on a consistent basis. You’ll stay up to date on what content is to be published and be able to identify kinks in your editorial flow that might need to be addressed sooner than later.

Conclusion

Quality content aides in search engine optimization and attracts the right audience to your website. Creating an editorial calendar helps you plan for, organize, and manage your school’s content with ease.

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