A blog is a great platform to share your ideas and build a strong community around your brand. But to get to that point, you’ll need to publish content that adds value and impacts your audience consistently. How do you stick to a blogging schedule while finding fresh ideas to write about?
What you need is an editorial calendar. This is a useful tool to help you brainstorm, plan, and publish consistent and relevant content on your blog over a span of time. With several months’ worth of content ideas in place, you won’t have as much difficulty figuring out what to publish, when to publish, and how to stick to your blog schedule.
Ready to set up your very own editorial calendar? In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a working editorial calendar with Asana, a free yet powerful project management tool you can use to consistently stay on top of your blog content.
Step 1: Create a Workspace for Your Editorial Team and Calendar
Let’s imagine that you are Editor-in-Chief of your blog and you have a team of 2–3 writers planning and creating content with you.
The first step is to create a workspace, which is where you will house your team editorial calendar and manage every aspect of your content strategy. For example, you would be planning and scheduling content for your blog, guest content on other blogs, and your social media promotions.
To do this, head on over to the Asana sidebar and click on My Overview. Scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar and click the + Add New button to create a new workspace.
Once you’re workspace is ready, invite each person on your editorial staff to be a member of the workspace. You can choose to add a person as a Workspace Member (has full privileges over the workspace) or a Workspace Guest (limited to just the projects shared with them). Just enter the member’s email address to add them to the workspace.
Tip: If you’re the sole author of your blog, you can simplify things by skipping Workspaces and jumping right to creating projects under Personal Projects, the default workspace provided once you register for an account. With this, you’ll still be able to set up a working editorial calendar, which we’ll cover in detail later in the tutorial.
Step 2: Create a Project for Each Content Type That Aligns With Your Blog’s Strategy
With your workspace in place, it’s time to translate editorial information into project information on Asana.
On the Asana sidebar and below the team calendar is the Projects section where you can create new projects and/or edit existing project settings. For this tutorial, let’s create a project for three different content types: blog content, guest content, and social content.
To do this, click on the + button and name your project. Choose a project color so that each task under that particular project will be highlighted on the team calendar, making it easy to identify.
At this point, you would be filling out each project with post topics or themes to publish, pitch to guest blogs, or promote on social media. Let’s first focus on adding tasks to the the Blog Content project.
Step 3: Create Sections for Different Post Statuses
As the EIC of your blog, you want the best and most relevant topics to be published and shared to your readers. Your team may pitch 10–20 post topics and themes that you will have to go through, so you want to categorize these posts as “Author Pitches” or “Pitched” topics.
For added organisation, you can segregate posts by status using section headings. To create one, navigate to the top-right side of the task menu bar, click New and choose New Section :. Another way to do this is to hit the Enter key, type the task name and a colon at the end.
Once you’ve created a section, label it as Pitched for post topics and themes that need to be evaluated or discussed with the team. You can then place approved topics and themes under another section heading labeled Approved and rejected topics under Rejected. Finally, post topics that are being written or edited would be moved to a new section heading labeled In Progress.
Step 4: Add and Assign New and Upcoming Post Topics
Now that we’ve got the structure of your editorial calendar in place, it’s time to fill it with posts!
To begin, activate List view on the task center pane and fill each project with as many relevant post topics and themes as you can come up with. For every new post idea, create a task by hitting the Enter key and label it with the working title of the post you would like to write and publish on your blog.
You can also use tags to pin each post type with a respective blog category or theme (e.g. Tutorials, Book Reviews, How-tos). This allows you to easily filter your task list and to see how many posts have been published under that blog category.
Once you have a running list of post topics, assign it to a member who will write and edit the post. There are two ways to do this:
- On the task center pane, click on the Assignee icon in between the check box and the task name. Type the name of the member to assign to or click Assign to Me if you’re assigning it to yourself.
- Use the Tab key to toggle the task details. Once activated, hit Tab + A to select an assignee for the task.
Step 5: Assign a Due Date to the Task
Visit the Team Calendar and you’ll see that none of the tasks you’ve just created are visible to you or anyone on the team. This is because it lacks a due date, an essential piece of information for Asana to display your tasks on the calendar.
The due date can mean two things: a post’s deadline or the day the post goes live on your blog. Whichever you prefer, the purpose of the due date is to ensure that each post is written and prepared according to your chosen publishing schedule.
To assign a due date to a task, open a task’s details using the Tab key again and use the keyboard shortcut Tab + D to toggle the due date selector. Select a workable due date and your task will appear on the said date once you switch to the Calendar view.
For recurring posts (e.g. sponsored posts on a Friday), you can use recurring tasks to save you the trouble of copy-pasting the same information on every week. After toggling the due date selector, click on the Repeat button beside it and choose the frequency (daily, periodically, weekly, monthly, or yearly) for the post.
Finally, you can drag and drop tasks to move due dates around the team calendar. This comes in handy whenever you need to make room for timely posts, such as news flashes and blog announcements. This also enables you to adjust in case you or a writer on your team won’t be able to work on the post scheduled for that day or week.
What I’ve provided is just one of the many ways you can use Asana to set up a functional editorial calendar for your blog. If you prefer to use section headings for your blog categories or tags for post status updates, feel free to do so.
Overall, having an editorial calendar in place gives you a bird’s eye view of your blog’s content while keeping to a consistent publishing routine. Your readers can always look forward to your posts, making you more accountable to how often and what kinds of posts to publish.
So, what’s keeping you from creating an editorial calendar for your blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.