This month, your agency’s team has brainstormed the best sites for a client’s guest post. This post will be by-lined by the client’s CEO. It’s going to be huge. The ideal sites have high-traffic. And the blog post is great, so witty, well-written. Readers will love it.
But what’s the plan? Where is the team going to track the progress of content? Oh, yes, a spreadsheet! Better rethink that, though!
The Basics of an Editorial Calendar App
“Spreadsheets are fine”…we know this is what you’re thinking right now! Your agency has used spreadsheets forever. They’re familiar. Basic. So easy. But they’re also so cumbersome. The team has to manually update them constantly. And, if you’re looking for up-to-date details on big projects like that guest post, a spreadsheet has too many holes.
No, not literal holes. Although, one of your team members might have forgotten to add a column to track feedback from those sites you’re targeting. So that is a pretty big hole!
There are too many ways spreadsheets can lose information. And most teams have way too many spreadsheets. And what about access to the spreadsheet? Does everyone have permission to see it? The team needs to be on the same page.
An editorial calendar app provides agencies with tools to create customized editorial calendars for each client. An app allows for the calendar to look like an actual calendar. While a spreadsheet is flat and one-dimensional, editorial calendars built within these apps have layers of data.
The best part? No incessant horizontal scrolling! You know what we’re talking about. It’s so frustrating when you can’t see all the data you need, and scrolling for that data may mean the agency loses visibility of other pertinent data.
Let’s look at the dimensions of an editorial calendar created via an editorial calendar app.
The Three-Dimensional Calendar: Three Layout Options Provide Different Vantage Points
Using an editorial calendar app—like Gryffin!—is really just a small feature of a larger project management program. The editorial calendar is a workspace within the project management program.
With an editorial app function, the view of the calendar can be changed. So if the agency really loves the scrolling features of a spreadsheet—maybe this is just too familiar to let go—then you can view the calendar as a spreadsheet.
However, the calendar also can be viewed as an actual calendar. This gives team members the opportunity to really see the overview of tasks for the entire month. Can everyone see the same calendar? Yes. However, some users may not be able to open another team member’s tasks. Managers can set their own permissions for who can view what items.
The calendar also can be seen in a Kanban view on Gryffin. This layout organizes the calendar into separate categories based on workflows. Once you select a workflow, you can see all of the projects belonging to every status.
Viewing in Kanban lets managers easily understand the status of every project. These different vantage points of the same data provide a three-dimensional understanding of content. The spreadsheet gives a basic scroll-through understanding of the data, the calendar view lets the team see the data for the month and Kanban lets team members audit specific areas of a task.
Within this 3D setup, there are even more layers of data. So how do you build the internal organization of your editorial calendar?
Let’s Build an Editorial Calendar!
Building the calendar is like constructing your content home. The first step to creating an editorial calendar is to brainstorm the ideas for content. This means thinking up all the article ideas for the week or month.
With Gryffin, the editorial templates (the three layouts) are already included. All the team has to do is start adding data. Adding a new project will bring up a form that can be completed about the project. This data includes:
- Assigned to
- Scheduled to publish
- Article type (SEO, Landing Post, etc.)
- Document URL
- Relevant links
- Live post URL
What does this all mean? The team chooses the title for the project or task. Then the article can be assigned to a specific writer. If the team knows when they want to take the article live, they enter that date. The form also has sections for notes (this is where managers can give directions to writers/editors), length, article type and other details. Entering a document URL creates the Google document for the writer.
So setting up each task is really simple. The team simply fills out a form, and then the task is featured on the editorial calendar. The task (or article assignment) appears on the calendar as a link. At any time, the team can click the task for more data. And this is how the layers of the calendar take shape!
Getting Started with your Editorial Strategy
Creating an editorial strategy is different for every agency. Teams should consider the persona, buying stage, news hook, themes, holidays and keywords when brainstorming content.
Obviously, SEO and those keywords factor heavily into an article’s position on search engines. This means that agencies will need to research which key words in their client’s industry are ranking high. These are the words that can be assigned to appear in articles.
However, the buying stage also is key when positioning and creating content. Writers have to know the aim of the article. Is it directed to someone who has already made a purchase? Or perhaps someone who is considering a purchase? The buying stage makes a difference. And, yes, the buying stage data absolutely can be included in the task data, too. Agencies can add it into individual task pages, and the data can be viewed when clicking the task from within the calendar.
Holidays are great for content. When in doubt, theme for the holidays! This could include holiday shopping ideas, what to do during the holidays, industry holiday trends…and so much more!
Themes help strengthen content, too. Themes could include industry trends, seasonal stories, back-to-school content, etc. The client’s industry might inspire themes, too. Newsjacking ideas are those related to stories in the news. It’s always powerful to connect articles to whatever is trending in the media.
Tracking all the Moving Pieces
After the agency decides on an editorial strategy, and all the stories or content ideas are logged into the calendar, it’s time to track all the pieces.
At a glimpse, the editorial calendar can give team members an understanding as to where all those pieces are positioned. Of course, due dates, writer availability, and SEO details also can be viewed through the calendar with just a click.
Setting up Editorial Workflows
When the team creates a task for the editorial calendar, they also can assign editorial workflow for that task. This is yet another layer within the three-dimensional calendar.
An article can be scheduled to go through multiple stages before publication. These stages may differ by task, and an editorial calendar app like Gryffin allows for workflow customization. An SEO article may be assigned to a writer, completed, sent to the editor for review, then on to the client, and, finally, approved for publication. However, the workflow won’t be completed until the final task is checked.
The editorial calendar on Gryffin lets agencies track all the pieces, but it also lets agencies pull up tracking for SEO ranking. Clicking on keywords can bring up data on how those words are ranking, how the page is ranking and if the traffic has increased, decreased or just remained similar.
If the page is failing miserably, the agency knows immediately! And they can change the page! That’s right…if the numbers are falling, and if keywords are performing horribly, then Gryffin lets the agency create an experiment to try out new keywords and then analyze the outcome. Did the new keywords improve performance? The agency can assess the results!
The features and benefits of an editorial calendar app are expansive. Gryffin’s three-dimensional layout provides your agency with unique vantage points to review project and task status. And layers of data let team members review all the necessary components of each task. Try out all the features in Gryffin’s editorial calendar app! Sign up for a free trial today!