Excel may do the trick when you’re busting out the content on your own, but if you’ve grown from a solo to small or medium-sized business with a focus on content production, a solid editorial calendar platform isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. By now you’ve heard the phrase “content is king” (PS – nah.
), and as a savvy business owner you’re churning out the content for your blog, YouTube channel, and various social networks across your digital footprint. Naturally you’ll need a place to organize it all, especially if you’ve got contributors helping you out.
Like I said, Excel (
) is a great place to start, but what if you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated? There are software platforms out there that can help you get a handle on all of your content efforts and help you plan ahead so you’re not rushing to get out that holiday gift guide in mid-December. (You have remembered to do a gift guide, right?)
Here, we take look at four of my favorite calendaring tools that are simple to use and easy on the wallet. What are you using to organize your content?
Free to use, the beauty of simplicity lies in Google Calendars. Not only can you collaborate with other members of your editorial team, but you can add notes, set times and dates for when you’d like the content to be published, and links to any images or reference articles. Great for those just starting up, you can even create multiple calendars for different subjects, verticals, networks, or conversation touchpoints.
If you’re already using Wordpress for your blogging needs, check out the free editorial calendar plugin that gives you a high level view of what’s on deck to be published and when. You can even drag and drop posts into new dates to reschedule and edit the post right from the calendar. And since you can add authors to your blog within Wordpress, this calendar is also collaborative. Smart!
One of the more affordable paid editorial and content management platforms out there, Divvy is super simple to use and highly collaborative in nature. Shared calendars, task assignments, workflows, and even something called a “Parking Lot” which houses your team’s great ideas, even if they’re not needed now, are all part of this platform. Only drawback? You must assign everything to a date when adding to a calendar, which makes showcasing overall themes and marketing initiatives (that aren't associated with a piece of content) a bit of a sticking point.
One of my favorite platforms so far, Marketing.AI seems to have been developed by an editorial director since it comes with all the features you might want in this kind of software. Plus, it kinda looks like a Google Calendar which makes it really easy to read. You can draft, schedule and publish posts to your blog or social networks right from the calendar, and within each content piece, there’s a place for themes, keywords, hashtags, influencers to target, content types, due and target dates (a big BIG plus), and the ability to add to one or more calendars to the platform overall. If you’re digging deep into content marketing, you can even identify your buyer personas, cycle stages, target industries, and conversion goals. Even better, there’s analytics to go with all of these features so you can track your successes and failures. Let’s be honest – there will be a few bummers along the way so get ready to learn from them. Marketing.AI has paid plans that start at $39 a month and a free plan if you’re still ridin’ solo.