As you’re creating an editorial calendar — you know, that thing that contains all of your upcoming content — you should keep a few questions in mind. This is by no means an exhaustive list (and I might add to it over time), but it’s a great starting point.
- Who is writing the content? You’ll need to make sure they can meet your schedule.
- Who is editing the content? Again, you’ll need to make sure they can work with your schedule.
- Who has control over the calendar? This is a good question to ask in case you make the schedule, but someone above (or below or around) you can change it around. Make sure both (or all) parties have strong communication skills and understand the need to keep everyone informed — you don’t want to find out by checking your website that something changed!
- Do you have a budget for this stuff? Do you need one? Get that secured before you start.
- What company culture elements might impact your schedule? For instance, can a product launch delay also delay your content? What does that look like? Do you need back-up alternatives? CAN you have back-up alternatives?
- What elements do you need for each piece of content? For example, do you need a product shot? If so, who does THAT? Make sure you understand all the processes for all your content elements before you begin.
- Who needs to sign off on the content? Anyone? Everyone? This is more a subset of culture, but I think it’s important enough to separate out — especially if you’re working with licensed properties. You MUST heed contractual terms with regards to approvals because you probably want to keep a good relationship going with that licensor, right?
- Does your content require IT help? Get all the IT stuff figured out before you start OF COURSE. (But sometimes people forget it takes time to get a website or other internet element set up properly…so I list it here!)
A good overview of the above that could cover all the bases is this:
Figure out what you need before you begin and then figure out how much time EACH of those things will take — including steps that add people and communication. Ask questions if you don’t know. Some things might not be easy to pin down in terms of time, so be patient with that, and, as you do with any process, change it to reflect the realities of your current work environment. It does nobody any good if you try to adhere to a calendar that contains impossibilities!
What questions do YOU ask yourself (or others) as you create your own editorial calendar?