How to Organize Your Content with an Editorial Calendar

blog editorial calendar trello

How to create an awesome editorial calendar for your blog with Trello | My Life as a Teacup #blogging

Editorial calendars are a necessary evil, but little did I know just how much organizing content plagues bloggers until it was the topic of Kayla Hollatz’s #createlounge just a few weeks ago!

Editorial calendars can range from a pen-and-paper planner to a color-coded Google calendar (and even a plain ol’ Excel spreadsheet, which I used back in the early days of My Life as a Teacup!) These methods all have their merits, but finding the system that helps you to plan, schedule, and organize all of your content outlets in one place can be a nightmare of a process.

Enter Trello.

Trello is a visual-based project management tool that lets you organize large projects in a number of ways. I initially dismissed it as an app geared toward collaboration (a feature of Trello I’ve grown to incorporate), but have since embraced it as my go-to editorial calendar.

My setup still isn’t perfect, but utilizing Trello has been the best thing for my blog! Here’s a peek at how I use it to manage my content across all of My Life as a Teacup’s channels.

An Overview of Your Media Channels

Setting up Trello “categories” will set the foundation for how you use your editorial calendar. There’s no right or wrong way to list these; it simply depends on what content you want to organize. My current categories are based on my main content outlets, and look a little something like this:

Create an Editorial Calendar That Works for You

Think about how you would divide up your content. What kinds of content do you create? A blogger might include a ‘blog post’ stack, as well as a ‘newsletter’ stack to plan how content will be divvied up between the two. If you create video tutorials or content, a ‘Youtube’ stack might be fitting. Youtube has been a big area for me; I pencil in what reviews I have in my queue, as well as that month’s 5 Fandom Friday topics (but obviously if you don’t use Youtube you can skip this stack altogether.)

If you record podcasts, you could start a stack for your planned episodes. Create a list for Instagram content you want to publish, if that’s a key component of your brand. The possibilities are endless.

Micromanaging Your Content

Each of the white squares you see in the stacks above are referred to as ‘cards’ in Trello. But organizing a card into a themed stack isn’t super helpful on its own. Trello lets you go further by integrating individualized management features into each card.

Manage blog posts and content with Trello

Due date — Exactly as it sounds.

Description — Add reminders and notes to yourself or even use the space to draft your post.

Subtasks — You all know this is my favorite part! Trello lets you create a checklist so that you can break down each card into smaller subtasks and check them off as you complete them.

Labels — My second favorite feature; you can set up a series of color-coded labels to mark each card. Currently, I use them to indicate what stage my content is in, from draft to scheduled. You have full customization over what your labels say and how you use them.

Activity — This is a great feature if you’re collaborating with another blogger or are part of a larger group. I don’t personally use this status update-like feature much, but it’s been helpful when Marissa of Ampersand Creative and I are working on a project together.

When you’ve done all you want to do with your post, or ‘card’, simply hit ‘archive’ and Trello will clear the completed task from your busy blog calendar.

With so many customization options, this is the part of Trello that really lets you configure your calendar in a way that suits your needs.

Social Media Scheduling

One common worry many #createlounge-goers expressed is the difficulty of incorporating social media planning into their content calendars. Some bloggers are adamantly against planning social media, usually because it can feel contrived or is too hard to organize, but I’m going to argue for creating an editorial calendar for your social media just like you would for your blog posts.

On one hand, some social media can’t be scheduled. Take reader interactions and Twitter, for instance. It’s impossible to know to whom and about what you’ll want to respond, so that form of social media isn’t conducive to being scheduled. You’ll just have to reply on the fly.

But there is plenty of social media that you can schedule to maximize your readers’ interactions and free up your time, all without feeling disingenuous.

Personally, I identify the types of social media I want to engage in each week, which typically includes at least one of each of the following: retweet, share someone’s link, promote a new post, recycle an old post, engage a follower, ask a question, etc.

From that list, I’ll simply add each task to Wunderlist so that I can check off each as I complete it. For the new content that I plan to promote, I’ll include a subtask in that post’s Trello card that outlines how and where I want to promote it, like so:

Use Trello as a social media calendar

It’s easier for me to associate the promotion of the new post with the post itself, while for other social media I prefer to set a recurring task reminder through something like Wunderlist. You could easily plan your social media endeavors differently, either through Trello (e.g. set up a separate column just for ‘Instagram’ plans) or another service, but I’m fond of my current method.

Month At a Glance

Trello's calendar view helps you schedule blog content

My favorite feature, by far, is Trello’s calendar view. Enabling just a few settings allows you to see your content in a true schedule-like format, which is great for visually seeing how your posts are organized over time. It’s easy to drag and drop cards to different dates on your calendar, making this a valuable feature for planning posts and making sure that you’re not leaving your readers in a content drought.

Whether you’re a pen-and-paper planner (byRegina’s Epic Blog planner is incredible!) or prefer organizing your content calendar digitally, there are virtually endless options out there for creating and maintaining an editorial calendar. And even within each type — take Trello, for instance — there are a variety of configurations you can use to set up your calendar in a way that’s best for you and your content. Test out some different systems and see what works for you!

Consider your own editorial calendar. If you don’t currently use one, why not? If you do, can you think of one thing you can do to improve your content organization or plan your social media?

  • Productivity posts are my jam! Love this one.

    I basically use your same system with Trello! Instead of the NovelTea and YouTube stacks I have the Middle-earth News and Travelling Geek Show ones (because I write on both sites on regular basis). I also have a Published stack where I drag all my published posts, I don’t archive them (yet) because I like to see them in the Calendar to have a big picture of my work.

    In case you’re interested, my editorial calendar is a custom version of the board/template shared by Kara of Boho Berry: http://bit.ly/1TZjWMJ

    • Thank you!

      The calendar is GREAT for a big-picture view, and I need to see that too. Especially if there is content your posting for different sites. Keeps it all together but separate, strangely enough.

      Woah, I love Kara’s “In Progress” column! I might have to make some tweaks to my Trello board already! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I still use my daily planner to schedule my blog posts as well as all the other things in my life (business, errands, dates with my girls, etc.) My planner is clustered. I may need to try Trello if I want to take blogging seriously. Also, I’m eye-ing a linkup on your schedule! Haha I’m totally going to join 😉

    Dara | Hola Darla | @DarlaOct

    • I tried doing it all in my planner, and yeah, it got really cluttered too! Find a system that works, Trello or otherwise, and roll with it 🙂

      Oh boy, which link up? There’s lots I’m excited about coming up!

  • Kay

    This is pretty much exactly how I set up my scheduling, only in pen and paper form! I’m really liking my planner’s setup, and how it allows me the room I need for everything. I guess at some point, I should join the 21st century and convert to digital! I think probably when I get my own laptop (once our current desk top bites it).

    • Pen & paper works too! Don’t feel digital pressure, but I will say I do love this method 🙂

  • Oh wow, so organised! I’ve been scribbling things down on spare scraps of paper, but I’m going to give something like this a try!

    • Hey, spare pieces of paper work just fine too, but sometimes it’s nice to have it all in one place (where it can’t blow away!)

  • I’ve been hesitating incorporating Trello into my organization routine, but the way you present it makes it very appealing.

    • When I was first introduced to Trello, I was hesitant to use it too. I tried a few times, with no luck and just kind of gave up on it. It took a while to come up with a plan that made me not only remember to use it, but excited. I hope it works for you! But if it doesn’t, not worries; do what works best 🙂

  • Amy

    I use Trello as my editorial calendar (when I have time to keep up with it!) and it’s great, lots of useful features. At one point I even started using it when I was editing my novel as it gave me another way to organise the extra scenes I needed to work on.

    • Using Trello to edit a novel sounds like a GREAT idea, Amy! I’m really curious as to how that would play out. Planning on doing a post some day? 🙂

      • Amy

        Might be an idea! I always did mean to do one about Trello but never quite got round to it 🙂

  • I absolutely love how you broke this down. I have been thinking about signing up again for CoSchedule, but I already use another program for a large part what they do and I hate redundancy. I’m thinking Trello could really be a game-changer for me. Currently I stick to paper and pen planning because it’s stickier for me, but I’m always looking for new ways to do things!

    • Thanks, Angelica! CoSchedule has been on my radar too, but redundancy is certainly not needed. Trello works for me, but pen & paper gets the job done too!

  • Hi Kristin! Love this post, and I love seeing how others use Trello to manage their editorial calendar! I’ve been doing the same for some time now and it has been a godsend for sure! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kara! Trello has been such a beast when it comes to organizing editorial plans. I don’t know what I did before it!