Whether you’re an individual blogger or a member of a social media team, chances are you’d benefit from an editorial calendar.
Top Non Profit’s Free Editorial Calendar
I started using a free editorial calendar from TopNonProfits.com a year and a half ago. Initially, I used it to record posts after I wrote them, but last year, I used it to plan, and then record, the You-Can-Too series of posts (as well as all posts for eQuipping for eMinistry).
This free downloadable editorial calendar also has a second tab to store your ideas and any related links and a third tab with instructions. The color-coding occurs automatically.
The TopNonProfits.com editorial calendar comes in a “lite” and “campaign” version. You’ll likely just want the lite version for planning blog posts, but if you’re on a team planning a major campaign event, check out the second version for planning a large social media campaign. The rest of this post will be about the “lite” version.
If you think you would use this editorial calendar template every year, I recommend making a duplicate sheet. Save the original as it is so you are able to make a new sheet every year. At the start of a year, I do “Copy Sheet” and rename the copied tab to 2015 e4e calendar (or whatever the year is). You see in the image above, I have three tabs for three years (in green), then the original template, the tab for post ideas, and the tab with instructions.
I’ve also added some more columns in the calendar (because I’m too detailed for my own good). You should be fine with the values they’ve supplied, but you, too, can edit this calendar to make it your own. Delete columns K through M if you don’t need them or rename these to suit your purposes, such as to track information about photos you used or information about a guest blogger or a blog hop.
If you don’t know how to automatically fill in new dates in Excel:
- January first was a Thursday this year, so enter 1/1/2015 next to a Thursday.
- Delete any extra rows above that so this is the first row under the grey header.
- Enter 1/2/2015 in the next row down under column A.
- Select these two dates, putting your cursor over the + sign in the lower right corner.
- Drag down in the column and the dates will fill in.
- Next, to add all the weekdays, select one week and do the same kind of dragging. If you select more than seven cells, you’ll get different colors and days of the week.
I only do a month’s worth and repeat these steps near the end of each month. You can drag a year’s worth of dates if you prefer.
Free Editorial Calendar from Cru.org
The Cru.org social media team uses a different weekly calendar which may suit your needs better. (The last column, CTA, is Call To Action, or the response you hope to have from your social media campaign).
If you don’t know how to put a spreadsheet together, I made a rough copy of their calendar that you can download from Google Drive for your use.
- Here’s the Creative Commons link for the TopNonProfits.com’s editorial calendar.
- Cru.org’s editorial calendar for the social media team comes from a slide (#16 in the Powerpoint, Creating Content for Web & Social Media). I plan to post about this slide presentation, but don’t wait for me. Check out the slide presentation if you’d like to pick up a few tips for creating and planning content for social media.