How to create an editorial calendar to propel your community to new heights


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Last week we covered the many benefits in working with an Editorial Calendar when managing an online community. In this article I will explain how to actually develop this calendar, provide examples of what you could add to it and offer a special bonus – your very own print-and-keep sample editorial calendar.

So, let’s get started…

The first step is to figure out how frequent you want to be creating regular events or editorial initiatives for your members to participate in.

Then you need to decide how far into the future your editorial calendar is going to go – a month? 3 months? A year? I personally operate on a 3-month basis as it fits with other business calendars running quarterly, and makes it easier to leverage those for ideas.

Now it’s time to brainstorm ideas on what your initiatives are going to be. Cross-reference any other departmental schedules and see whether you can link up with them. Scope out cultural events you could use as a launchpad for a themed week. Think about what your membership would be interested in. Even better, ask them!

Building the Calendar itself

There are probably a few tools you could use to do this, but I find myself always returning to Excel for the planning, and Google Calendar (or your work’s calendaring system) for timely reminders of what events are coming up.

For the sake of this article I’ll stick to Excel. Label the first columns by days or weeks, depending on how granular you want it, and the top row with something like “Type”, “Name”, “Assets”, and “Dependencies”.

  • Type will be the sort of initiative it will be. I’ll cover some example below, but they are essentially categories of recurring events.
  • Name is the actual name of the event.
  • Assets covers any images, videos, or other information you need to build or run the event, which you need to acquire or are relying on someone else to provide.
  • Dependencies provide any link to other events either on the calendar, or run by other people or teams. If the dependency doesn’t go ahead, you might want to reconsider running your event.

Now start adding the ideas you brainstormed earlier, filling in each cell. You’ll probably get more ideas as you do this, either for new events or extra ones to pad around your main ones.

Some ideas of what to include

There are all sorts of initiatives you can come up with for your online community, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Webchats with a celebrity or expert in their field

  • Interviews or your community members or people they look up to

  • Competitions to win some swag

  • Points to debate around current affairs or issues relevant to your community

  • A community awards program

  • Great content from the community

  • Book, music, film clubs

Those are just a few more obvious examples, but there are plenty more possibilities and each of the above can be tweaked – for example why not ask post a photo a week and ask your community to provide a funny caption for it?

Give people a reason to check back in on a regular basis, and importantly look or ask for feedback so you know the events you organise are interesting!

Finally, to save you time and give you a basic example, here’s a sample editorial calendar to download:

Online Community Editorial Calendar Version 1Online Community Editorial Calendar Version 1

What would you or do you put in your editorial calendar? Do you involve your membership in its upkeep?

[photo by Joe Lanman]

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Blaise Grimes-Viort
Blaise Grimes-Viort
Blaise is an experienced Online Communities Manager and Social Media Strategist, and has worked with global brands, startups and charities, in fields such as Videogaming, Social Networking, Pharmaceutical, Broadcasting, Publishing and ISPs.


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