While many content strategists work predominantly with product or service-design teams, equally as many work in marketing. For those in marketing, the line between marketer and strategist gets heavily blurred. As always, while the job title matters little, figuring out where to focus your time and energy matters a lot. For example, how do you know whose job it is to create an editorial calendar?
I often see teams who want an editorial calendar, but are unclear on who owns it.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a tool for organizing content marketing. Some marketing teams are naturally organized. They send an email or mailing once a month, they figure out the right topic, they get the right people involved, and everything goes smoothly. More often, it’s a mess.
When you have multiple teams creating blog posts, running events, sending emails, and posting to social media, it’s almost impossible to do ad hoc. An editorial calendar is a physical calendar where a team can track every marketing element. That way teams can schedule deadlines in advance, keep other teams in the loop, and cross-reference marketing activities. For example, someone running an event may see that a newsletter will be going out two weeks in advance, and coordinate to have a blog post about the event promoted in the newsletter.
While there’s no perfect tool for creating editorial calendars, I’ve seen them built in Google Calendar, in spreadsheets, and even sketched out on whiteboards. They’re an organization tool and a method of communication.
Who Should Create the Editorial Calendar?
Does the head of marketing need to own the calendar? That’s the person who keeps everyone else aligned, so it might make sense. Does the content strategist own it, as they’re responsible for strategic planning? Does the blog team own it? That could work, since blog posts are more structured and scheduled than social media or other marketing areas?
There’s no one answer. Instead, consider these questions:
- Who has ownership of the strategic plan? If the answer is “no one” or “everyone,” you need to make one person accountable. That’s the person who should “own” the editorial calendar.
- What does a RACI chart of your marketing team look like? This is a great exercise even if you think everything’s going smoothly, and the person who is typically “accountable” should own the calendar.
- What are the main forms of communication between your team and your users? Are these channels aligned toward the same goal? All these forms of communication should be displayed on the calendar.
- How much transparency exists between channels? The more transparency, the easier an editorial calendar is to manage. The less transparency, the more important it is to have an editorial calendar!
Editorial calendars make the content world go ’round. Don’t be afraid to take ownership!