Using spreadsheets to create an editorial calendar is officially cancelled. While, yes, these flat data sheets might allow agencies to track content on a basic level, they are very difficult to maintain as you scale the number of clients, writers, editors and content pieces.
It can be incredibly time consuming to manually enter and update every change to each content assignment or project. This means that data may be missed and left untracked. And if an employee gets sick, quits, or is moved to a different department, it’s common for pandemonium to ensue if every detail isn’t appropriately tracked and recorded.
The days of using Google Sheets for building and tracking an editorial calendar have to be left behind if you truly want your agency to grow. Here’s why your agency needs to use a blog editorial calendar template to track content and campaigns.
1. The importance of using an Editorial Calendar System
Editorial calendar systems found in project management programs like Gryffin are multifunctional. They can be used in the most basic capacities—like a spreadsheet—to simply list content topics or assigned articles. However, within every assigned task or content directive, the agency also can embed keywords, writer information, personas and other data used to track the project’s details.
When the agency views an assigned content task on the blog editorial calendar template, multiple data points can be reviewed at once. What are the target and secondary keywords? Are there any example articles or specific references to use for the article? Are there any notes from the client or specific data that the client would like to see included?
In addition, after the content piece is published, you can also track keyword performance, page views and other metrics pulled in from Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
In addition, each content task also links to its own project page; this allows the agency to view internal conversations on that page as well as any other data (including attached emails or images) associated with that content project.
An editorial calendar system acts as a hub for all ongoing and completed blog and content tasks. However, the layers of data that can be accessed through this type of calendar system extend beyond the simplicity of a flat, one-dimensional spreadsheet.
2. Beyond the Spreadsheet – Why a Simple Spreadsheet is not Enough
Why isn’t a spreadsheet going to cut it? Spreadsheets simply don’t have the depth to include all the data that can be layered within an editorial calendar system. Everything on a spreadsheet must be constantly changed and updated as new information and data is gathered.
If this sounds cumbersome, that’s because updating spreadsheets is cumbersome! Every time a tiny piece of data fluctuates, someone has to modify it within the spreadsheet. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to accurately update ever-changing SEO data; page views can change hourly!
3. Elements of an Editorial Calendar
With an editorial calendar system, there are many data elements that agencies have the ability to track. With Gryffin, agencies can customize each client’s editorial calendar to include themes, personas, buying stage, writers, holidays, trending topics and newsjacking ideas.
Every piece of data can be tracked by the agency. Clicking on an assigned theme will lead the agency to all the content assignments associated with that theme. Need to include a theme? Drag and drop the theme into the editorial calendar.
Each writer also can be linked to all their ongoing and completed assignments; this ensures the agency always knows who is working on which assignments…and who might be too busy to handle any more projects.
Again, editorial calendar components can be customized to the client. This means that agencies might not need to track the same elements for each client.
4. Editorial Calendar Example
Editorial calendars for different clients may look different, and that’s a good thing. Customization allows agencies to decide what each calendar should include and what data points need to be tracked.
Most agencies will have specific data points that they want to target and track. For example, writer information is an important element to track within most clients’ editorial calendars so agencies can better understand workload.
Keyword tracking is important to ensure that agencies know the impact of these words on webpages (or a particular content assignment) that they are measuring.
Including data related to newsjacking helps the agency better understand how content can—and should—relate to what’s happening in the news. Not only do clients need to be aware of stories and trends that impact their industry, but they also may wish to weigh in on how these trends are important or impactful.
Workflows can also be adjusted based on a client’s requests. Perhaps some clients want to review and approve articles before they go live, while others only want to be notified after articles are published. If the assignments are content revamps instead of creating new content pieces, it may require a different set of writers and editors to review for SEO.
Having the ability to customize and change the workflows allows you to create the infinitesimal possible micro adjustments that may be necessary to be effectively implemented.
5. Editorial calendar template: Google Sheets vs an Editorial Calendar App (Gryffin)
Agencies that use Google-powered programs like Google Docs may wonder why they can’t just use Google Sheets. After all, these free sheets are so convenient!
Yes, Google Sheets are convenient. However, they represent the basic and formulaic spreadsheet format. Agencies can set up data via Google Sheets, but these documents will constantly need to be updated. And Google Sheets can’t necessarily link back to assignment pages or link projects together. Again, the data is flat…and agencies often track layers of information.
Gryffin allows agencies to track everything and link projects together within the editorial calendar system. Dropping a theme into the calendar can allow the agency to view all the assignments associated with that theme. If one client is focusing content around a holiday, agencies may notice that another client’s content hasn’t addressed the holiday tone at all…and maybe incorporating holiday content could boost rankings.
Targeted keywords can be tracked within the editorial calendar to show how a page or content task has succeeded…or failed. Page rankings also can be viewed, and this data is updated constantly. Agencies don’t have to worry about plugging in new information related to rankings or views; the system handles the changes.
Not only does an editorial calendar system provide comprehensive data measurement, but it also saves time. Spreadsheets are cumbersome. They can get lost. And team members don’t always remember to update the data. Clients need to understand the impact of their content and how that content affects their search popularity.
With more data behind the content, agencies can change up their strategies by updating keywords or modifying content. Spreadsheets show what agencies remember to update, but editorial calendar systems show results through integrated tracked data.
If your agency is still relying on those tired old spreadsheets, it’s time for an update! See how an editorial calendar template powered by project management software can improve your client’s visibility, outreach and rankings. Try Gryffin today!