Should Your Blog Have a Forward-Facing Editorial Calendar?

One of the most reliable tools that publishers swear by is the editorial calendar. It helps us post our content regularly, lets us know what we need more or less of, and most importantly, keeps us sane. But should your calendar be shared with your entire writing staff? Does it help or hurt your team to know? Let’s look at some pros and cons.

Pro: Your Staff Won’t Ask When Content will be Published

Oftentimes both in-house writers and contributors are anxious to see their posts live. More importantly to the publisher, once their article or video is up they want to share it with their networks are drive valuable traffic to their websites.

Sharing your editorial calendar with your writing staff and regular contributors is an easy way for them to see when their posts are going up without pestering you with emails, tweets, texts, and other undesirable forms of communication. (Of course, the counter argument is that they should be reading all of your articles because they love your site so much, but we all know that isn’t always the case.)

shutterstock_58694575Con: The Editorial Calendar Changes Daily

Writers ask for extensions, contributors disappear along with the content they promised, friends flake out and promises they’ll have something amazing in a few weeks, and holes have to be filled. When there aren’t holes, content needs to be shuffled around. Sometimes two writers submit articles about similar topics or for topics that aren’t relevant for that day and week.

Unless your writing staff checks the calendar daily and can keep up with the changes, it’s easier to just give them a due date so they only have to remember one unchanging number. Leave the scheduling headaches to the publishers.

Pro: Your Team Can Check Their Topics and Resource Links

Editors can turn editorial calendars into so much more than due date and publish date reminders. Some calendars include spaces to add headlines, descriptions, resource links, and even suggested internal links to save the editor time in the formatting process. A quality editorial calendar can be a one stop shop for contributors – especially if can submit their articles through there. When life is easy for your staff, then they will submit good content, which in turn makes the publisher even happier.

Con: They Might Submit on the Publish Date, Not the Due Date

A major pet peeve for editors is when a writer asks when the content will be published and then promises to deliver before then. First, this is egotistical, as if their writing is so good that it won’t need revisions. Second, this is rude to the editor, as if he or she has nothing to do except wait for the content and then spring into action once it’s in their hands.

By keeping the writers on a due date basis and not letting them see when they will be published, they’ll deliver their content on the editor’s schedule – not a minute later.

shutterstock_52455163Pro: Other Departments Know When to Promote Content

Many companies have started taking advantage of company blogs cross-departmentally. If the Human Resources department has a job posting, it will either write a blog post or ask the marketing team to create one that explains the responsibilities and qualifications of candidates. The sales department might ask for a post explaining the benefits of a new product or detailing a system, and will want to know when it’s posted to start sharing it with clients.

Sharing your editorial calendar with your entire company lets them know when posts are up so they can share them socially (and drive traffic), send them to clients, and attach them to job postings. Plus, this makes life easier on the editor who doesn’t have to answer daily questions about the content schedule.

Con: You Don’t Want Your Info Shared With the World

If you open your blog up to guest posters and contributors, you might share your editorial calendar with them so they understand your publishing schedule and content types. However, this could mean sharing your internal process with link builders who fall off the map when they realize they can’t dump content on your site or industry peers that don’t have the bandwidth to keep writing for you.

If your editorial calendar is operated on a Google Doc or Smartsheet, or even through a widget on WordPress, you only want to share it with contributors you know you can trust and rely on. Access can always be revoked, but if you don’t regularly check who is shared, more people could have access to your publishing schedule than you want