While there are many benefits to working remotely, it also brings new challenges. Syncing up with collaborators and organizing and structuring the workflow between a team are the first things that spring to mind. In my experience, email alone is an inefficient medium for communication and planning. Instead, using a combination of tools such as an editorial planning calendar alongside Google Docs so that all the team members can share information, keep track of scheduling and communicate with each other is an optimal solution.

It’s likely you are managing your content schedule already, in some form or another. You might be using a spreadsheet to plan and manage different types of content within a team perfectly well. Using Google Docs so you can share with guest writers and co-workers could be working out just fine for you. That said, I’d like to discuss how using plugins and tools could be worth a try. It’s not only fun to drag and drop posts around, the psychological draw of having a visual content calendar immediately beckons you to use it, encouraging anyone to become inherently more “organized.”

The best content calendar packages aren’t just another gimmick adding yet another process to your daily work. These are tools to simplify your life and workflow. They should be simple to use, practical, affordable, and shareable, allowing your team of contributors and editors to collaborate. You can add due dates to each task, discuss feedback and edits, request images — everything can be handled within the same tool for each post. In this article, we will show you how to manage your remote editorial calendar in WordPress the easy way.

Using an Editorial Calendar

Publishing content is a top priority for marketers in all fields; future planning and distribution of that content is a critical component of a successful content marketing strategy. Once you start making content, you can find yourself bogged down with the chaotic process of planning, managing, and scheduling. Irrespective of whether you’re writing alone or using guest writers, you might find executing even the best strategy can be a mess of diary planning and deadlines. This is where using an editorial calendar to manage your workflow comes in handy.

An editorial calendar is just a fancy term for a publishing schedule. An editorial calendar provides a single location where you can see all the content you’re going to publish and the stage that it is in. The best editorial calendar add-ons are a one-stop shop for keeping all content ideas, handling your knowledge base such as strategy and process documents, and organizing your content so that everybody is on the same page.

Whether you’re managing your company’s blog or any other type of content, you can track every step of the editorial process with these useful tools. Not only can they help to space out your various campaigns and promotions, so you don’t overwhelm your readers with one post after the other. You’ll also find that planning your blog’s posting schedule allows you to review the flow of content, plan your posts from writing, drafts, and editing, and have a better outlook on whether you have gaps in your content that should be addressed.

Consider an editorial calendar as the foundation of your blogging strategy. With the right app or plugins can make this easy by providing a visual display of your scheduled posts and enabling scheduling changes with ease. It’s really that simple.

To help you develop and execute your editorial calendar, I dug around and put together a whole host of tools and plugins can help streamline the process. I’ve covered most bases from premium and free calendars, hi-tech and straightforward and from no-brainer-simple to a tool complex enough to run an ad agency.

Editorial Calendar Hacks

While the following tools are not designed specifically to be an editorial calendar, they work well for this purpose.

WordPress

If you’re the sole contributor to your site, you might find staying within WordPress is a convenient solution. It’s got a neat feature many beginners aren’t aware of: post scheduling. This can be advantageous, especially if you have vacation or wish to post content relevant to different time zones outside of your typical working hours. This simple feature encourages you to stay ahead of yourself by finishing up articles in advance. Prepare for a busy day ahead, or free up some time for more creative pursuits by scheduling articles to be published automatically at a later date.

Asana

Asana is a project management application that includes the ability to add calendars to your project which makes it an obvious choice for use as an editorial calendar. The user interface allows a team to see the status of all content in progress, visualize publication schedules and with a bit of luck, hit deadlines. It’s a straightforward cloud-based tool for collaborative projects. The main draw is communicating with your team without relying on hundreds of email threads.

No matter what type of content your team is creating — eBooks, white papers, blog posts, infographics — you can build a system to track every step of the editorial process. Asana’s neat Navi system takes each piece of content from the idea, to draft, through edits, to publication—faster. Admittedly Asana doesn’t strike me as the slicked editorial calendar tool available, but it sure as hell keeps you and your accomplices organized from task management, conversation tracking, as well as team assignments, and project archives. One of the most helpful features of Asana is that you break down tasks for team members, you add relevant individuals to each task and schedule on the calendar.

You can test the software with a free trial version, and upgrade to premium services at a later date. Paid Asana subscribers have access to extra features and templates.   

Basecamp

I’d direct anyone looking for something a bit more feature heavy than Asana over to Basecamp. This app is feature rich, to say the least, but still easy to learn and use. Use this intuitive software to monitor tasks, manage documents, keep an overview of scheduling and milestones, facilitate discussions and collaboration, and more. It beats Asana in regards to user-friendliness, namely the dash where you can keep hold of what’s in progress, what’s coming up, and who’s in charge of what.

For remote employees, Basecamp will set you up with the tools you’ll need in order to never to miss a deadline again. Project managers can similarly benefit from this app. This software lets you delegate work, review contributions and set deadlines. It facilitates not only staying on top of every project, but also gives you the ability to see the bigger picture – what’s coming up, and who’s in charge of what and get an overall picture of what’s left to do.

Google Calendar

You might be a bit surprised to see Google Calendar make the list, I’ve included it here because above all, it’s an effective calendar. There are some standout reasons why I think Google Calendar is a desirable option for use as an editorial calendar. It’s highly accessible for one – since most people have and everyone can have access to it, the user interface is very familiar to many people. Second, it can be synced with many other tools. Finally, I recommend it to organizations with budget concerns because it’s free to anyone with a Gmail account.

As an editorial content calendar, it works similarly to other online calendars that made the list – share your Google Calendar with collaborators, and link to a draft version of the content on your site. Another neat thing about Google’s Calendar is that you can hook it up with WordPress and there are heaps of plugins to help you do this.

Trello

If you’re simply looking to add some job-tracking and other project management features to your Google Calendar, look no further than Trello, this project management tool can be synced seamlessly with your Google Calendar. The standard version is free, and there is a paid version with even more features.

Trello is designed around the concept of boards. It’s fantastic for creatives as it provides a visual way (using a system of lists and cards on different boards) to manage what’s being worked on, who’s working on it, and how far along it is in the process. You can change the number of columns in each board, each of which is made up of individual cards, much like post-it notes. Use individual boards for the type of content you’re creating — one for blog posts, another for print ads, event, emails updates, etc. — and columns inside those boards to indicate what stage each task is at.

The ability to add checklists to each card is a handy feature, for example, allowing more granularity in content creation as it moves toward completion (research, draft, to publish, for example). That’s not all; Trello is more than an editorial calendar, it coordinates with Dropbox, iCalendar, and Google Calendar. Given the price tag (free), Trello has a lot to shout about. It even has a mobile app so that you can plan your content on the go. Another helpful thing about Trello is the amount of help available via blog posts and tutorial on how to use it as an editorial calendar.

Editorial Calendar Software

There are many ways to manage your content. Aside from the tools discussed, there are also dedicated editorial calendar software programs. The following software programs run your calendar directly through your WordPress backend bringing a whole host of benefits including automatic post scheduling and more. Let’s take a look at a few, some of their unique qualities, and pricing.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule by TodayMade is regarded as one of the best-specialized editorial calendar solutions on the market. This WordPress plugin will see marketers through every step of their content delivery process, from planning, creating, and promoting their content.

Content marketers are looking to save time wherever possible during their creative process. This plugin does just that, and it’s also very intuitive, so you don’t lose time mastering how to use its benefit. CoSchedule is feature-packed, manages your content calendar, schedule posts, and even schedules social media posts all within the same plugin. Anyone using WordPress will appreciate the all in one solution over using multiple plugins to help improve your workflow and manage social sharing. Look to CoSchedule to handle it all for you.

If you are working with a team, CoSchedule’s collaboration features will help you streamline your content flow ten-fold. The feeling of accomplishment when you tick something off the checklist of ‘things to be done’ for each post and the ability to assign steps to different collaborators is immense. You can also add editorial comments as jobs pass through the workflow.

Use their calendar from $30 a month, or use their free two-week trial for a test run. The only clear downside to this software is their subscription fee is higher than average, but the 4.7 star satisfaction rating is a good sign people are satisfied with their purchase.

DivvyHQ

DivvyHQ is the solution for more complex marketing needs such as a larger company or an ad agency. In fact,  their advanced system might be just the solution you need if you’re looking at a larger headcount and a greater number of projects. DivvyHQ is the epitome of a deluxe editorial calendar, and it manages more than just blog posts. This powerful package can handle additional projects such as social media updates, case studies, eBooks, videos and even presentations. There’s not much it can’t help your organization make. Don’t just take my word for it, DivvyHQ has the recommendation of the Content Marketing Institute.

Feature-wise, it’s hard to beat, you get built-in social media updates for Twitter and Facebook, and you can collaborate with as many people as you need within their web app. The scale of the task management and security features are more appropriate for a more substantial company, yet the cost has stayed low, from just $30 a month and there’s a free trial.

Post Forking

If you like collaboration tools, Post Forking is the content calendar plugin for you. It not only lets collaborators create alternative versions of a post, but it also allows anyone with the correct permissions to decide whether they are inclined to incorporate parts of the new version into the original post, or scrap it and go with the brand new version.

Edit Flow

If you want a straightforward way of managing your posting schedule better, Edit Flow is a solid choice. This plugin is a complete (and free) solution for managing your content schedule. It offers a calendar which displays all of your posts neatly so you can visualize your editorial calendar better and the ability to monitor the flow of an article.

I’d recommend this plugin if you have a blog with multiple contributors. Use the comments section to discuss posts with external editors and never miss any updates with email notification. Notifications are sent via email when you add comments or change post statuses so you’ll never be in the dark on your content workflow. If you have a single author blog, this plugin might still appeal – Creating custom post statuses notifications can be great for keeping yourself organized.

Editorial Calendar

A quick peek at the WordPress plugins library suggests Editorial Calendar is one of the most popular editorial calendar around. It’s holding 50,000 active installs and an impressive 4.9 star satisfaction rating. Editorial Calendar is simpler than Edit Flo; its calendar interface allows you to drag and drop posts to the required date, for example. This is a pretty basic (and free) tool, if you are interested in a clean way to manage a blog, and have other tools for everything else you are working on, social media updates, etc., this could be the only plugin you’ll need.  

Developed by Stresslimit, the concept behind Editorial Calendar was to give their clients a single tool that frees up more time for strategizing and creativity. It certainly does that. Once you’ve installed the plugin, you won’t need to configure any setting or play with any options to get started, it will run seamlessly with your blog in a matter of minutes.

Click on the Calendar menu to open your calendar display. This shows all your published and scheduled posts in a convenient interface. From here, you’ve got the ability to visualize when your posts will go live and the option to drag and drop them onto different days to change when a post will go live. The plugin appeals to WordPress fans as it combines basic blog functionality you have come to know and love within the popular CMS.

Wrap-Up

The best way to go about increasing traffic to your website is to post meaningful content, consistently. Once you have a steady stream of articles that are ready to be published, all that’s left to do is to set up a posting schedule. No matter what size your writing team is, you should be using an editorial calendar tool to keep track of your content and plan your workflow. These tools facilitate much more than content organization. They handle team management and idea sharing.The key stages of content creation all come together when you use the right tools.

A plethora of editorial calendar aids have emerged in recent years allowing individuals or teams to create their own solutions. The most important thing is to find a process that works for you and use that process.

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Isobel Weston is part of the Content Management Team at Namecheap. She specializes in promoting WordPress, as well as general tips on getting online. The tips, explanations, tutorials, and articles she provides help individuals build the online presence they want. If you’re interested in having a managed solution for your Wordpress, feel free to take a moment to see if Namecheap’s Managed Wordpress Product Offering is a fit for you.

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