Creating Your Calendar
There is no wrong way to create an editorial calendar. You should identify which method works best for your team. It doesn't have to cost you anything. While there are plenty of paid platforms out there that help in creating a calendar, you could just use a shared Outlook or Google calendar, or build your calendar in an Excel spreadsheet.
When building a calendar, consider:
- Who needs to use the calendar? You'll need to choose a method that allows you to share access, and restrict permissions if necessary. Consider what types of machines your users are familiar with (Mac vs. PC, etc.)
- When and how do you need to access the calendar? If you need to be able to view the calendar when away from your desk, make sure it is built to be stored or sync to the cloud.
- What types of content will it include, and how much detail do you need? Some people only include publication dates, while others track production process deadlines. Some individuals prefer space to include staff assignments and project notes.
- How will it be maintained? You should build time into your workflow to update your editorial calendar. Depending on your work style, this could be done weekly, monthly, or quarterly. You may consider setting aside a day or more once a year (or once a semester) to plan out the large themes and projects, and then fill in the gaps of your calendar with smaller content. Whatever your approach, think of your editorial calendar as a living document.
Items to Include
Your editorial calendar can include anything and everything you think will be useful in planning and disseminating your communications. Here are a few things to consider as you generate your calendar content:
- Campus and unit-specific events
- Important dates and holidays relevant to your audience(s) - Please see "University Content Planning Calendar - DEI Events" in the University Calendars section below.
- Content-specific dates
- Website - any major updates to your website, as well as any content areas that regularly change (header images, feature stories, etc.)
- News - news and blog articles that appear on your site or elsewhere
- Publications and mailings - newsletters, appeals, magazines, etc.
- Email campaigns
- Events - registration timelines, invitation mailings, etc.
- Production dates - in-house deadlines for creating content (for print, web, etc.)
- Social media content - Your social media content calendar likely will integrate content from the other parts of your broader content calendar. For example, if you upload a new student feature to your website once per month, you can plan to schedule a few social media posts highlighting that feature on your various social media platforms after the feature is launched.
Below are a few university calendars you may wish to refer to when building your social media editorial calendar.
- MSU Events Calendar
- Academic Calendar
- Alumni Association Calendar
- Athletics Calendar
- Campus Event Calendars
- University Activities Board Calendar
- University Content Planning Calendar - DEI Events