How to Use Google Calendar as a Free Editorial Calendar
Published on April 13, 2015
Starting up an inbound marketing campaign can feel a bit like jumping head-first into the deep end of a pool. How do you maintain a constant stream of effective content while maintaining an organized schedule?
It doesn't take expensive project management tools to calm the chaos. In fact, you can create an extremely effective editorial calendar for free. Just use Google Calendar.
Yes, sometimes simplicity does take the gold over other complex management systems, and Google Calendar does the job with flying colors. Corey Eridon over at Hubspot maintains that Google Calendar is actually the longest-running editorial calendar solution that their team has ever seen. That's nothing to shake a stick at.
If high-end inbound marketers use a simple Google Calendar system to organize their content schedule, you can too. Here's how to send up your own editorial calendar in Google Calendar, as recently detailed in Hubspot.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar in Google Calendar
1. Create the Google Calendar
To create a new Google Calendar, open up Google Calendar and select "Create New Calendar" by clicking the arrow next to "My Calendars."
Be sure to leave the sharing options blank so that your users don't get an out-of-context email about a calendar that isn't ready to share. (We'll add these back in later after we've done a bit more work.)
Click "Create Calendar" when you're done.
2. Create publishing slots on your calendar.
At this point you should be looking at a blank calendar, so its time to fill it in.
The first item you should nail down on your editorial calendar is a publishing schedule - perhaps every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30am, for example.
Don't worry about specific content for this event yet, as we're just creating a basic publishing framework which we can edit further down the line.
Here's the process:
- Select your recurring publishing timeslot (Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30-10:30am, for example) and name as "Post - TBD"
- Click "Edit event" to be taken to the details of the post
- Set up the post as recurring weekly (Appearing every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30-10:30am, for example)
- Hit Done and Save
Note: If you don't yet have a recurring editorial schedule, you may not have the need of an editorial schedule just yet. However, know that creating a schedule like this will help boost your content creation strategy over time, as studies have shown that consistency is key in creating growth over time.
3. Customize your schedule.
Now that you've created your basic building blocks for editorial publishing, its time to add the details in.
Say you're a nutritionist and have got a couple of articles you plan on writing, entitled "10 Things You Didn't Know About Cottage Cheese" and then another post entitled "What Skipping Breakfast Does to Your Metabolism."
Nice, you're ready. Lets add these to the calendar.
First, click on the specific date you'd like to publish your article and change the "Post - TBD" to the title of the article.
Then, decide who's doing the article. If you want your colleague to write "What Skipping Breakfast Does to Your Metabolism," invite that colleague to the post by typing his or her name and address into the Add: Guests box. Type in their name/email address, click save, and they've been invited to the event.
If you want to take this even a step further, take advantage of the description box within the event to add any added details you may find pertinent, like related articles, bullet points, a thesis, or otherwise.
4. Invite people to your calendar.
Now that you've set up the calendar altogether, its time to invite your team in. It is best that you start by adding your immediate team and regular contributors who will actually add to the calendar itself.
Then, add in those people who may like to view the calendar, but do not need editing capabilities - like a supervisor, perhaps. You can tailor these membership invites by changing permission settings to ensure they can "See all event details" rather than just "Make changes AND manage sharing."
...and that's all, folks.
Simple, Yet Effective
At this point you may be scratching your head a little. "That's it?"
Simplicity is at its finest with Google Calendar, and it is a simple enough process to maintain. Here are some reason this process works:
- If Gmail is your corporate email, everyone is able to use it without further thought
- It doesn't require any additional training
- It connects to other Google features in a flash (like Drive, and Gmail)
- Scheduling is easy to change because it's a calendar, not a spreadsheet
- The easy ability to add others to view your calendar
- The ability to create separate calendars for different projects (i.e. editorials, social media, project launches, etc.)
- The ability to view all - or none - of your work or personal calendars at once
There are those who would prefer to use a slightly more detailed project management tool like Asana (and yes, candidly this is the system we use here at Geek | Chicago) but Google Calendar is probably the best out there for basic usage for teams or large companies, as it will actually stick.
On the fence? Luckily, there's really no commitment needed for Google Calendar: it's free and extremely easy to implement, and could bring your team to the next level of efficiency.
Questions for us? Looking to get a content creation scheduled but don't have the time to spare? Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call.