The Importance of Planning
As the Editorial Director for Georgia.gov, it’s my job to ensure accurate, helpful, and timely information gets published. If I just lived week to week, meeting this goal would become extremely difficult. Instead, I need to have a plan. I need to be organized and have a roadmap of where I want us to go.
What I need is an editorial calendar.
Creating an editorial calendar not only forces you to plan ahead and know what topics will be covered when, but it also helps you plan around events. There are certain topics that happen every year, right? So why not go ahead and plan it out? That way you can ensure nothing gets missed or forgotten. You have a plan.
For example, currently, we’re in tax season. Knowing this, I made sure that we include blog posts and social media updates focusing on taxes between now and April 15. Having scheduled this beforehand also gave me time to reach out to the Georgia Department of Revenue as a subject matter expert before things got too hectic for them.
For Georgia.gov, we use Google Calendar to help organize our editorial content. That way everyone on the team has the ability to see what’s coming down the pipeline. We can also color code blog posts so it’s easier to see if we’re posting too many blogs about business or education or health topics.
Flexibility = Essential
Creating an editorial calendar remains extremely important, but importance also lies with being able to adjust it. Things happen. You’ve got to react.
For example, say it’s been 65 degrees with the sun shining one week and then the next, a snowstorm randomly pops up out of nowhere. You have to be able to adjust accordingly.
This is what happened to us last week. Our graphic designer, Rachel Hart, created awesome infographics with information GEMA gave us about driving on black ice. We were planning on posting these infographics the week of Feb. 1, 2016, which is Severe Weather Awareness Week. However, last week, Georgia (and the majority of the East Coast) endured a pretty intense winter storm. So we adjusted our editorial calendar. Rather than waiting for Feb. 1, it made more sense to post about driving on black ice ASAP while it was extremely relevant.
So yes, having an editorial calendar provides a variety of benefits, but knowing when to change and adapt remains important too. Bottom line: to have good content, it's best to have a plan.