Friday Design Tip: Using an Editorial Calendar

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has had some bright spots in it, that you and yours are staying safe, and you have something fun to look forward to this weekend. Today, I want to take a few minutes to discuss the power of an editorial calendar when it comes to outreach and graphic design in your library.

I really love the backend work that makes communications, events, and outreach run smoothly. I love figuring out timelines and schedules. I love making sure that details are taken care of so the big picture, whether it’s a library open house, a workshop, or a new service, can go off without a hitch. I love the interplay between detail work and big ideas and plans that need to work together to ensure success.

One of the things that I really love and that doesn’t get the praise it needs, especially when we’re talking about social media marketing and outreach, is the editorial calendar. Really, trust me, it is so helpful. (And it’s not even difficult to create and use–such a bonus!)

While you can get another tool–there’s so many available for free and for-fee online–to create an editorial calendar, the brilliant thing is that you already have what you need. As long as you can either make a table or use a spreadsheet, you have all the skills and tools you need to create an editorial calendar. So yay for not having to learn yet another tech skill!

So, what is an editorial calendar? It’s a document that allows you to keep track of your timeline for creating and publishing content and comes from (unsurprisingly) the publishing world. This is especially important if you have multiple people working on your marketing and social media accounts so everyone stays on the same page and on the same timeline for the work.

On your calendar,  you can organize when you need ideas to pitch for a meeting of your team, when drafts of posts and graphics need to be completed, what has/hasn’t been completed, and when you will post. Having everything in one place is super-helpful so that no one is caught unawares about what is happening with your marketing and outreach plans and work.

Even if, like me, you are a solo shop when it comes to creating and publishing social media posts for your library, an editorial calendar is still a lifesaver. I use it mainly to track what posts I still need to create graphics for and when I need to publish posts to our social media account. I find it also useful to reference when my colleagues come to me with new events or services they’d like me to post about so I can see where in the calendar we have flexibility and where we don’t (both in terms of my workload for creating the content and graphics and what other time sensitive posts we have coming).

It’s really been a help, especially on days when I have a ton of other work and don’t want to search multiple places to see what I need to post for the day. I even keep the text content (aka copy) in my spreadsheet so I know exactly what is to be posted each day and color-code what needs to still be done. And I just use a Google Spreadsheet for mine.

So I hope this helps inspire you to create an editorial calendar if you aren’t already using one. Let’s make our lives as easy as possible when it comes to the details so we have the headspace to be creative.

Until next time, have a lovely, relaxing weekend. I’ll be back soon with some more news and notes. Allons-y, friends!