An editorial calendar is a plan like any other. Just about everything you do in business relies on some kind of plan and your content marketing is no different. Setting one up can be intimidating, but here are seven tips which should help reduce some anxiety and get you going.

1- Start your calendar by filling it up with the easy stuff, such as major holidays and major campaigns – then drill down to special events and occurrences which you might be able to tie content into.

2- It’s OK to use general topics initially and then fill them out with more detail as you move forward.

3- An editorial calendar is a guide and not a bible, make changes when required and be flexible.

4- Once you have the calendar started, share it with others in the office and ask them to fill in any ideas they may have or commit to a post for a certain date.

5- Use a master topic/subject target list to help you rotate the content effectively.

6- Use a document sharing platform such as Google docs to make the calendar readily available to others in the organization so they can contribute.

7- Once you have the major holidays and campaigns in your calendar, don’t forget to mark in the lesser events (sports play-offs, minor holidays, special days/months, industry conferences and so on) which will help you be more relevant with your content.

I definitely think you should use Google docs or some other sharing platform so that people can easily interact with your calendar and help you maintain and build it. Starting an editorial calendar can be a real bear, but if you begin with a very simple one and then build slowly from there, you’ll have a much easier time getting this going. Remember to do the easy stuff first and then circle back to the harder stuff. If your blog runs on WordPress (and it should) then check out this editorial calendar plugin.

For more tips on editorial calendars, check out this excellent post by Heidi Cohen!