You can organize an editorial calendar in several ways.

By Channel. Create a separate editorial calendar for each major communications channel that requires a significant amount of content, such as your newsletter or blog. You can also create an editorial calendar to note when you'll post new content to Facebook or Twitter.

By Audience. You can also organize editorial calendars by audience. If you have multiple, distinct audiences (e.g., teachers, parents, and students) and you want to ensure that you communicate with them regularly, you might create a calendar for each audience with your channels down the side and your time frames across the top. If you have several groups of people who you're trying to reach out to and you're concerned that your communications may unconsciously favor one group or other, this method will help you find the right balance.

By Program. You can also organize editorial calendars by program if you have several different programs and you want to make sure that you are spending an appropriate amount of time communicating about each one. Just as with the audience-oriented calendar, you can list your program across the top, dates down the side, and fill in the blocks with channels and specifics about the content you’ll deliver there.

Once you have drafted your editorial calendars, it’s helpful to add one more layer of information to them about priorities. While you may plan out what you think is a reasonable calendar of blog posts for the coming month, reality always has a way of mucking up your plans. If you highlight the boxes on the grid that are “must-dos” versus “would like to dos,” you will more easily see how to adjust the calendar to address whatever may arise.

Behavioral scientists tell us when you put something in writing and you say exactly what you're going to do, when you're going to do it, and where you're going to do it, you're more likely to actually do it.  So even if you use your editorial calendar more as a planning tool than day-to-day guidance for your to-do list, it’s still a valuable exercise to complete.

Download the sample editorial calendars (all Word docs) and play around with them a bit until you find a format that feels comfortable to you -- in other words, something you'd actually use!

Annual Print Newsletter Editorial Calendar

Monthly Audience Engagement Calendar

Weekly Social Media Editorial Calendar