What exactly is an editorial calendar anyway?

What exactly is an editorial calendar? Ask three different people and you’ll probably get three different answers. That’s what makes it important to ask the right person. PiP has our own share of communications experts, but every now and then, we like to look beyond our work into what others are sharing. One of our faves (in terms of personality, style and content) is nonprofit communication expert, Kivi Leroux Miller.

According to Kivi, an editorial calendar is a schedule to manage the publication of strategic content across multiple channels.

The most important part of that definition?

Schedule. Content. Channels.

That schedule is typically found in either a spreadsheet or calendar format. Most people have a brain that works one way or the other. Whichever you choose to use, make sure anyone who needs to access and utilize the calendar understands how to use it (no matter how their brains are wired).

The content (which is what most storytellers spend their time focusing on) can be broken into thirds:

  • 1/3 – original content
  • 1/3 – original content repurposed or remixed
  • 1/3 – leave content open for merging

Repurposing content might mean moving it to a different channel or changing the perspective of the story. Whatever the case may be, Kivi never creates content unless it can be used in at least three channels.

Remember that a calendar is a plan. Leave 1/3 of the content open to respond to things that happen early in the calendar.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself.

  • What order do you tell your stories in and why?
  • How do you repurpose them and why?
  • How do you bring more emotion to the story?

Bring communications, development and program staff together as you create your calendar. Sure, there will be some good debate. And yes, someone will be unhappy. But make sure you’re all on the same page.

Special thanks to Kivi for her great presentation at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference! Check out her website, the Nonprofit Marketing Guide.