8 Things to Include in your Social Media Editorial Calendar

By Andrea Harvey

Editorial calendars are necessary in getting the most out of your social media accounts. You’ll want to plan and schedule your posts a couple months in advance to ensure they reflect your goals.

A thriving social media presence requires daily posting. So what sort of posts should you fill your editorial calendar with? Here are some ideas to help guide you through the process, along with some recent examples of companies with active social media profiles:

1. EVENTS

Are there any upcoming events your followers may want to know about? If so, be sure to post a few times before, during and after to get the most bang for your buck.

Example: American Express

2. SEASONALITIES

When are your peak sales times? Is it related to a holiday, season, or something else happening during that time? Mark these dates on your calendar and post accordingly.

Example: Taylor’s Bar & Grill

3. NEWS & INDUSTRY TRENDS

What’s going on in your world? Are there any recent trends, stories, or changes happening that would interest your followers? Keep them in the loop.

Example: Powell’s Books

“…a lightning rod for vigorous debate…” http://powells.us/1EFncVh #BookofNow

A photo posted by Powell’s Books (@powellsbooks) on

4. ADVICE & EXPERTISE

You’ve initiated the relationship, and now it’s time to maintain it. Show your followers how useful your social media account can be for them — give them a reason to choose you over anyone else.

Example: Whole Foods Market

5. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Answer their current and future questions. (Because who doesn’t love having questions answered before they’re asked?)

Example: Warby Parker

6. EXPERIENCES & BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOKS

What’s your organization up to? What are your customers, clients, or followers’ stories? The human element is essential.

Example: University of Oregon

7. VALUES & PERSONALITY

What is your brand all about? Giving it a voice allows its followers to connect on a deeper level.

Example: Planned Parenthood

Show your PRIDE! June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and we’re celebrating all of the things that make us who we are. Everyone deserves to feel loved, secure, and valued — no matter what.

Posted by Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

8. BLOG POSTS

Essentially, any social media post can have a blog post to accompany it. But blogs are more work, so don’t start one if you can’t post frequently.

Example: Free People

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Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 8.48.04 AM

For more general tips on making and maintaining an editorial calendar, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s article, “A Content Marketer’s Checklist: Editorial Calendar Essentials.”

Written by Andrea Harvey, senior journalism student at UO. Follow her on Twitter @andrearharvey, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

This Article Has 12 Comments
  1. Great post Andrea!

    This is such a great and comprehensive list. Editorial calendars seem very daunting at first, especially when you are working with a months-long time frame. I really enjoyed #7 on your list: values and personality. As the Cluetrain Manifesto taught us, it is important that businesses have a personality, because if they don’t, their audience won’t pay attention to, or care about, their content.

  2. Polly Irungu says:

    Awesome post, Andrea. Short, sweet and to the point.

    Do you have any specifics tips for content posting on Instagram? I tend to post and delete on Instagram quite a bit. I want to try and reduce that by making a content calendar for the Summer.

    • SSM Student says:

      I don’t have much experience posting to instagram (other than my own personal account), but I can say that from what I’ve seen other organization do, it’s important to include links or some other type of information in the caption of your Instagram post that will lead viewers back to your website if they want to know more. Instagram can initially seem pretty restricting because it’s a visual-based platform, but if you do it right, it can be really useful. A good social media presence on any platform calls for multimedia content, so this can almost be a way to force you to think about social media more visually. Another suggestion would be to make sure your photos/videos are entertaining. That seems obvious, but a lot of organizations will post photos just to post them, and I have personally found myself unfollowing those accounts because they’re just plain boring. So make sure your posts are pretty or funny or creative in some way. Here’s an article that offers some more great tips for Instagram: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/improve-your-instagram-marketing/

      Also, look at some good examples of companies who are doing it right.Here are a few that I follow:
      https://instagram.com/freepeople/
      https://instagram.com/zennioptical/
      https://instagram.com/uoregon/
      https://instagram.com/dailyemerald/

      —Andrea Harvey

    • SSM Student says:

      Another great example is UO Libraries. (I work for their communications and marketing department, by the way, but am only vaguely involved in their social media. However, I know enough to answer any questions you may have.)

      I was a bit impressed by some of their content because libraries seemed like it would be challenging to market on Instagram. But they’ve been nailing it. They started this cool series that highlights their study spaces, using the hashtag #uostudyspot. You should check it out! https://instagram.com/uoregonlibraries/

      Also good to note: Our marketing student staff includes designers, photographers, videographers, and writers (me), and we will often collaborate on posts. For example, we did an Instagram video the other day advertising that we’ll have free coffee in the library this week. I helped with the copy, while the others used their expertise on the other elements. So that’s partially why our content is pretty good! Not every organization can afford that type of team though—so take advantage of other sources, like skilled friends, online tutorials/articles, etc., and don’t be afraid to use other people/organizations as inspiration.

      —Andrea

  3. Henry says:

    Love, Love, Love the Taylor’s example.
    It’s great because, it’s Taylor’s, annnnnnd because it’s actually a really good example.

    Also great point about starting a blog. I’ve tried a bunch of times, but can never nail down a solid posting routine. Really important for businesses’ to keep up on their blog if they go that route. Otherwise it’s stagnant and lame.

    • Henry Cromett says:

      Last name Cromett.

    • SSM Student says:

      Yeah, I stalked Taylor’s social media for quite a while and overall I loved it! It seems like it’s being ran by a UO student or alumni who’s also a bartender because they are totally nailing the UO college-student-by-day/bar-rat-by-night voice in all their Tweets. I know Taylor’s also recently changed ownership/management, and since then, I have never seen Taylor’s more packed on a daily basis in my four years of being here. They’ve made some other internal changes as well, but from what I’ve seen, this success is primarily a result of their kick-ass marketing. They’ve been teaming up with all these other local businesses lately as well and putting on tons of events. They’ve had a few little blunders—for instance, I think they Tweeted something that the LGBTQ community found offensive because I saw a couple apology Tweets on their page, but they must have deleted it because I couldn’t find the original post. Another mistake was creating new accounts when the management changed, without really saying anything about it from the old accounts. It just made it confusing to find the real one. And right now, they’re only using Twitter, which is pretty unexpected. But overall, they’ve been successful and it’s been fun to watch them grow on social media.

      And on the note of blogging, I forgot to mention in my original post that blogs are also excellent for SEO! I worked at an Internet marketing business a couple years ago and wrote blog posts for their clients. SEO is constantly changing in terms of how you can optimize your posts to show up in a search engine, so I probably shouldn’t offer advice on it since it’s been a while, but it can easily be found online!

      —Andrea Harvey

  4. Margaret Sutherland says:

    Loved the visuals that you included in your post. My favorite part of the lecture was when Kelli mentioned that before you sit down to write your editorial calendar, you need to ask yourself some questions. What do our customers ask us every day? What kids of questions would the people consuming our product ask (hint, hint: persona)? The answers to those questions can be ideas for content.

  5. Sara McCauley says:

    Great post Andrea! I think all the things you’ve mentioned are important to include when creating a editorial calender. What do you think is the first step a business or organization should take when creating a plan?

    • SSM Student says:

      I would say the first step is to think about your audience. Kelli briefly talked about creating a few personas of your ideal/average customers/followers/etc. and basing your company’s decisions on these personas. Here’s a post that another SOJC SSM student wrote on personas: http://sojcssm.com/2015/06/the-persona-your-audience-individualized/ This one is also pretty informative, but not on our website: https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide

      When making decisions about your company’s social media plan, ask yourself: What does this persona want? What would they do? What are they up to on a given day? How would they feel about this? Would they like this post/product/etc.? Would they retweet/share?

      —Andrea Harvey

  6. Jordan Hathorne says:

    Andrea, I love this post! It seems like something that could definitely be an e-book for a starters guide to social media editorial calendar. I really like that you gave quick hits of ideas and then gave examples of each one. I also heavily agree with what you said about showing the behind-the-scenes work of your company. I feel like that one huge and seems rarely done. I would love to see more companies show their corporate culture and what goes on behind-the-scenes.

  7. Nick Hanlin says:

    This is so useful! My biggest takeaways: letting your audience know what is happening in the industry, and keeping them around with useful posts that can improve moments in their lives. I love the accounts I follow because I see a post at least every two days that is useful to me or expands on my interests. @TAXI is my favorite account on twitter because they constantly post designs that are appealing and mean something, and they related to the happenings of the world. Companies that are good at this are the companies I want to see advertising on social media, if they even have to. They are so good at social media and implementing the tips above that they may just earn their audience.

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