Checklist: How to Create a Successful Editorial Schedule

by JD Supra Perspectives

My colleague, Adrian Lurssen, recently hosted a webinar for law firm marketers on how to create an editorial calendar that an entire team can (and will!) use over the longterm.

Below are my notes from the session - consider these as the way forward/next steps as you implement your own editorial calendar(s) internally. Meant to accompany the webinar, which is available for you to freely watch in full here.

  • An editorial calendar captures more than a list of writing assignments. It answers for everyone on the team: why are we doing this? How are we doing it? Who is doing it? When are we doing it? What are we doing? (Most people just think it's the last item.)
  • Nothing fancy required. Use Google Docs. Ideally, create a folder on your Google Drive, start a Google Sheet, each section of your schedule is a new tab in this spreadsheet. Over time, place other supporting documents (like analytics exports) in the Google folder. (Or whichever shared folder you create for your team.) Adrian offers a sample spreadsheet in the webinar. Take him up on the offer.
  • If you can't use Google Drive/Docs, use an Excel spreadsheet. Same functionality. You will have to work harder to share the one, definitive copy of the schedule, and keep it up-to-date, but it's do-able. 
  • Start with: "Why?" Build a "Overview" page in which you capture, for the team's finessing and approval, your objective in a single sentence. Typically something to do with visibility and engagement in a particular sector, industry, marketplace.
  • The process of writing your objective creates a shared sense of purpose up front. Important way to start.
  • Overview page also captures: target reader(s); themes/topics you know (or believe) resonate with these readers; list of team members who will be part of this writing effort, among other info.
  • Also capture a list of benchmarks to 1) again, reinforce sense of purpose ("These will be measures of our impact") and 2) create a baseline understanding of current marketplace visibility and engagement before the writing begins. (You don't know your impact if you don't know where you began.)
  • Between writing a piece of content and a home run (a new client engagement) there are almost always a series of plays. Home runs happen, but you should be tracking: invitations to speak at conferences; invitations to present on webinars; client calls/emails with questions; media quotes/mentions/links; reporter contacts for story source info; total visibility; LinkedIn follower counts; email list growth; and much more. See webinar for Adrian's list. Add the ones that matter to you.
  • Make it easy to capture any idea as it occurs to someone. Keep it simple. This is separate from focusing the idea into an actual post and assigning it to a writer. Everyone on your team should have access to the "Idea Capture" page where all ideas can be recorded for evaluation at a later date.
  • Schedule a kick-off meeting (30 mins) in which your team (or key members) can confirm or adjust the objective, the list of targets, and other such information. Explain the document, the benchmarks, and show where to record ideas, as well how to use client feedback, reader analytics, and news to generate new writing ideas. (This from a supporting webinar on 3 great sources for writing ideas referenced by Adrian during his ed. sched. webinar.)
  • One result of kick-off meeting: everyone has access to "Idea Capture" and can record ideas there at any time. (Some will do so more than others. Fine. It's a team effort.)
  • At the start of a given period (say, quarterly) meet with stakeholders to evaluate and determine priority of all your writing ideas. Typically, this will be a list of evergreen topics (for more on evergreen, see the writing sources webinar). Either the team or key members can evaluate the ideas and prioritize by assigning a number to each. Sort your Google Doc/Excel sheet by that priority listing - and bingo: you have the start of a schedule.
  • Build your team's writing schedule after you have evaluated and prioritized writing ideas. Start with the idea given the highest priority and work your way down the list. Set a date to each assignment. Frequency of writing is entirely up to your team; adjust your template accordingly. Adrian offered two schedule templates; one includes space for scheduling time to respond to timely news, a slightly different editorial process (also addressed in the webinar).
  • When you schedule each writing assignment, also place it in a calendar (writer is notified) with two alerts: one to be sent a week before article is due, the other three days before it is due. The alerts go to the writer(s) and helps to keep everyone on track.
  • Capture analytics and include them (in export, or cut and paste) in your working schedule. One goal: take the guesswork out of writing ideas. A list of top posts tells you what your readers are in fact interested in reading. That's good marketing: give people what you understand they want. Also, of course: this is the first measure of your impact. Increased reach. Just the beginning...

This is the tip of the iceberg but certainly enough to get you started. For a full idea of how to implement an editorial schedule that an entire team can work with, watch the webinar (and share it with your team so they understand what you are trying to do).

Also watch the supporting webinar on great writing sources. It's the flesh that goes on the skeleton. And good luck! Let me know what works best for you.


[Paul Ryplewski is director of client services at JD Supra.]

Learn how JD Supra supercharges your firm's thought leadership:

"JD Supra builds a readership I wouldn't normally reach..."
Adam Stock
-Adam Stock, CMO Allen Matkins

Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.