5 Reasons Why Editorial Calendar Spreadsheets are a Serious Pain

By: Chris Thompson on July 13, 2014 Categories: Corporate Communications

Many organizations still use spreadsheet-based editorial calendars for planning their content marketing, and they feel the pain of having to share workbooks every day. We have even heard clients refer to their existing workflow management using spreadsheets as “pathetic” and “archaic”, suggesting that they really aren’t that happy with their current arrangement. These are the five top reasons why spreadsheets are more hassle than they are worth.

1. No Workflow Monitoring

Your spreadsheet isn’t going to notify your content creators by email when they are assigned a new content creation task. It isn’t going to let you know when they have started drafting or completed it either. Neither will it let your editors know when it’s time for them to cast their careful eye over the work prior to publishing. It may be easy to pop in all of your tasks but it’s still a static document sitting on the server, waiting to be opened, viewed and edited.

2. Difficult to Assign Attributes

Say each of your content items is represented by a single cell in your spreadsheet. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for information other than the title, such as a synopsis, keywords, target industries, conversion goals, themes or campaigns. You could leave some free cells around your title, play with some pivot tables or get someone in your tech department to write some code than would allow a drill down, but these are far from an ideal solution. You could also use a different row for each attribute, but it’s going to get a little complicated and it will probably involve a lot of scrolling back and forward to check and recheck your pointers. Ultimately, you won’t get all of the information your writers need squeezed into the spreadsheet, and the quality of your content is going to suffer as a result.

3. Need to use a Separate Drafting Tool

Your spreadsheet may look appealing, with your rows and columns neatly arranged beside each other, possibly with a splash of colour to liven it up, but when it comes down to drafting your content items you still need to open a separate piece of software to begin the writing process. Then you need to go back into your spreadsheet to update it once you’ve got your work done, but there’s no real link between the two. It’s just as easy to forget to update the spreadsheet, leaving other team members and supervisors at a loss as to the progress that has been achieved.

4. Can’t Publish to Different CMS or Social Media Profiles

Your editorial calendar spreadsheet resides on your server or perhaps in the cloud somewhere. Your various users can open it up to take a look as they desire, but it doesn’t do a whole lot from there. You can’t write up a blog post, article or social media update, and publish or schedule for publication directly to the required CMS or social media account account. You can’t really do very much other than drool over your beautifully constructed to-do schedule.

5. Can’t Track Your Composition Targets

Your spreadsheet Editorial Calendar isn’t going to monitor the different types of content you have created or the industries your have targeted and let you know how well you are adhering to your composition targets. You could therefore veer wildly off course without ever realising what’s gone wrong. Without careful monitoring of your goals versus actual output the success of your content marketing strategy will undoubtedly suffer.

How might one go about overcoming the myriad inadequacies of editorial calendar spreadsheets, I hear you ask. One place you could start is with an online Editorial Calendar, such as the one provided by Marketing.AI. As chance would have it, our Editorial Calendar provides solutions to all of the problems listed above, and many more besides. Take the free trial for a twirl to see how much easier you content planning and workflow management could be.