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4 Min Read

Editorial Wishes and Calendar Dreams: Systems of the Proactive and Productive


  1. Learn from real-life editorial case studies: experiments with Google Sheets, Asana and Quip
  2. Discuss and share with peers best practices for managing editorial calendars
  3. Create and/or perfect a collaborative editorial calendar system


Session inspired by Julia using 4 calendar management tools/systems in last year.

Candid Confessions on Calendar Pain Points (from the audience)

  • Sustaining momentum- Getting hung up in between highs and lows, avoiding overwhelm.
  • Cross-team coordination struggles.
  • Assigned content writers who struggle to meet deadlines, aiming for perfection
  • Coordinating cross-functionally, staying organized when one person writes, another designs, another posts

Common Ed. Calendar Goals:

  • Minimize Email
  • Look ahead
  • Assign responsibility
  • Maximize transparency
  • Stick with strategy
  • Assess resource needs
  • Coordinating digital presence
  • Multiple internal clients w/ various needs
  • Managing org. expectations

Tip: Every system takes care & feeding. Build in time on calendar to make updates daily to keep it fresh. Get buy-in from staff on naming conventions, consistency, routines.

Different Types of Systems

Google Sheets:

Pros: Free and accessible; Clear tracking

Cons: Lacks reminders and interactivity; Can feel static; Hard to see comments


Pros: Can add on to Asana, Sheets, Quip; Easy to share comments

Cons: Collaboration, but not always associated with specific tasks


Pros: Productivity progress visible; Easy color-coding; Tracks multiple projects; Deadlines clear w/ full list of reminder functions; Amazing search; Can flip b/t project based and calendar based;

Images integration makes calendar feel dynamic

Cons: Can be overwhelming for newcomers, low-level participants; Can get lost in conversation stream

Tips: Can tag people and share the calendar and push out to Outlook for followers that don’t need to participate. Add Instagantt add-in to turn calendar into Gantt chart.

Quip (owned by SalesForce):

Pros: Powerful @ key to engage others, reference documents; Nice reminder functions; Handy linking to docs stored elsewhere

Cons: Can get lost in conversation stream; Cost $10/user/month +$25/user for Salesforce integration

Tip: Salesforce integration helpful for tracking communications/projects featuring specific constituents (Ex: grantees)

4 Key Questions Before Selecting a System

  • What will make Ed. Calendar adaptation successful?
  • What are your goals for your editorial calendar?
  • What columns, rows, and categories are critical?
  • How will  you explore the different options?

Top Calendar Goals (audience polling):

Buy In; Clear roles; Deadlines taken seriously; Clear project flows

Key calendar features (audience polling):

Visual layout; Deadlines; Assignment

Reminder: Everyone has own idea of paradise, find the right tool for you, your team, keep ear out with colleagues in the field as new products always hitting the market.

Other systems/tools used by audience members: Trello, SmartSheet, Mintent, Lightbox Collaborative, Workfront Proof, AirTable

These notes were captured by The Communications Network and have been reviewed by the presenters. ComNet18 Breakout Session notes were made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kalliopeia Foundation.


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