Your Guide to Creating an Email Editorial Calendar

It’s yet another manic Monday when suddenly, you remember your weekly newsletter should go out today. Since it totally fell off your radar, you cancel your morning meetings to whip together an email that may not be your best work, but gets the job done.

Three hours later, you finally send a subpar email to subscribers. Now, you’re faced with the task of catching up on your work for the day.

Sound familiar?

Sending emails at a regular cadence to your subscribers isn’t always easy. Creating the content and designing it takes time and energy, and if you’re a busy entrepreneur, it’s not uncommon for it to fall by the wayside.

If you plan ahead, however, you’ll find it gets easier to create emails that engage subscribers.

Meet your new BFF: the editorial calendar.

The editorial calendar is a tool often used by those who publish regular content for an audience (e.g., journalists, bloggers). It allows content creators to plan out the process for creating and publishing content weeks or months in advance, from brainstorming a piece to writing it.

In other words, it’s what keeps publishers sane. And it’s perfect for organizing your emails.

Create your email editorial calendar in 4 simple steps.

There are a number of ways to create an editorial calendar for your emails. Here’s a simple recipe to help you get started:

1. Build the framework.

Many people find using a spreadsheet platform such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets the most convenient for building a calendar, and I recommend following suit. Once you have your brand new document, add columns for the following:

  • Email Type. This is where you will add information regarding the general purpose of the email. Is it promotional, a blog update or a newsletter?
  • Email List/Audience. Who should be receiving this email? Your entire list, or a specific segment of subscribers?
  • Design. What design elements will you need for this email (e.g., images)? Who will work on creating them?
  • Send Date. When do you plan on sending this email to subscribers? (Keep in mind that your content calendar will be fluid, so you can change various details and move emails around if needed.)
  • Author. Who on your team is responsible for creating the email content and sending it to subscribers?

While you can add additional columns as needed for your specific email strategy (such as a column for the call to action), consider the recommendation above your “email editorial calendar essentials.”

When you’re done, your calendar should look something like this:

Email Editorial Calendar

2. Brainstorm.

Schedule an hour for yourself or your team to brainstorm email content for the next two to three months. I encourage you to start with any recurring messages you send to subscribers, such as a weekly newsletter or blog updates. Here’s a quick checklist of other things to consider:

  • Upcoming promotions
  • Product or service updates
  • Events
  • Holidays. Email engagement is typically lower on holidays and the Fridays before holiday weekends. Additionally, consider how you can tie your email content or promotions around the holidays.
  • Information or assets needed for your emails (e.g., images, promotion details, etc.)

You should also use this time to fill in the other columns in the calendar template you created earlier, such as who will author each email.

3. Plot your content.

Once you’ve planned out the details of your upcoming emails, add them to your calendar. Be mindful of the days you’re scheduling emails to go out to your subscribers. If you want to send an email promoting a holiday sale, for example, make sure it’s timely.

4. Start writing.

Now that your email editorial calendar is created, you can start working on your emails. And don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of a well-planned email strategy.

Your turn!

Now that you’re ready to create your own email editorial calendar, I encourage you to give it a try. If you already use an editorial calendar for your emails, I’d love to hear how it’s improving your productivity!

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