Managing an editorial calendar is no easy task. But for larger projects this is a must because it’s easy to get confused about which topics you’ve covered and what still needs to be written.
If you’ve never managed content scheduling, topics ideas or editorial calendars then you’ll probably have no idea where to start.
That’s why I’ve organized the best tools for content management many of which are totally free. Take a look over this list and see if any of these tools can help improve your content management workflow.
1. Editorial Calendar
Most webmasters just want a cheap free option and the Editorial Calendar plugin is a great place to start. This free plugin lets you organize your entire calendar including which articles need to be written and which date(s) they’ll be published.
You can log into your WordPress dashboard each day and get a rundown for the entire month. The calendar interface even supports drag & drop so you can move posts around with ease.
Note this actually connects into your WP posts so when you change dates they’ll really alter the publishing times. The same goes for altering post titles or categories changed from the calendar screen.
It’s a wildly popular plugin and for the price of free you can’t beat this. Take a look at their demo video to see how it works in action.
2. Edit Flow
If you manage a large editorial team then you’ll probably want a simple way to organize all those editorial tasks.
Edit Flow comes to the rescue with a calendar UI, threaded editorial comments, user groups and even a private content budget you can manage for paid writers.
The plugin is 100% free and it even has its own website with more information.
What I like most about this plugin is the simple GUI. Everyone has access to the calendar page(although you can alter permissions) so it’s the perfect way to maintain control over your publishing times.
Anyone who manages a team of writers should look into Edit Flow. It has so many features that’ll make your life a lot easier as a webmaster.
3. Publish to Schedule
If you publish a set number of times per week you can automate those slots with new content. Publish to Schedule is a free plugin that automatically fits your newest post into the next possible slot.
This comes with a settings panel where you configure the day & time for the week. This way you choose exactly when you want posts going live on your site.
Whenever you have a post ready to go you just click “publish” and it’ll auto-queue into your schedule.
This is most useful on smaller sites that only publish 1-2 posts per day(at most). But even if you only publish 1-2 posts per week this plugin is still quite helpful.
4. Automatic Post Scheduler
One other plugin with a similar queuing function is Automatic Post Scheduler. This one’s a bit lighter so if you’re concerned about speed in your WordPress dashboard I recommend choosing this over alternatives.
Basically this queues up all your posts after you hit “publish”. It’ll automate the process based on your own custom settings and how frequently you want new content.
It has a much simpler settings page and the installation is also easy. But it can feel limiting since this plugin doesn’t offer as much control(the publishing time is automated).
Still for a lightweight auto-scheduling WordPress plugin I can’t think of a better option.
PublishPress brings your entire editorial workflow right to the backend of your WP admin panel. It’s designed for teams who manage websites and want full control over publishing dates & content ideas.
With each post you can assign a certain writer and a due date. This can also be the publishing date or be set to the editorial date where you(or your editor) work over the post before publishing.
The calendar UI is simply incredible with a very spacious screen for organizing new posts.
Anyone with editorial access can leave comments and feedback that’ll notify the whole group. PublishPress actually has notifications that can be setup based on certain actions.
The default version of this plugin is totally free but you can pay for extra features like WooCommerce integration and custom user permissions. Check out the extras page to see more if you’re looking for a premium solution.
I’d say for most webmasters the PublishPress free plugin offers more than enough.
From what I’ve seen in the CoSchedule dashboard this tool is by far the best content management resource for social content. It’s absolutely perfect for editorial calendars and for planning your content scheduling months in advance.
They do offer a free trial period but unfortunately this is one of the few tools that does cost money. You can’t run CoSchedule free forever making it a tough cost to justify unless you’re already earning from your website.
But if you do go with them you can try their free WordPress plugin that runs on the CoSchedule backend.
This brings your editorial calendar right into WordPress so you can automate everything from social media posts. It can work across all networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, and others that you might use for pushing content.
Note this is primarily a content tool for social media but it works through your WordPress content. If you’re running a larger site then you definitely want a social marketing strategy and CoSchedule’s WordPress plugin is a powerful way to handle this.
7. WP Scheduled Posts
If you want more control over your scheduled post experience try adding WP Scheduled Posts.
It’s a fully-featured plugin that expands your WordPress admin panel to include more custom widgets. You can choose who exactly sees these widgets and what sort of control they have over the content(read-only or rescheduling).
When you’re frequently publishing lots of content it’s easy to forget what’s in the pipeline. This little widget is perfect for keeping you up to date with all the content in your site.
And it comes with a large settings page so you can control how the widget looks & behaves based on WP permission levels.
8. Advanced Schedule Posts
Here’s a handy addition to your WordPress post screen where you can choose the exact publishing date with a calendar interface.
Advanced Schedule Posts is totally free and it offers a powerful addition to the usual interface. Rather than manually inputting the month/day/time in WordPress’ “publish” widget, you can use this plugin to select the date from a calendar input.
It runs through the wp_cron() function which is vital for scheduling posts properly. So this plugin works on top of the WordPress core but just expands default scheduling features.
Very simple to use and certainly handy if you do a lot of scheduling.
Anyone who works online should know about Trello. It’s a free project management tool where you can make custom boards to hold tasks and organize your workflow.
These tasks can move through different boards for editorial calendars like “writing”, “editing” or “ready to publish”. You can find lots of guides to help you setup Trello as a personal editorial calendar.
And one thing you’ll absolutely want is the free WP Trello plugin. This thing displays all your boards at once and helps organize them based on topic, groups and total number of collaborators.
Everything gets displayed on the frontend so you’ll want to create a private page only accessible by you & your team. This can be a hassle at first but once you get used to it this’ll feel like the normal way to manage your team.
10. Google Docs
This one’s not perfect for all situations but it is 100% free. You can use Google Docs to host spreadsheets and manage your content dynamically in the cloud.
Unfortunately there aren’t many editorial scheduling templates that can help with this. You’ll need to just try stuff out and see what works best for your website.
Thankfully Google does make it easy to edit their docs and you can even share links with everyone on your team. The Docs sharing window lets you choose who can edit documents, who can leave comments, and who has read-only access.
If you hire writers you could also ask them to write their content in G Docs making this a one-stop shop for all your editorial content.
It’ll take some effort to turn this into a repeatable process but once you get familiar with the interface you might never switch to anything else.