Getting started with editorial calendars

We’ve all been on the fast, reactionary side of social media. An email comes in with content to post, we get tagged in a tweet, a news story gets released. All of this content can get overwhelming awfully quick! But what if there was an easy way, we could organize it strategically as it comes in and slow down the rapid-fire of what’s coming at us? That’s where editorial calendars come in.

Editorial calendars can look different depending on your needs, but the purpose is the same, to help organize and schedule your content. Some have a publisher built-in; others are as simple as an excel spreadsheet.

For the main UF Health channels, we use Airtable as our editorial calendar. They have a lot of great templates that are very modular so you can adjust them to fit your needs (and they’re free!).

screen shot of an editorial calendar in airtable

If you’re looking for something simpler, you could even make a simple Excel sheet and keep it on your shared drive so other members of your team have access to it.

screen shot of an editorial calendar in an excel spreadsheet

If you’re applying for a UF Health-affiliated social media account, you are required to include an editorial calendar with three to four weeks of content. Since editorial and content calendars are not one size fits all, yours may not look exactly like this, but there are a few things we are looking for.

Elements of the editorial calendar
• Date
• Channel
• Post Copy
• Visual Assets

Other things you may want to include: A notes section, contact for the story, color coding or a field to indicate if the post has been approved/scheduled or posted, related services lines or areas within your department. You may want to even include a place to record metrics for your posts at the end of the month if you aren’t already doing monthly reporting to get an idea of how your content is stacking up and where you have room for improvement.

As you’re writing your content, keep voice and tone in mind. Voice conveys the personality or character of the account and is generally consistent throughout all posts. The tone will change based on the situation and can be harder to define. It can be hard to know sometimes if something falls in line with an appropriate voice and tone. One rule of thumb I have always liked is, “How would I feel if the CEO or President was reading this?”.

The voice and tone for your channels may be slightly different than what we use on the main UF Health channels. For the UF Health brand in general, that voice is the voice of a great doctor: knowledgeable and compassionate. Anyone who’s had an important conversation with a great physician knows how reassuring it is to get useful, timely information delivered in a down-to-earth, human way. We don’t shy away from sounding smart, but we naturally avoid any jargon that could cause people to tune us out. We want to convey expertise in every circumstance while making sure the message comes across that we’re always focused on helping patients. We’re currently in the process of writing a voice and tone guide for UF Health which will help provide a jumping-off point, so stay tuned.

Once you’ve established a consistent voice and tone, use your content to build a consistent narrative for education and storytelling related to your service line. Consistency is important on many levels for social media to keep your audience engaged. Posting regularly, the formatting of your posts (not using spammy hashtags, or tagging lots of accounts) in addition to familiar tone are all things that factor into creating a dedicated fan base, which is important for organic account growth.

If you have questions about editorial calendars or how you can start evaluating your channel’s metrics, reach out to the UF Health Social Media Team for a consultation.