How to Create an Editorial Calendar Using Trello (and Why You Need One)

Joe Williams 2 years ago

If you’ve tried out Trello already, you’re probably a fan boy like me. It’s an easy-to-use project management and calibration tool with a visual-zen finish that makes you want to use it for nearly everything.

Did I say it was free?  And they keep adding lots of cool new features.  Like the new Calendar, which is an optional ‘Power-Up’ and something a few content marketers (me included) had been dreaming for.


Why You Should Have an Editorial Calendar

Using a calendar for your blogging (planning out and scheduling your posts in advance) results in:

  • Higher quality: Thinking ahead helps create a more coherent message, makes you more productive and helps you produce higher quality content.
  • More consistency: Publishing regular and engaging content lets your audience anticipate and look forward to your next piece.
  • More accountability: Assigning content to contributors lets everyone know what is expected and by when.
  • Better collaboration: Having one central location consolidates ideas, files and comments. It beats crawling through long and windy email threads.
  • More control: Planning three months ahead means you won’t miss industry events or products launches, you won’t slipup on contributor’s holidays and you can get a nice blend of different and interesting content.

Why Use Trello

There are plenty of editorial calendar options (like using WordPress plugins or Excel) but Trello has some great advantages because:

  • It excels in collaboration and you can subscribe to updates that are relevant to you.
  • It has Google Docs and Dropbox integration built in which makes for easy content sharing.
  • It’s clutter free, visually appealing and easy to use.
  • It doesn’t have to cost you a penny (although they do offer a premium business version too).

How to Use Trello

To follow this example, you’ll need to understand Trello’s basic structure and do the following:

  1. Create a new Board called ‘Editorial Calendar’. (Boards are a bit like projects).
  2. Add Lists to your Board which will contain different types of content. (See image below).
  3. Start adding editorial content as Cards to your Lists. (Cards are like tasks).

Trello editorial calendar

Naming Your Lists

You have a lot of flexibility here. I found it useful having four Lists to group content:

  1. Blog posts we plan to publish on our own blog.
  2. Premium content like whitepapers, HTML5 infographics, videos and interviews.
  3. Planned guest blog posts.
  4. Content ideas that we might use for future content.

Schedule and Update Content Status

Every bit of content you write will go through a process from initial rough idea to finished and published piece. Once an idea’s been approved, you need a way to track the progress of that particular post (especially if you have several authors / editors working on content).

Trello calendar status

I’ve added four labels to show the status of each piece of approved content.

  1. Schedule: The content has a due date.
  2. Plan: The content has a high level outline of what  needs creating.
  3. Draft: The writing or creating stage is complete as a draft. This may take a couple of drafts to get it right.
  4. Ready: The final draft has been edited, proof-read and is ready for publishing.

 I’ve adapted and simplified Ali Luke’s Four Essential Stages of Writing.

Enable Calendar Power-Ups

Next you need to enable Calendar Power-Ups in the Board’s menu (see image below). This is easy to do but you need to be a Board admin.

Trello calendar powerup

The All-Important Monthly Calendar View

To view the current month, simply click the Calendar view (top right on the Board).

And you’re done!

Now you have an Editorial Calendar which will make content planning a breeze. You’ll get a full month view so you’ll have peace of mind seeing the status of each piece of planned content. You’ll know at a glance who’s responsible for what – and when it should be finished.

Rescheduling is easy too. Just drag and drop in the calendar view.

Trello calendar monthly view

Trello is pretty flexible – so please let us know in the comments if you think of ways to add to this or improve it.

Today’s guest post is by SEO trainer Joe Williams from Zen Optimise. Joe and Kevin Gibbons will be launching a content marketing workshop on 31st October.

  • antoine

    Very…very useful! I created an account and started an editorial calendar in less than 10 minutes. Simple, easy and quick to implement is exactly what I needed. Now I clear my head and start planning my content more methodologically. Thanks!

    • Joe Williams

      Glad you found it useful Antoine. Trello helps keep my mind clear too!

  • Ann Zuccardy

    This is a life saver for me! Thank you for a well documented post.

    • Joe Williams

      Good to hear it helped Ann, and thanks for the comment.

  • Sahil

    Hey Joe :)
    I’d like to add that this is possible with as well. We wrote up something similar here –

    In a couple of days we are revamping our editorial calendar to include posts – specific content items that you would want to plan around.

    I feel marketing teams deserve a tool that is specially designed for them.


    • Joe Williams

      Brightpod looks really good too. I was on the beta version and liked what I saw. Will have to drop by and check it out again.

  • George Papatheodorou

    Nice one Joe. It looks simple and tasks are well organized. I think I’ll give it a try.
    Thank you for the info.

    • Joe Williams

      Glad you liked it George. I hope the SEO is going well for you, and you have a good Christmas.

  • Jonas

    Great idea!

    Do you know of a way to view the trello-board from within wordpress admin?

  • Mike Cooper

    How do you do this with the new Trello?

  • Jason McCullough

    This is great! I was actually thinking about this last night. How to create something like this in Trello. Then I stumbled across this today. This takes all the guesswork out of what I was planning. Thank you so much for writing this.

    This lays out everything I need.

  • Mike Cooper

    Sorry, I typed too soon. Found it. It’s now under “Power Ups” and then you have to enable calendar. Thanks for this! Very very cool!

  • Joe Williams

    Hi Mike,

    Yes the Power Ups are an added extra – so it’s a bit tricky to see.

    Hope you find it as much fun as I do!

  • Mark

    We’ve just introduced Trello to our business and it’s already a hit! The calendar feature is also great – do you know if there is a way to put events on that span over a few days instead of having to add the same event each day?

    • Joe Williams

      As an ‘add on’, I think the intention is to keep it simple and I don’t think that includes spanning over a few days sorry.

  • http://NA Kels

    Hello Joe, great feature….would you happen to know why I am unable to see tasks across DIFFERENT boards within my same calendar? It appears as though if I did not start the board myself/am the administrator of the board, but rather, just a member that has been granted access, I can not see deadlines set on a specific task in x,y,z board on my calendar. If I open up a board myself/am the administrator, I notice I can see deadline dates on my calendar. Any advice?

    • Joe Williams

      From what I gather you can only use the calendar on a per board basis. Not for all boards as it’s an ‘add-on’ and more of a bonus rather than a core feature. You can however make Trello feature request here:

      • Josh

        A possible solution is creating a iCalendar feed for each board (in powerup settings) and import all of those to a single calendar.

        It’s a workaround, but it’s better than nothing!

        • Joe Williams

          Thanks for the tip Josh – that sounds like a handy workaround.

  • Terry Brock

    Hey Joe – thanks for this great post. Extremely helpful and I’m going to be implementing it. Quick question: how do deal with guest authors? Do you add them while they’re writing and assign them to their post’s card? I’m concerned it might slow things down with the learning curve.

    • Joe Williams

      From what I gather, you can either add users at boards level (boards are like projects and one level above cards), or a level higher at organisational level. Maybe the latter is what you want?

      Here’s more info:

      Another thing, users need to subscribe to boards to get email alerts. That one got me for a while…

  • Katie Mark (@katiemark650)

    How does it make it better than basecamp or proofhub?

  • Aidrick Brown

    I would like to suggest proofhub for organized and scheduled execution of projects. Tasks in projects can be better managed and executed with it. It also has got the calendar, so you can better define events and hold them on time.

  • Joe Williams

    @katie and @aidrick

    Proofhub looks good but I can’t comment on it as I haven’t used it. I’ve used Basecamp and liked it but didn’t use it as an Editorial Calendar.

    I really like Trello because it’s very simple to use, easy to collaborate and lends well for an Editorial Calendar. It’s also quite a bit cheaper (free) than Proofhub or Basecamp. That said, if you already use a project management tool and you feel you can turn it into an effective Editorial Calendar, then I’d shoot with that first and see how you get on.

  • Chris

    Hi there, does the Ipad app have the calendar view? If so, I can’t find it.


    • Joe Williams

      I can’t see it on my iPhone app either.

      Josh commented earlier suggesting a workaround to a similar issue:

      “A possible solution is creating a iCalendar feed for each board (in powerup settings) and import all of those to a single calendar.”

      You could then view it in your iPad calendar if that’s the type of thing your after.

  • Ilse

    Thank you. This post was very useful. I was looking for a simple tool like this to organize my ed. calendar. I will now start organizing myself!

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