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The Best WordPress Editorial Calendars – What’s New for 2021!

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Starting a WordPress blog is quite simple, but maintaining the rigor of regularly and continuously publishing interesting posts for your readers, along with promoting them on social media, can be quite difficult if you don’t have a good editorial calendar plugin in your WordPress.

Process of Creating, Publishing, and Promoting Blog Posts

But before talking about editorial calendars, let’s take a brief look at what are the different tasks that make up the whole process of publishing and promoting posts.

Gif of a scene from the movie "You've got mail" showing Tom Hanks happy and ready to write on his laptop
Writing blog posts can be an exciting process.

In the simplest case of a personal blog or a small business, the publishing process may consist of:

  1. Brainstorm ideas for posts and plan when to publish them,
  2. Write each post,
  3. Review each post,
  4. Publish or schedule the posts, and
  5. Promote those posts on social media.
Gif of a scene from the movie "You've got mail" showing Tom Hanks typing on his laptop and getting nervous
Blogging regularly can be a bit more difficult than it might seem at first.

If we are talking about an editorial team of any company that publishes content in several languages on several websites, the process, obviously, can be much more complex including some of the following tasks:

  1. Brainstorm ideas to post and plan when to publish them,
  2. Look for references that help to generate the content,
  3. Assign who will be in charge of writing, graphic designs or other resources for content creation, revisions, translations, and so on,
  4. Write each of the posts according to the schedule established in the previous point,
  5. Add the graphic designs or complementary resources,
  6. Review each post,
  7. Perform quality control according to the company’s publishing standards,
  8. Translate each post,
  9. Reviews translations,
  10. Perform quality control of translations according to the company’s publishing standards,
  11. Publish each post on the scheduled date,
  12. Promote those posts on social networks or other media,
  13. Analyze the impact of scheduled publications (both on the web and on social networks),
  14. Re-promote those contents with more impact.

And I have not included in the previous steps the coordination work between all team members or the additional work if approval by a legal team of the content is required, for example.

Gif of a scene from the movie "You've got mail" showing Tom Hanks abandoning his purpose of writing on the Laptop
Before you give up on blogging, install an editorial calendar plugin.

In any case, with the two listings above, I just wanted to show that publishing posts can be relatively straightforward or quite a complex process. And, whatever the case, an editorial calendar is a fantastic tool that can help us in the execution of some of the tasks involved.

What Is an Editorial Calendar?

An editorial calendar (also called content calendar or content marketing calendar) in WordPress is used to plan the creation and publication of posts on your blog, showing, not only the published posts, but also those scheduled to be published or pending writing.

Screenshot of the editorial calendar of Nelio Content
Screenshot of the Nelio Content editorial calendar showing the posts, social messages and tasks scheduled.

What’s more, some WordPress editorial calendars also allow you to plan and view the promotion of each post on all social networks. And finally, there are also some editorial calendars that allow you to define and view the tasks you need to perform the entire editorial process.

But why is a “simple calendar” such a critical tool in the blog content creation process?

What and When

When you have to write a post or any other type of document, you always have two enemies lurking in the background: the topic and the deadline. There is nothing worse when you start writing than continually wondering if you have to change the topic or thinking that you have all the time in the world to do complete the task. Then you will almost certainly not be able to blog on a regular and continuous basis.

Gif of a scene from the series "Manifest" in which the main character mentions that there's no harm in keeping your enemies close
Knowing what to write about and when the content should be ready is one of the best motivations for getting the job done on time.

For that reason, the first point of any editorial process, generating ideas to write about and setting the publication date for each of them, is the key to fulfilling your blog purpose. For example, the idea for the title of this post came about a month ago. Once it’s written on the calendar, you know it will be written, better or worse, before the publication date. There is no possible excuse or argument. With an editorial calendar you have no escape when writing: you can feel the pressure. But as we will see below, a calendar is much more than a calendar displaying post titles.

Features and Benefits of Editorial Calendar Plugins

An editorial calendar is the cornerstone of any editorial process. That is why, before selecting an editorial calendar plugin for WordPress, you should know the main features they can have and the benefits that they can bring us. We will start by looking at the main functionalities that these plugins can offer and, then, some characteristics to take into account before installing a plugin of this type.

Calendar Post Information

From the WordPress dashboard we can see the list of posts we have and their status.

Screenshot of WordPress post list
From the WordPress dashboard you can view the list of posts: their title, status, author, and date and time of last modification or publication.

One of the drawbacks of the WordPress post list is that with it, although you have the information, it is difficult to get a quick idea of when each one is going to be published. That is why an editorial calendar is much more graphic.

Screenshot of the editorial calendar of Nelio Content showing the posts scheduled to publish in April 2021
The visualization of published or pending posts in a calendar is very useful for organizing the entire editorial process (screenshot of the calendar from Nelio Content).

All WordPress editorial calendar plugins show on a calendar (weekly or monthly) the titles of the posts on the day that corresponds to them (the last date of modification or publication). In addition to the title, for each post they can also show other properties such as the author, the category or its status (the latter in some calendars can be customized and some calendars add a color to make it visually faster to identify). Additionally, some calendars allow the option of also displaying posts that are unscheduled.

Display Filters

Calendar plugins also allow you to filter the information displayed in the calendar with different criteria.

Post filter on the editorial calendar
Post filter on the editorial calendar of Nelio Content.

As you can see, with a simple glance at the editorial calendar, you can quickly identify if:

  • some idea you wanted to write about you have already dealt with lately,
  • you’ve forgotten a current topic you should write about,
  • you are approaching the publication date of a post that is not yet written,
  • all the posts in a month are from the same category or by the same author

All this information is not easy to see with the simple list of posts.

Create and Edit Posts From the Calendar

Ideally, editorial calendars should not only show already-existing posts, but also let you manage them. For example, you should be able to create new posts directly from the calendar:

Screenshot of how to add a new post from the Nelio Content editorial calendar
From the editorial calendar of Nelio Content you can create a new post very easily.

Some of them allow you to initially create the post titles without setting their publication date. In this way you can first define the ideas about the topics you want to talk about on your blog and then add the date to them.

Editorial Calendar with Unscheduled Posts
Nelio Content’s editorial calendar includes unscheduled posts.

And they also include the possibility of modifying the title of that post directly in the calendar and have a link or button so that you can directly go to the edition of that post without having to go through the list of posts.

Screenshot of how to edit a post from the Nelio Content editorial calendar
Clicking on any post in the Nelio Content editorial calendar opens a popup window that allows you to modify the title, author, date or go to edit that post.

Move Calendar Post With Drag-and-Drop

One of the most convenient features of any editorial calendar plugin is to move any post and change its publication date by simply clicking on it and dragging it to the new desired date.

Screenshot of how to drag and drop an entry into the Nelio Content editorial calendar
In Nelio Content’s editorial calendar you can easily drag and drop any post to make the changes you want.

This functionality is really convenient when you have to organize all the editorial planning or if you need to make a quick change of dates.

Full Bird’s-Eye View – Posts, Social Messages, and Tasks

All the editorial calendar plugins offer you the above mentioned functionalities, however, some of them go a step further and help you with the whole editorial process: they let you create, edit, and visualize the coordination tasks of the whole editorial process and manage their promoting on social media.

Of course, when we talk about promotion on social media, it means that the plugin will have previously asked you to connect your social networks to it and then it will taker care of publishing the messages in each of them. For example, with the Nelio Content editorial calendar you can post messages on the following social networks:

With a plugin of this type we have much more complete information about the entire editorial process of our blog. We can see, for each post, the tasks already completed or those that are still pending, and the complete scheduling of messages on social networks that will talk about that post. How wonderful!

Plugins that also display tasks and messages, also make sure that you see the tasks colored or add other graphical representations so that you can see the information easily and you can make decisions more quickly.

In addition, as with posts, some editorial calendars allow you to filter this information.

Social message filter in the editorial calendar
If you use the Nelio Content editorial calendar, you can filter the messages you want to be shown in the editorial calendar.

In this way now you can also quickly see, for example:

  • the pending tasks to be carried out,
  • if there are days when your social networks are going to be empty of content,
  • if there have been problems with the publication of a social message,
  • what is all the promotion scheduled for a particular post over time, or
  • what is all the promotion that takes place in a certain social network.

As you can see, it’s a lot of information that you see at a glance. Without the editorial calendar, you would waste a lot of time finding it.

Agile and Efficient Promotion

It is true that, sometimes, such a complete global vision does not allow you to focus. That is why it is also very interesting to know, individually for each post, what is going to be its promotion on social networks.

Screenshot of the Nelio Content editorial calendar highlighting an entry and its entire promotion
Screenshot of the Nelio Content editorial calendar highlighting a post and its entire promotion

In this way, you can control whether, for each post, you are carrying out the appropriate promotion on all your social networks. If you identify that for a particular post you should add a message, it is important that from the calendar itself, you can easily create and add the necessary information to complete the message. And if you are interested, you should be able to link that new message to the published post.

Dialog for Editing Social Messages using Nelio's Editorial Calendar
Dialog for editing social messages using Nelio’s editorial calendar. Using this dialog, you can easily edit the message, social profile, and publication moment of a social message. You can also see the post this message is related to (if any).

We have also mentioned before that editorial calendars allow you to move date posts with the mouse. But what about the tasks and messages that depended on that post? Do you also have to go one by one to re-schedule them in the calendar? This task can be very error prone if you are not very thorough. For this reason, in some editorial calendars, when you move a post all social messages and tasks that depend on it will be automatically rescheduled.

Handy, right? Here’s a video illustrating how easy it’s to re-schedule posts, messages and tasks in Nelio Content’s editorial calendar.

It is

Notifications

Another feature provided by some editorial calendar plugins provide is the possibility of sending an e-mail notification to collaborators the moment a post status changes. Some plugins do this automatically after indicating the people involved in the preparation of that post (by default, its author) and others allows you to create notifications manually in the calendar.

Notifications in Nelio Content tools
Selection of the users to whom you want to send notifications due to a change in the post’s publication status in Nelio Content.

Automatic Promotion

One last feature offered by some of the editorial calendar plugins is to automatically create the promotion of your posts on social networks. Some plugins not only allow you to create social messages manually and reschedule them, but they automatically take care of filling the calendar with messages to promote old posts. In the following video you can see how Nelio Content after connecting the social profiles to the plugin, is capable of generating different messages in those profiles to promote your blog posts.

Of course, as you may have already guessed, the time you can save by having this functionality is remarkable.

WordPress Integration

When we are going to select an editorial calendar plugin or of any other type, apart from its functionalities, we must also look at what type of plugin it is and how it integrates with our WordPress. What alternatives do we find?

WordPress Native Plugin

It is a type of plugin that is entirely designed and developed for WordPress. Of course, with an editorial calendar like this, your learning curve to use it is very easy since it uses the same interface that you are familiar with. But not only that, just as WordPress roles are designed so that you can control what users can and can’t do on the website, a native WordPress editorial calendar plugin can also use the same roles to define who has access to calendar management tasks, and who can create, view, and publish posts, tasks, or social messages to the calendar. This way, at all times there is absolute consistency between what can be done and seen in the editorial calendar with what can be done and seen on your WordPress website.

If you’re looking for an editorial calendar to create and display posts only, surely a native WordPress plugin is your best option. But if you are looking for a plugin with which you can also create all the social messages, saving this volume of data and continuously running the publication of these posts from your WordPress, it can overload your server and negatively impact SEO and your hosting bill.

Plugin that Inserts a Framework in Your WordPress

It is a type of plugin that, similar to a page builder, adds a framework in your WordPress to integrate an external tool. Depending on how these plugins are implemented, they will adapt better or worse to your WordPress environment and the learning curve will surely be greater than if it were native.

Most calendars that are implemented like this usually need an external account on their site. Most of the data is stored there (with the advantage of not overloading your server) but you need to be logged somewhere else. In addition, not being so integrated into your WordPress, the “roles” will have to be defined and you could have inconsistencies between the information displayed on your website and in the tool.

Native WordPress Plugin with Some External Component

This type of plugin is also entirely designed and developed for WordPress and, therefore, with the same advantages mentioned for native WordPress plugins: they are very easy to use and without the need to create users and roles in an external tool. But in order not to overload your WordPress server, they outsource some tasks, like the scheduling and publishing of social media promotion. This type of plugins seeks to integrate the advantages of the previous solutions without suffering their drawbacks.

Finally, always keep in mind that, before selecting any plugin, you should check it meets the following selection criteria:

  • Look at the reputation of the developer,
  • Make sure plugin development is active, and
  • Check if the support and community are healthy.

Editorial Calendar Plugins

Nelio Content

Nelio Content is a native WordPress editorial calendar plugin that, just by installing it, will take your entire editorial process of posting posts and promoting them on social media to another level.

Screenshot of the Nelio Content plugin in the WordPress plugin directory
Nelio Content plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

It is a plugin created by us totally designed for WordPress and always updated to integrate perfectly with the latest version of the platform. It has over 6,000 active installs, a good number of positive reviews, and has a great support service, not only to premium clients, but to any free user of our plugins.

Main Features

  • Allows creating, modifying and deleting posts in the calendar (also undated),
  • Allows you to create, modify and delete messages on social networks associated or not with a post,
  • Supports posting messages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google My Business, Reddit, Instagram (via Buffer), and Tumblr.
  • Allows you to create, modify, and complete tasks (premium version),
  • Displays different colors depending on the status of the post and social messages,
  • Of the authors, it shows their gravatar,
  • Of the social profiles, it shows their logos for better visualization,
  • It includes the following filters to display the calendar information: view posts by author and/or content type; view messages by social profile, those that have been created automatically and those that have failed; and view tasks by responsible,
  • Allows you to view the promotion of a post individually,
  • When moving a post, all its promotion and tasks associated with it are automatically rescheduled,
  • It is multi-user and their roles are the same as those of WordPress,
  • Allows automated notifications to be sent due to a change in the status of a post,
  • Includes automatic generation of messages on social networks to share new posts (premium version),
  • Includes automatic generation of social messages to share old posts (premium version),
  • Allows you to define message templates for the generation of automatic messages,
  • Fully native WordPress plugin but social messages are saved and scheduled on Nelio’s servers,
  • The workload for scheduling and publishing social messages is done on Nelio’s servers.

In addition to all the aforementioned features of the editorial calendar, it also includes functionalities to control the quality of the posts, to be able to schedule the promotion of a post directly from the edit screen, to have analytics to analyze the impact of the posts and their promotion, and many others to help you make the entire content publishing experience much more efficient and secure.

Plans and Pricing

The free version of the plugin includes (almost) all the above functionalities except the automatic publication of messages on social media. This version limits the publication of messages on social networks to one social message on each social network at the time the post is published.

But with the premium plans you will be able to schedule many more social messages and benefit from content promotion automations.

Screenshot of Nelio Content plans and prices
All Nelio Content plans include the same functionalities. The price of each plan depends on the name of the sites where you want to install the plugin.

Editorial Calendar

Screenshot of the Editorial Calendar plugin in the WordPress directory
Editorial Calendar plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

The Editorial Calendar plugin is a native WordPress plugin that provides you with a calendar on your WordPress dashboard with minimal information regarding the posts, that is, the post title and nothing else. It has over 30,000 active installs and very good reviews.

Main Features

  • Allows you to create, edit, and delete posts (also unscheduled posts),
  • Allows you to move posts that are draft or scheduled within the calendar.

Plans and Pricing

This plugin is completely free.

PublishPress

Screenshot of the Publipress plugin in the WordPress plugin directory
Publipress plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

The PublishPress plugin is a native WordPress plugin that provides you with a calendar on your WordPress dashboard with the following information regarding your WordPress posts: title, author, status, date, and category. It has over 5,000 active installs and very good reviews.

Main Features

  • Allows you to create, edit, and delete posts,
  • Allows you to move posts that are drafts or scheduled within the calendar,
  • Displays different colors depending on the status of the posts,
  • Includes the following filters to display calendar information: view posts by author, status, tags, and/or content type,
  • You can schedule notifications in the calendar that will be sent by email when a post is published,
  • It is multi-user and you can modify the roles of each one to define who receives notifications (premium version),
  • Allows you to create, modify and complete tasks (premium version),
Screenshot of PublishPress editorial calendar
With the PublishPress editorial calendar you can posts, comments, and notifications.

Plans and Pricing

The free version of the plugin includes all the commented functionalities of displaying posts and notifications. Premium plans make it possible to manage notifications and roles.

Screenshot of PublishPress plans and pricing
Screenshot of PublishPress plans and prices.

Edit Flow

Screenshot of the Edit Flow plugin in the WordPress plugin directory
Plugin Edit Flow in the WordPress plugin directory.

The Edit Flow plugin is also a native WordPress plugin that provides you with a calendar on your WordPress dashboard with the following information regarding your WordPress posts: title, author, status, date, and category. It has over 10,000 active installs and good reviews.

Main Features

  • Allows you to create, modify, and delete posts,
  • Allows you to create custom post status,
  • Includes filters of calendar posts by status, categories, and users,
  • Allows you to move posts in the calendar with the mouse,
  • It is multi-user and their roles are the same as those of WordPress,
  • Allows automated notifications to be sent for a post’s status change.
Screenshot of the editorial calendar of the Edit Flow plugin
Screenshot of the Edit Flow plugin editorial calendar (source: WordPress plugin directory).

Plans and Pricing

This plugin is completely free.

SchedulePress

Screenshot of the Schedulepress plugin in the WordPress plugin directory
Schedulepress plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

SchedulePress is a plugin that adds a framework to your WordPress and you can very visually and easily see all the titles of the posts in an editorial calendar. In addition, for each of them you can edit them and move them around the calendar in a very comfortable way.

Main Features

  • Allows you to create, modify, and delete posts (also undated),
  • In the plugin settings you can set which posts to see in calendars by author and/or content type,
  • Posts can be conveniently moved on the calendar,
  • Allows automated notifications to be sent due to a change in the status of a post,
  • Supports the publication of a message on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest at the time of publication of the post,
  • All information is saved in the client’s own WordPress,
  • It is multi-user and allows you to configure the permissions of each one of them.

Plans and Pricing

The free version of the plugin includes all the above functionalities but you also have premium plans that include a support service.

Screenshot of Schedulepress plans and pricing
SchedulePress plans and prices.

CoSchedule

Screenshot of the CoSchedule plugin in the WordPress plugin directory
CoSchedule plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that adds a framework in WordPress for the use of the external CoSchedule Marketing Calendar tool. Although the plugin is free, in order to use it you have to subscribe to one of the available plans and create an account to access their tool.

Main Features

  • Allows you to create, modify, and delete posts,
  • It allows creating, modifying, and deleting social messages associated or not with a post,
  • Supports posting messages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
  • Allows you to configure different colors of posts and messages,
  • Of the authors shows its Gravatar,
  • Of the social profiles, show their logos for better visualization,
  • It includes a very complete system of filters for inputs and messages,
  • Allows you to view the promotion of a post individually,
  • When you move a post, all your promotion to it is automatically re-scheduled,
  • It is multi-user and the roles must be specified in the tool,
  • Includes an automatic generation of social messages to share old posts,
  • Social messages are saved and scheduled on Coschedule’s servers,
  • The workload for scheduling and publishing social messages is done on Coschedule’s servers.
Gif of the editorial calendar of CoSchedule.
CoSchedule editorial calendar, in which all items are displayed as cards (source: CoSchedule blog)

Plans and Pricing

CoSchedule Marketing Calendar has a one-time price of $39 per month that includes a license for a single user on one site. In other words, you will need as many licenses as WordPress users have access to the tool.

Screenshot of Coschedule plans and pricing
Screenshot of Coschedule plans and pricing.

What is The Best Plugin?

A plugin that provides you with an editorial calendar is one of the best tools to have a successful blog and be much more efficient throughout the editorial process of publishing and promoting your posts. And if you still have doubts about which one to choose, here I summarize some relevant ideas of each one:

  • Nelio Content is a native plugin for WordPress developed by us, perfectly integrated with Gutenberg that can assist you throughout the whole process of publishing and promoting posts. I’ts perfect for bloggers, companies, and agencies that want to take their blog seriously.
  • Editorial Calendar, PublishPress and Edit Floware native WordPress plugins that offer very simple calendars with minimal functionalities. They’re interesting options if you are a blogger who only wants to view the posts in a calendar.
  • SchedulePress is a plugin that adds a framework and is visually a little more attractive than the previous three.
  • CoSchedule is an external service that you have to subscribe to that is integrated with an additional marketing service designed for large editorial teams.

If you have come this far and you liked this post, make no mistake that it is thanks to the Nelio Content plugin.

Featured image by Debby Hudson on Unsplash.

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