A newsletter calendar keeps your publication on track. Whether you send it by mail or email, creating a regular newsletter for your clients and prospects is an important marketing strategy. However, many organizations struggle to find topics for their newsletters or have trouble getting it out the door on a set schedule.
To prevent these problems, businesses can borrow a technique magazines have been using for ages: the editorial calendar. This sample newsletter schedule will help keep your organization’s newsletter on track. Remember, these dates aren’t hard-and-fast rules. The most important thing is to find a set of deadlines that feels comfortable — not rushed — and stick to those deadlines for each newsletter cycle.
What: Annual Planning
When: Each December
Create a list of seasonal topics for the upcoming year and pencil them in for each month. For example, a Realtor might want to include a spring cleaning checklist in April, tips for a greener lawn in August and strategies for choosing a good school district in September.
What: Editorial Meeting
When: 1-2 Months Before Publication
An editorial meeting typically includes everyone contributing to your newsletter: editors, writers, managers and designers. Print newsletters need more time, so schedule your editorial meeting at least two months before deadline. Email newsletters may use a shorter timeframe. In the editorial meeting discuss possible story topics, assign writers to each story and establish writing deadlines for each article. Refer to your annual planning calendar for story ideas, and also incorporate current news and events at your organization.
When: 3-5 Weeks Before Publication
On this day, all articles should be submitted to the newsletter editor for review and approval. Set this deadline based on whether you have a print or email newsletter, and be sure to allow leeway for missed writing deadlines.
When: 2-4 Weeks Before Publication
By this date, all the articles and other newsletter content should be submitted to the designer for layout.
What: Layout Approval
When: 1-3 Weeks Before Publication
While this is not the best time to make any edits or changes to the copy, the newsletter editor should take one last look at the newsletter layout to ensure everything is formatted correctly.
What: Printing & Distribution
When: 1-2 Weeks Before Publication
Email newsletters should be scheduled for release at a specified day and time, and print newsletters should be sent out for printing and mailing. Then, start the cycle all over again!