Content planner – Lookout!

Lookout for Outlook

One of the main tools in any internal communicator’s tool kit, is a decent content planner or editorial calendar.

In past roles I have used a variety of tools some  better than others and other the better ones come with hefty fee. One of the better paid solutions I have used was ‘Smartsheet‘.

Certainly worth a second look if you have large scale events to plan and your plans have a multitude of dependencies. Also very useful if you are rolling out large scale projects. Smartsheets comes with a wealth of templates to suit most business requirements.

Cost for Smartsheets approx $25 per user per month.

Other paid platforms include:

  • Wrike
  • Dapulse
  • Evernote
  • Remember The Milk

I searched for quite sometime for a decent content scheduler that all the team could access, update and utilise. I needed a platform that even the biggest techphobe would feel comfortable with.

Nothing seemed to be quite right for our particular needs. Some offered too many functions it would confuse, some too expensive and others just not worth the fee.

The revelation finally came during a meeting one day when someone said “surely there must be something that we can each update and when one person updates, everyone can see the update“.

It was then that it dawned on me, we already had the solution, all of us have ‘Outlook’ email and calendars. Calendars that can be shared with others and shared with different levels of user permissions.

I went home that evening and created a new ‘calendar’, in this calendar I set up new ‘categories’ one for each of our channels AND a category for each department that relied on us to send out Comms. I gave each channel And department it’s own colour for visual clarity.

I started to translate the multitude of XL sheets, word docs, and other methods of planning that we all used for content and adding a ‘New Events’ for each piece of content that we know would require sending.


We have a IT update to send out and it needs to go on our intranet, app, and via an all employee email.

  • I created a new event called ‘IT update’
  • Location = Intranet, App, Email
  • Select date and time the Comms should be released
  • Ticked the correct ‘categories’ (intranet, app, all email & IT) – setting ‘categories’ mean I can filter the calendar and look for all Comms for a particular channel or department. (a handy function for reporting)
  • In the message body of the ‘event’ I added the prepared content and contact details of the stakeholders.
  • and hit save.

I repeated this with all the Comms I was aware of and once finished I had something that looked like this.

(sample – not actual calendar)

I then shared the calendar with each stakeholder and the team member. (some can view only and others can add and edit). Now we all have visibility and an aerial view to better management ‘traffic control’ Comms. We can each see what is coming down the line and can all add new content.

It is easily switch on or off with simple tick box and if one of the team is off for the day, the rest of the team have visibility of the planned Comms.

If you have other simple methods of would like to discuss this method in more detail, please email me or comment below.







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