5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Using an Excel Spreadsheet as an Editorial Calendar

    By | Small Business

    For certain industries, such as finance, Excel remains a widely popular spreadsheet application for completing a number of different tasks. While Excel has been a reliable and great product for many users, it is now outdated in certain areas. In fact, the trusty spreadsheet made its first appearance on the 512K Apple Macintosh way back in 1984-1985.

    Excel has also been used as an editorial calendar tool for years. While it may have been effective in the past, today we have plenty of other tools specifically designed for creating more effective ones. If you’re still relying on Excel, check out the following five reasons why you need to replace it with an actual editorial calendar.

    It’s Not Collaborative

    When creating your editorial calendar, there’s a good possibility it’s going to be shared by multiple people who are doing everything from exchanging ideas to updating publish dates. One of the biggest problems with spreadsheets like Excel is that they aren’t designed to be used by multiple people, unlike tools like Google Docs.

    This can be a huge issue when sharing your editorial calendar with colleagues through email. When this happens, the spreadsheet is likely to contain duplicate or incorrect data. Furthermore, because it’s being sent through email, you don’t have access to real-time information which means it takes longer to update.

    It’s Susceptible to Human Error

    What can one little spreadsheet mistake lead to? Apparently, everything from financial loss to the firing of CEOs. In fact, for the last decade, the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group has been compiling “spreadsheet horror stories” from all over the world. Turns out it can be a huge deal.

    While using Excel to create your editorial calendar may not lead to a major catastrophe, it just goes to show that spreadsheets are extremely susceptible to human error. Save yourself the trouble of delaying blog posts because of human error, and use an actual editorial calendar that will prevent these mishaps.

    It’s Difficult to Debug

    Another common problem with Excel is mistakes are difficult to find and fix. For example, let’s say you enter incorrect dates for when blog posts are supposed to be published. How will team members pick up on this little mistake? They can’t. This could mean the incorrect date stays that way until you notice the error.

    If you were using a tool like Podio, for example, team members can clearly see the description, title and deadline of article ideas so mistakes could be quickly identified and corrected.

    More Data Means More Limitations

    Let’s say you create an Excel spreadsheet that contains a year’s worth of blog topics. Then you add information like future post ideas, assigned writers and the actual status of each article. Suddenly, your spreadsheet is taking longer and longer to load. The more data you add to your spreadsheet, the more difficult it is to organize, update and sort.

    If you were using a proper editorial calendar, you could easily organize, manage and sort your data since they are more prepared to handle a large amount of data.

    It’s Time-Consuming

    All the above issue lead us to the final reason you should replace your old Excel spreadsheet:You’re wasting valuable time. Whether you are trying to locate an article to mark it as complete, searching for an error, or waiting for a response from a colleague, you’re doing more work than you have to, which no entrepreneurs or small business owner needs. Save yourself time by using a more effective tool and choose a dedicated editorial calendar tool.

    Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and a columnist at BusinessInsider.com, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com. He runs San Francisco-based PR agency Influence People and is the author of How to Get PR for Your Startup: Traction

    BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

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