How to Create a Successful Content Calendar
With the need for a constant flow of fresh content, it’s easy to be overwhelmed managing your marketing channels and content creation.
With a content calendar in your arsenal, it can help streamline the organization of your marketing strategy, increase efficiency, and save time. But how do you use it to your business’ advantage?
In this article, we’ll explore how you can create a successful content calendar that works for your business.
Table of Contents
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar, or “editorial calendar”, is a schedule of when and where you plan to publish upcoming content. They typically include upcoming pieces, status updates, and other important information relating to the content.
Why do you need a content calendar?
You’ll need a content calendar if you’re looking to improve and grow your content marketing strategy because staying organized is key. Here are 5 reasons why you should implement a content calendar into your digital marketing strategy:
1. Saves time
It frees up time that can be spent on other creative pursuits. Blocking out some time to plan helps you shave off hours spent on planning your posts day-to-day.
2. Minimizes errors
Think of a well-planned content calendar as the oil to a well oiled machine.
By planning ahead the captions, materials, and other delegated responsibilities, you’ll ensure all necessary processes go ahead smoothly. For example, if you’re part of a bigger team, where editing and other fact-checking are distributed within the team, rushing this could lead to costly mistakes.
Having a content calendar can also help you avoid any miscommunication between team members such as both parties creating guides that cover the same topic.
3. Creates consistency
It gives you a big picture of your upcoming content, which can be helpful when it comes to planning future content and keeping it fresh. You can see the entire content marketing strategy for a month or more at a time.
A content calendar is also useful for checking if the content you’re publishing across multiple channels are cohesive.
The other pros of utilizing a content calendar is consistently churning our content. When you have a schedule to stick to, chances are you’ll be able to organize your workload and content creation accordingly.
4. Enables collaboration
If you’re working in a team, keeping a content calendar helps to keep everyone on the same page. It’s a useful tool that everyone can access and contribute to. Its accessibility allows everyone to see the status of each post without having to contact people individually.
5. Keeps accountability
Having a schedule ensures that you focus on all content-related tasks. This way prevents you from publishing inconsistently or any oversight for opportunities to repurpose old content.
How to create your own content calendar
The biggest obstacle for most content creators and marketers is knowing what to post.
It might seem like a daunting task to come up with enough ideas to fill an entire calendar, months ahead of time. But fret not, there are a few strategies to ensure that you never run out of content ideas.
1. Use a content calendar tool
There are many tools out there that exist specifically for creating, managing, and collaborating on your content calendar.
Although some may not come exactly in the form of a calendar, they do get the job done.
Here are some great content calendar options to try:
- Trello: a project management and communication tool which works rather well in terms of task management purposes! We like to use their calendar feature to have a visual overview of the content lined up for the month.
- Google Sheets: it’s another popular option for most individuals and small teams. It’s free and great for collaboration.
- Google Calendar: perfect for a one person team.
- Notion: primarily a project management and note-taking software, has been used for coordinating deadlines, objectives, and assignments for the sake of business’ efficiency and productivity. You can use it to add notes, websites, delegate, and check off tasks.
2. Refer back to content pillar strategy
As part of any content marketing strategy, the content pillar strategy exists to make our lives easier when planning content. They’re a great reference point if you’re ever stuck for some ideas.
Content pillars are 3 to 5 topics which your brand consistently discusses, amplifies, and creates content for on your marketing channels. They ought to be specific to your brand, but you can borrow themes from similar niches. If you’re a fitness brand, your pillars could include themes such as healthy eating, lifestyle, and motivation.
Your content pillars will help you schedule content along with all the necessary components that accompany your content. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, our other blog talks about 8 quick ways to overcome a creative block.
3. Decide on a publication frequency
So you’ve got your list of content ideas sorted. The next step is to decide how frequently you want to publish your content. Consider how it will tie into your overall content strategy.
The nature of your content postings varies on the content type itself. So, let’s say you’re planning for your social media content, then you’ll want to publish at least 3-5 few posts a week. On the other hand, blog content can be published 3-5 posts per month. So really, it’s up to you.
4. Add items to your calendar
Then you’re ready to begin adding items to your calendar. Using your list of content ideas, fill in your dates and times according to the frequency you just established in the previous step.
5. List and schedule everything that needs to be done
Think of your content calendar as a trusty tool to make full use of! These are a few things that make up a typical content calendar:
- Title – a strong title is crucial to hooking your intended target audience. Including your title to your content calendar helps you to align, check, and clarify which ones are currently being worked on.
- Type of content – this category defines how each piece of content is planned. Having this written down ensures that you’re catering the right messaging for the intended podcast, email, video, or guide!
- Publish date – if you have many things on your plate, deadlines are important to ensure accountability for getting tasks done–such as publishing content on time.
- Channel destination – where this content is meant to be posted, then you can turn back to its analytics whether it performs
- Person in charge – this gives the team and people involved a clear label to ensure everyone knows who is responsible for the content piece. This is to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
- Supporting media – this streamlines the process of preparing the content and its supporting graphics or media such as videos or e-books.
- Future content ideas – content creation is no easy feat, so keeping a designated spot for content ideas is helpful. Sometimes you never know when those bursts of inspiration hit you so it’s a good place to offload that idea there.
6. Track and analyze your content calendar
Although content calendars exist to speed up your content creation process and organize your time, it’s an excellent way to track and measure your campaigns across mediums. Tracking your analytics is necessary to optimize your content calendar for the future.
When a certain piece of content performs well, take note, and use it as a stepping stone to content ideas that your target audience actually wants. You’ll learn what to discard, change, and adapt to cater to each platforms’ needs.
The bottom line
As a marketer, content creation takes up the bulk of our time. Thankfully there are strategies and tools in place to smooth out our workflow processes. Trust me, having a well-planned content calendar will save you time to focus on other aspects of your marketing strategy. Plus, there’s the added relief of knowing what to post using the pool of content from your content pillars and calendar.
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