Let’s set the scene. It’s time for your next blog or Facebook post but your “content ideas” folder is empty. It’s ok, we’ve all been there. But if you wonder how come all these brands keep posting consistently and on time, we have the answer; they use a content calendar.
In this blog post we’ll talk about how to create a content calendar and make sure it works for your particular needs. Along the way, we’ll have a look at when and how to adjust your content calendar to make sure it stays useful, as well as what tools and resources can help you with creating the perfect content calendar.
What is a content calendar and why you need one
You may have heard of content calendars, they’re commonly used by digital marketing agencies and people that specialize in content marketing. But what are they exactly?
A content calendar is a kind of task management board that helps content marketers plan, schedule, and publish content. It can be used for scheduling blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, or any other type of content creation.
Content calendars help marketers stay organized and focused on publishing timely, relevant content. They can also help with tracking the progress of a content strategy and measuring its success over time.
Content calendars can be simple or complex, depending on the needs of the content marketer. There are a variety of content calendar templates available online that can help you get started on different platforms like Google Sheets or Excel Online no matter the content type.
Alternatively, you can create a custom content calendar using your spreadsheet or word processing program of choice.
All in all, a content calendar is a valuable tool for content marketers that can help them plan, schedule, and publish content in a more efficient and effective way.
How to create a content calendar that works for you
A content calendar is a great way to keep track of your content marketing efforts and ensure that you’re consistently creating high-quality content. However, not all content calendars are created equal. The key is to create a content calendar that works for you and your team. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Define your goals
What are you hoping to achieve with your content? Be specific and measurable. For example, rather than saying you want to increase brand awareness, you could say you want to increase website traffic by 10% over the next three months. Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start to think about what type of content will help you achieve them.
Know your audience
Who are you trying to reach with your content? What kind of content do they respond best to? Have a look at past content that has performed well and try to understand what made it successful. This will help you know what to include in your content calendar going forward.
Decide who will be responsible for creating each piece of content and when it will be published. Always include specific deadlines for publishing content as well as updating the calendar itself. The point of creating a content calendar is to help you stay on track and avoid missing deadlines, so be specific and hold yourself accountable.
Life happens, and sometimes the best-laid plans need to be adjusted. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your content calendar as needed. If something comes up that you didn’t plan for, see if there’s a way to work it into your calendar.
For example, if you’re scheduled to publish a blog post on a particular day but then a major news story breaks that is relevant to your post, you may want to consider publishing your post early or changing the focus of your post to address the news story.
It’s important to be realistic when creating your content calendar. If you try to do too much, you’ll likely end up feeling overwhelmed and may even end up missing deadlines. Start by looking at your content strategy and identifying the types of content you want to publish.
Then, create a schedule that outlines how often you’ll publish each type of content. For example, if you’re planning on publishing one blog post per week, you can create a calendar that has space for a new blog post every Monday.
Tips for staying organized and on track with your own content calendar
Alright, now that we covered the question of how to create a content calendar, it’s time to look at ways to keep your content strategy organized and stay ahead of your posting schedule.
Set aside time each week to plan
Once you have a content schedule, set aside some time each week to plan out your content. This will help you stay on top of things and make sure that everything is getting done in a timely manner.
Use a content management system
A content management system (CMS) can be a great way to keep track of new and existing content. This way, you can easily see what needs to be published and when. Plus, most CMS systems offer features that make it easy to share your content with others and promote it on social media.
Keep an editorial calendar
In addition to a content calendar, keeping an editorial calendar can also be helpful. This can help you keep track of deadlines, upcoming events, and special issues that might impact your content.
Use your content calendar to share information with others
If you’re working with a team, make sure everyone has access to the calendar so they can stay up-to-date on your content plans. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Don’t be afraid to delegate!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your content calendar, then it’s time to start delegating tasks to others. There’s no shame in admitting that you can’t do everything yourself, so consider enlisting the help of a virtual assistant or intern to take care of some of the work for you.
Use labels or tags to categorize your content
This will help you find specific pieces of content more easily and keep your calendar organized. This is especially useful if you’re tracking multiple types of content in one file. For example, if you want to add blogs or boosted posts on your social media calendar tags are necessary.
Review your calendar regularly
This will help you identify any gaps in your content strategy and make sure that you are on track to meet your goals. This will help you track your progress and make necessary adjustments to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals.
Keep a list of future content ideas
Maybe you’ve thought of an idea for a post but it doesn’t fit in this week’s social media posting schedule. Maybe you’ve done your keyword research and found a good keyword that’s just too difficult for now. No need to waste these ideas, instead keep them in a “content repository” and archive them for later use.
How to adjust your content calendar to stay ahead
Your content calendar is a valuable tool, but it’s not set in stone. As your business grows and changes, you’ll need to adjust your content calendar to ensure that it continues to meet your needs. Here are a few tips for how to do just that:
Find and optimize weak points
Take a close look at your content calendar and identify any areas that may need some tweaking. Are there certain topics that you’re covering more or less often than you’d like? Is there a particular day of the week that always seems to be left empty? Once you’ve identified potential problem areas, you can begin to make adjustments.
Plan your writing ahead
If you find that you’re always scrambling to come up with content at the last minute, try batching your content creation. Dedicate a few hours each week to creating content, and then use your content calendar to schedule when each piece will go live. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your content is always fresh.
Add new content types
As you create more content, you may want to add new content types to your mix. For example, if you’ve been focusing on blog posts, you may want to add infographics or videos. This will help keep your audience engaged and help you attract new readers. Besides, the added value of varying creatives will bring a more professional look to your brand.
Change up the format
If you find that your readers are losing interest in your content, it may be time to change up the format. For example, instead of always publishing blog posts, mix in some podcasts or webinars. This will help keep your content fresh and engaging.
Depending on how much time you have to devote to content creation, you may need to adjust the frequency of your postings. If you find that you’re unable to keep up with a weekly posting schedule, consider moving to biweekly or monthly. This will help ensure that you’re able to maintain quality control while still meeting your posting goals.
Tools and resources to help you create your content calendar
You know how the old adage goes: “A man is only as good as his tools”.
Well, let’s look at some tools that can make you the best content planner you can be.
Google Sheets/Excel Online
Before we delve into the fancier choices for creating content calendars, we absolutely must mention the two most popular online spreadsheet editors: Google Sheets and Excel Online.
Sure, there may be more specialized solutions out there, but you’d be surprised with just how far a simple Google Sheet can go. And besides, if you’re just planning your first social media strategy, it’s best to go simple.
Asana is a popular project management tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, including content creation. One of the benefits of using Asana for content creation is that it provides an easy way to create and track a content calendar.
This can be especially helpful if you are working with a marketing team, as it allows everyone to see what content is being created and when it is due. Plus, with it’s handy “calendar view” you can keep a bird’s eye view of the process.
Trello is a unique project management tool that uses cards and lists to help users organize their tasks and ideas. This format is ideal for creating content calendars that are easy to read. For example, you can create lists for each month of the year and include within it cards for each piece of content you want to publish.
Each card can include key details such as the title, author, publication date, and any keywords or tags. You can also add comments, attachments, and due dates. Once you complete setting up your content calendar, you can use it to track your progress and ensure that all your content is published on time.
If you’re looking for a content calendar tool that can help you plan and schedule posts, then you should definitely check out Loomly. Loomly is a cloud-based social media management platform that, among other things, makes creating a social media content calendar easy and straightforward.
With Loomly, you can simply enter the date range that you want your calendar to cover, and then start adding content ideas. You can add text, images, videos, and even external links. Once you’re happy with your content calendar, you can then share it with your team or even publish it directly to your website or blog.
Sprout Social is another great tool for social media marketing. It provides users with content ideas, as well as templates and tools for creating content calendars. Like Loomly, Sprout Social is targeted towards social media managers that want their post content, mentions and editorial calendar all in one place.
As a result, Sprout Social is full of features that help you all throughout the content creation process. This includes content calendar tools that integrate all your social media accounts, insights to optimize and inform your publishing schedule, and more.
Of course, no discussion about digital content planning is complete without mentioning Hootsuite. Being one of the earliest birds in the space, Hootsuite has years of experience and development under its belt. This head start has made them a household name among social media managers.
And for good reason. Hootsuite makes it easy to see at a glance when you have new content scheduled and helps you to space out your content so that you’re not overwhelming your target audience. So if you’re looking for an easy way to create and manage a content calendar, Hootsuite is definitely worth exploring.
Why it’s important to be consistent with your publishing schedule
Any content marketer worth their salt knows the importance of being consistent with their publishing schedule. Not only does it help to keep your audience engaged, but it can also boost your search engine rankings and help you to attract new readers.
As we discussed, one of the best ways to be consistent with your content is to create a content calendar. This will allow you to map out when you plan to publish each piece of content, and it will also help you to keep track of what content you have already published.
By being organized and staying on top of your content calendar, you can ensure that you always have fresh, relevant content to share with your audience – and that’s something everyone can benefit from.
A content calendar is an essential tool for any business, no matter what industry you’re in. By planning your content ahead of time and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your website and social media are always up-to-date with the latest information about your company and its products or services.