Creating a Content Calendar The Easy Way
Building a content calendar makes content marketing organized and well-planned. Planning which content to publish or post is always a clean strategy to build authority to your business platforms. To help you better understand a content calendar, we will talk about what it is, its importance, the best practices you should use, and how to create it.
What Is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar or editorial calendar is a written schedule of where and when you post or publish upcoming content. You can include updates to existing content, partnerships, planned promotional events or activities, status updates, and upcoming content pieces in the content calendar.
Why Is a Content Calendar Important?
If your content marketing strategy aims to grow your business online, keeping content organized through a content calendar is key. There are three ways a content calendar improves your marketing strategy:
- It makes sure your content-related tasks will happen. A disorganized content production schedule will only let you forget things, neglect to update existing articles, or publish less often.
- It makes it easier to work with your team or outside partners. If your content creation involves a team of people, then a content calendar keeps everyone on the same direction.
- It provides a bigger picture overview of your upcoming content-related activities. For example, you make sure that you do not publish content of case studies at once or two guides discussing the same topic.
But if occasional blogging is just your hobby, then a content calendar might not be needed.
What Are the Best Practices in Creating a Content Marketing Calendar?
1. Learn and Understand the Content Calendar’s Key Elements
Your content calendar does not have to be difficult or complicated because the aim for it is to make things organized and easier. Here are the key elements you should take note of:
Editorial is the most important element of your content calendar because it is the pieces of content you will post or publish. Your content calendar should allow your editorial pieces to be scheduled in advance.
The amount of time you schedule your content depends on your marketing strategy. You can plan to schedule content for a month or even a year.
The platform is where you place your content. A solo content creator is the most flexible in making a content calendar because the person can start from using a pen and paper to a Google Spreadsheet.
But with a content marketing team, it has a different scenario. You have a group of 5-20 people touching or accessing your content calendar, so it is crucial that everyone can see each post’s status.
This is an element that involves how you will promote your content. It should answer questions like:
- Will you be sending promotional emails to your email subscribers?
- Will you have a promotional interview?
- When will you share promotions on your social media accounts?
You can title or color your promotional activities differently, so it is easier to tell them apart.
1.4 Future Ideas
Your future content ideas are also a key element for content marketing, and these are ideas you are not working on yet. These are topics that you suddenly thought that might contribute to the success of your content marketing strategy.
The ideas do not typically show up in your calendar because they do not have schedules yet. They are just notes you can add to your content calendar tool.
2. Utilize a Content Calendar Tool
Content calendar tools allow you to collaborate, manage, and create schedules for various activities easily. Choosing a tool depends on how big your team is and the loads of content you will publish.
These are some of the content calendar tools you can use:WordPress Editorial Calendar is a free WordPress plugin that provides an overview of your blog and the schedule of each post to be published. You can drag and drop post schedules to move them.
Loomy has interactive guides for making automated social media and blog posts with a feature that lets you see who among the team is onboard.
Google Calendar is developed by Google that allows people to schedule personal or business events and activities and manage time. It is extremely user-friendly where you can click on the date and enter the details for it.
Microsoft Excel is developed by Microsoft and is a spreadsheet suitable for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. It has features like calculation pivot tables and graphing tools that help organize data.
Google Sheets is also a spreadsheet developed by Google that allows you to format and create spreadsheets. If you have a Google account, this is automatically included in your office suite, together with other Google apps.
3. Include Other Promotional Stuff in Your Content Calendar
Other than scheduling fresh and new content-related activities, content calendars can also be used for other things, such as:
- Content updates – Keeping your existing content up to date by editing it is crucial in your content marketing strategy. It keeps visitors more interested in your content.
- Scheduling and promoting off-site activities – You should also note off-site activities you have on your content calendar to make sure you do not miss anything. Interviews, guest posts, and other types of off-site promotional events should be included.
How to Create a Content Calendar
Creating a weekly calendar, for example, can seem daunting if it is your first time. But when everything is organized in the calendar, you will see how helpful it is to your business.
The following are easy steps to create a content calendar:
Step 1: Make a List of Content-Related Ideas
Create a list of your content-related events, activities, and ideas. When you write down these items, make sure to group them according to how they are related.
Step 2: Decide on the Frequency of Your Publication
The frequency varies on your marketing strategy. For content intended for social media, you might post multiple times a day, while for your blog, you can do once per week.
If you are using a spreadsheet, you can organize tabs for different levels of details, like weekly versus monthly.
Step 3: Assign Dates to Your Content Ideas
From the list you created in Step 1, assign a date to each event, activity, or idea. You also need to state the frequency of the content you will publish.
Below is a sample of how you can organize your calendar:
Step 4: Schedule Each Part of Your Content Process
When you are dealing with complex projects in a team, it would be helpful to schedule each part of the process. In other words, you need to assign each person the task with the target finished date and to explain what the part is about.
Write down the content types you will publish. For each type, break it into steps so your team knows the entire process for each content.
Put each step into your content calendar and enter the name of each person assigned for a task for that step.
Building a content calendar requires time to create a plan but ensures a well-organized content schedule when planning is done. By learning what it is and its importance and understanding the best practices and how you do it, a content calendar can become a key element for the success of your business. Follow our guide to create a content calendar now and outpace your competitors!