Content calendars are not just useful for larger brands; they’re a valuable tool for any marketer using content to drive business growth.

According to Curata research, 90 percent of marketers now use a content or editorial calendar. And they’re easier to set up and maintain than you think.

 

What is a Content Calendar?

A content planner or calendar defines your publishing schedule for weeks or months in advance, giving you a quick overview of your content schedule.

Being a shareable resource, it also gives team members clarity about project details and deadlines. Rather than stifling creativity, it will become an ongoing source of content inspiration.

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Top 10 Benefits of Using a Content Calendar

These are just a few benefits of using an editorial calendar:

  1. It helps you maintain a consistent content production schedule.
  2. It will stimulate new content ideas.
  3. It helps your team work more efficiently – together and in isolation.
  4. It makes team members more accountable for content production.
  5. It enables you to plan for seasonal content, company events, and national events.
  6. It’s a flexible framework that allows you to change your content output according to demand.
  7. It helps you plan a diverse range of content topics, such as news, opinion pieces, and in-depth content.
  8. It helps you deliver a more balanced mix of content formats, such as articles, videos, and social posts.
  9. It will help you to maximize your content output.
  10. By using analytics alongside a content calendar, you can track specific content stats.

 

How to Create a Content Calendar in 6 Steps

Step One: Determine Your Topics

Make a list of the broad topics you need to cover. If you’ve already produced content, look at which subjects you haven’t covered. Who are your audience and what do they need to know? When your content addresses their concerns, they’re more likely to engage with your content, share it, and convert into leads and customers. Just remember that what your customers need to know may change as they move through the buyer journey and get closer to making a purchase.

Related Reading:  What is a Content Experience (And Why Does It Matter?)

Consider your marketing goals too. For example, do you want to highlight specific products, drive more traffic to your website, or extend your reach on social media?

 

Step Two: Determine the Publication Channels

How are you going to distribute your content? Each channel is suited to different content types:

  • Your business blog. Ideal for “how-to” content and sharing insights about your business.
  • Your website. Create landing pages, videos, and gated content to increase your credibility. Frequently updating content on your own platform also maximizes your search engine rankings.
  • Video sharing sites. For explainer videos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Social media networks. Great for promoting new content and building brand awareness.
  • Emails. Here, you can target specific audience segments with newsletters, press releases, surveys, and seasonal content.

 

Step Three: Determine Post Frequency

You could try to publish a new blog post every day, but do you have the resources and is this necessary? Plan a realistic publishing schedule that your team can handle. Whatever schedule you’re going to follow, keep it consistent. If you’re not sure, start small with one to three posts a week.

 

Step Four: Create a Spreadsheet

For most content marketers, a spreadsheet is sufficient. In order to collaborate with other team members, consider using Google Drive as it has secure cloud storage and backup. Include columns with the following information:

  • Publication date.
  • Author.
  • Working title.
  • Content description.
  • Marketing goals.
  • Publication channels.
  • Keywords for SEO.
  • Any calls-to-action.
  • Notes and resources.
  • Status: draft, complete, published, or hold.

If you need something more sophisticated, try the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, or free editorial calendars from Constant Content, the Content Marketing Institute, CoSchedule, or HubSpot.

Related Reading:  Paid, Earned, & Owned Media: The Difference

 

Step Five: Start Filling in Your Content Calendar

The beauty of a content calendar is its flexibility. Seasonal content is fixed in place, but everything else can be moved around according to your schedule and marketing goals.

Come up with as many ideas as possible, but remember to keep it realistic in terms of your resources. The quantity of content will depend on the size of your team; if in doubt, focus on quality over quantity. Remember that you can also repurpose content and approach single topics from different angles.

 

Step Six: Define the Workflow

To ensure the content marketing process runs smoothly, give each team member a content strategy guide, including:

  • Your overall marketing goals.
  • An editorial guide, including business tone of voice, suitable content formats, and preferred language.
  • A brief guide on how to use the content calendar and best practices.
  • The name of every team member and who is responsible for each task.
  • Who to approach with questions, and which channel to use for communication.

 

Keep Your Content Strategy on Track

Ultimately, an editorial calendar will help you consistently deliver relevant content to the right channels, so that you meet more of your content marketing goals.

Whether you create your own content or buy content from freelance writers, start with a basic spreadsheet and let it evolve into a more refined content calendar over time. You’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without one.

Do you need quality content to support your content marketing? Constant Content connects you with thousands of professional writers able to create articles, ebooks, product descriptions and other assets to tell your brand story, drive SEO and win sales.


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