Anyone who has ever written content for email campaigns, social media posts, or any other marketing vehicle knows how exciting it can be.
However, the excitement can quickly come to a screeching halt when you are juggling four email campaigns, three social media posts, the internal company newsletter, and a PR release. When you look at it this way, it’s quite easy to see how things can quickly get out of hand amongst the chaos.
Even without the chaos, having a plan is always better than just creating content “when you get to it.” Using content calendars can open up additional opportunities for your company’s marketing department by identifying gaps and managing time more efficiently.
Moreover, publishing content consistently helps build trust with your online audience. It helps consumers become more familiar with your brand and increase awareness.
Why do you need a content calendar?
A content calendar (also often called an editorial calendar) provides further direction on the creation and distribution of your content. It can cover your social media posts, blog, emails, and more.
Editorial calendars are critical to your content marketing strategy, and it’s important to have a goal behind each piece of content. If you’re creating content with no strategic purpose, then it probably won’t contribute to your marketing goals and won’t be the best use of your time.
Some benefits of keeping content calendars include:
- Staying current on trends and important dates
- Insert guest bloggers as needed
- Prevents unnecessary time gaps between posts
- Organize creative assets
- Reduce stress
- Structure your time management
Having one document that covers all of these different efforts can help you fill in the gaps of missing content and what you should prioritize. It also gives you and your team members accountability and clear expectations.
What is in a content calendar?
Before we discuss what you should put in your content calendar, you need to choose where to manage and store it.
Google Sheets is a popular and free option to create a content calendar. It’s included with your Gmail address and is easy to share. (You can check out how to make one here!)
Other choices include Trello and Asana. They both have free & paid plans, depending on how robust your calendar is and how many people need to access it.
Once you’ve chosen where to put your content calendar, you’ll need to determine the workflow for content creation. Create a process that goes from brainstorming to the reviewal process to publication and what steps or which team members are needed to make it happen.
You may have to adjust to your team’s needs, but every content calendar should have the following:
- Timeline: You want to include dates for when everything is due. Start with the publication date, and then work backward to determine when the content creator gets the assignment, when the content creator should submit their work to the editor, etc.
- Assignments: Don’t forget to assign the project to a certain team member or approver
- Channel Distribution: When the content is ready, where does it get published?
- Content Organization: Have spaces to label categories like working title, target keywords, meta description, expected word count (if applicable), notes, and status of content (in-progress, published, etc.).
If you want to make your organizational soul sing, then you can also organize content by color. 🎶
For example, different content formats can have an assigned color (Blue is for blog posts, yellow for videos, green for social media posts, etc.). This helps make the content calendar more visual and easier to read.
Where to start?
69% of businesses with a successful content marketing approach use content calendars, so it’s worth the time to create one! Remember that content calendars can start out very basic, and then grow with your business over time.
Now you can put away those phone reminders, post-it notes, and paper notebooks. 🗒 Your content calendar has it all covered.
What platform do you use for your content calendars? We would love to know what works for you!