When your content strategy
is planned out on one calendar, it’s easier to keep organized, focus on deadlines, and be more productive. Your content calendar also keeps your entire team up to date with the latest and upcoming projects.
Just picture this:
- You have a versatile content calendar that can help you organize all of your campaigns, track your projects, and easily collaborate with your team.
- You’re provided an easy-to-follow process for managing said calendar.
- You have several examples of what a great content calendar looks like.
In this post, you’ll learn how to build the perfect content calendar, keep it full of ideas, and make it easier for your marketing
team to do their job.
Download 4 Content Calendar Templates
Before you learn how to organize content calendars, get started with these four templates:
- Annual Content Calendar Template for effectively planning out your content all year long and keeping your team organized.
- Advanced Content Calendar Template that offers an alternative structure and layout.
- Basic Blog Calendar Template for managing a simple blogging schedule.
- Social Media Content Calendar Template for organizing posts, deadlines, and more.
What Is A Content Calendar?
A content calendar
is a resource to plan, schedule, and organize content creation and publishing.
Marketing teams rely on their content calendars to plan campaigns across different platforms—like the company’s blog, email marketing, and social networks. It’s their right hand for planning and creating a steady flow of high-quality content.
3 Content Calendar Types & Tools
Now you know what a content calendar is, so let’s look at three different ways to plan upcoming content.
1. Content Calendar Spreadsheets
The simplest way to create a content calendar
is to use a spreadsheet.
Tools like Microsoft Excel
and Google Sheets
make spreadsheets a free and easy way to plan upcoming content. It’ll take a bit of design work, but once you set it up, you’ll see your calendar at a glance and monitor the progress of each piece of content.
2. Content Calendar Kanban Boards
Kanban boards, which look like virtual whiteboards with mini post-its, can also be used to manage a content calendar.
They’re great for visually managing workflows and are especially suited for agile teams. You can use tools like Trello
or CoSchedule Marketing Suite Idea Board
to create columns for the status of a piece, the platform it’s on, or the week it’s being published to get an overview of your upcoming content. Just drag and drop the card to the right column.
3. Content Calendar Software
The best way to manage your content calendar is through marketing calendar software. (No, Google Calendar doesn’t count.)
CoSchedule Marketing Calendar
is the most powerful calendar on the market.
You’ll be able to see important dates on your content calendar (such as product launches) and how that slots within your upcoming content.
Plus, Marketing Calendar integrates with other marketing tools you’re already using, including:
- Your CMS
- Social media platforms (including LinkedIn and Twitter)
- Your email marketing platform (MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor, and Constant Contact)
This way, you can easily automate the distribution of each new piece. Talk about saving time.
How Do You Structure A Content Calendar?
What should a content calendar include? Here are five steps to creating an effective content calendar.
1. Platform Information
To help you plan your content schedule, make a list of all the channels you want to publish to. Try to match your channel with your target audience. TikTok may help reach a younger audience, but the channel won’t get much traction among B2B buyers.
If you take the time to understand the benefits and shortcomings of each channel, you may avoid spending time and money promoting to people who aren't interested in your product or service.
While it's possible to use a single calendar for many platforms, it's not encouraged. For example, if you plan to post on numerous channels, you may want to create a separate social media content calendar and a blog content calendar.
2. Publish Deadlines
A content calendar must include deadlines for all tasks that help you produce content. Deadlines are a tool to control the chaos and guarantee a consistent flow of published content.
Be realistic about the time it will take to complete tasks when establishing deadlines. The date and time of the content's publication should be made public.
3. Campaign Attribution Information
As a content marketer, you can help with many business goals, including increasing brand recognition, traffic to your website, sales opportunities, converting leads into customers, and improving customer relationships.
Place each content idea on your schedule after mapping it to your sales funnel:
- Top of the funnel (informs the audience)
- Middle of the funnel (offers possible solutions)
- Bottom of the funnel (encourages potential customers to buy your product or service)
It's wise to incorporate the campaign type directly on the calendar because various campaigns require distinct content planning. You can use separate tags for outreach to bloggers, SEO campaigns, paid advertisements, and off-site content, among other things.
To avoid any last-minute confusion among marketers or writers, you should also carefully note which target vertical or campaign the content belongs to.
You also must note your postings' broad subject matter or category in the content calendar. Write down all of the key points you want to bring up in your content. Focus on topics relevant to your target audience and align with your brand's message.
4. Asset Links
The content calendar should include links to the content brief, which the writer must follow to adhere to the content guidelines.
Since content briefs are typically extensive, the most effective method of integrating them is to upload the brief somewhere else and then link the brief to the calendar. For this, you may use Google Docs.
The intended visuals for a post must also link to the content calendar, preferably within the brief itself. Adding the URL of the article to the calendar after the content is published will allow you to discover past posts without searching through the archives.
When defining your content workflows, calendars will have the most significant influence on the production process. Repeatable workflows are the key to having a successful content calendar where each assignee will know beforehand which tasks they must complete. Examples include:
- Task Assignments: Set a deadline for each piece of content and hold each team member responsible.
- Writing: The writers write the first draft.
- Deadlines: The writer must comply with the deadline given in the content calendar.
- Review: Managers, lawyers, compliance officers, product managers, or subject matter experts are among those who may need to review the content.
- Edits: The writer updates based on reviewer input.
- Design: Every piece of content will require some form of design.
- Publication: The content is live!
- Measurement and review: Analyze how well your content is performing in terms of SEO rankings, social media interaction, page visits, and conversions.
Why Use A Content Calendar?
Here are five good reasons to begin your content calendar as soon as possible.
1. Get Organized & Be More Successful
Marketers that proactively plan their marketing are 331% more successful
than their peers. A content calendar is crucial because it will provide you with a better picture of your complete marketing plan. It will help you fix content gaps and prevent missing a deadline.
2. Save Time & Gain Free Time
Planning your content ahead of time can save you plenty of time and effort. You'll be able to upload and go about your day if you have your content ready every scheduled day. Using a content schedule will also give you time to develop new marketing ideas
3. Reduce Stress & Minimize Mistakes
Planning posts for weeks or even months reduces the stress of having to figure out what to write on a given day, which is time-consuming and a productivity killer. Making and scheduling posts in advance also decrease the chance of forgetting to post, ensures that your material is released when your audience is engaged and eliminates the concern of forgetting significant dates.
4. Increase Consistency & Cohesion With Your Marketing Strategy
With a content calendar, you can ensure that no days or weeks go by where no new content is shared on your various platforms. Writing a blog article or creating an infographic at the last minute can result in grammatical errors and other issues, ruining your brand’s overall marketing strategy
A content calendar allows you to plan ahead and devote time to consistently creating high-quality content. As a result, your company's platforms will have a steady stream of activity, which will help create your brand's voice and keep the audience engaged.
5. Capitalize On Seasonality, Holidays, Events, & Trends
You won't miss an opportunity to ride the wave of any critical events if you build a content calendar. It is easier to prepare and arrange around significant dates that might affect your content if you plan ahead. For example, holiday shopping content will do well during Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Content Calendar FAQs
What Is A Social Content Calendar?
Content calendars are designed to organize all content formats, such as blog posts, emails, videos, social media posts, etc. A social content calendar
lists all the social media posts you plan to make and publish in the future. A spreadsheet, Google calendar, or a social media management tool can help you keep track of your activities.
How Do I Make A Content Calendar For Beginners?
When you create a new calendar with CoSchedule Marketing Calendar
, you may follow this comprehensive guide written specifically for beginners to set up your content calendar exactly how you want it.
How Do You Prepare Content?
First and foremost, you must have a clear content marketing goal
that can be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, all leading up to the final goal. Then you'd want to conduct research and understand your audience with the help of audience interaction, comments, and guidance from the audience. Educating your audience on their most pressing concerns should be your first objective.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Content Calendar?
Creating a content calendar with CoSchedule Marketing Calendar
takes less than five minutes. If you are talking about a personalized content calendar, the major work will start before you get to organize it. You'll need between 10 to 15 days to write and publish the pieces for the following calendar month.
How Do I Create A Content Calendar In Google Calendar?
Instead of “meetings,” use the event cards as pieces of content. Color code them by initiative or business unit, and name them according to the piece, such as “Content Calendar Blog Post.” You can also create a new calendar
on Google Calendar.