It is a must in the current business world to have a content marketing strategy that provides useful and valuable information to your current and potential customers. But with a proper plan behind it, it is essential to ensure that your content is truly delivered in the most usable way for your customers.
Content calendars bring all these different parts together. They ensure that everyone is in line with the most important aspects of your content strategy, and that everyone achieves the task and achieves the goal of meeting the deadlines.
But not everyone realizes the benefits of an effective content calendar. Others think it’s too much work and just get in the way. With tools like Google Pages, compiling your content calendar has never been easier.
What is a content calendar?
Content calendars are plans that help you structure all your content production and outputs. It helps you track the workflows of your content team, and ensures that deadlines are met and that key team members meet them. They also ensure that the content is posted on the days that pack the most. It can be anything from a weekly blog post, a new post on social media during the day or periodic email campaigns.
The size of your content calendar depends on the complexity of your content production strategy. If you have a small team and only post a few articles a week on your blog, a simple planner might be good enough. If you have a complex project with numerous stakeholders producing content on multiple media, you need to have something suitable for the task.
You can not do without it. Content creation is the name of the game for marketers in today’s business world. From blog content to e-books to white papers, one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site and promote customer engagement is to give them something valuable.
This is where a content calendar comes in.
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All-in-one versus separate calendars-which is better?
When compiling your content calendar, you may be sitting between an all-in-one calendar or a separate calendar. Although separate calendars can help you distinguish different content initiatives from each other, all-in-one calendars put everything in a single main page with which you can easily examine everything in a bird’s eye view. It can help you avoid conflicts more easily and better manage larger campaigns.
Who benefits from a content calendar?
In short: Everyone! (Or at least everyone who has a share in your content production cycle.)
Content calendars help divide larger campaigns into smaller, easier-to-manage projects. It helps ease the workload of each of your creative production teams, better manage workflows (for which your managers will thank you) and ensure everything is completed and posted when it is supposed to.
Ultimately, it is your business that earns the most. Content that is posted consistently and on time has the best chance of engaging customers and increasing sales. If you can show your customers that you can provide relevant and timely content on a regular basis, you are more likely to develop lucrative long-term relationships.
More than that, having an active blog or account on a popular social media platform (think Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) helps your online presence, which can increase your brand awareness among customers and prospects. They will begin to recognize your brand as a leader in your space, ensuring that you keep in mind when it’s time to buy.
Why is using a content calendar effective for content marketing?
- Create a content plan for the future: The right organization not only keeps everyone on task and helps your content team avoid unnecessary (and counterproductive) multitasking, it also helps you plan ahead. This means you can start more projects, anticipate important dates, plan future campaigns safely, and set up backup plans if something goes wrong.
- Keep your content relevant: The last thing you want is to let go of important holidays or events without being addressed in your content. Content calendars give you a clear view of the future so you can plan and produce content to go out with key dates (for example, if your business sells sweets of any kind, you should know that July 7 is National Chocolate Day. everyone should know this). It helps you stay in touch with the world around you, a great blessing in the eyes of your customers.
- Accelerate your publication cadences: Content calendars ensure that everything runs at an appropriate pace, but with the overview your calendar provides, you can also identify areas where the process can be made faster, if necessary. Whether it’s additional stakeholders, shortening timelines or cutting out unnecessary parts of the process, content calendars can help you make adjustments and improvements.
What does a content calendar include?
Understanding content calendars is the first step – actually designing one for yourself is a whole different thing. But it’s not as scary as it may seem. These are some of the key components to consider, including:
- Content ideas and pieces: First, you need to decide what type of content you want to produce. This will set all the expectations early and get everyone on the same page at the beginning. It also helps you identify from the outset which teams should be involved in the production and delivery phases of your strategy. Make a list of each of your content ideas and clearly indicate what type of product it can deliver.
- Interested parties: You need to identify the individual stakeholders who will get the content in each phase of the process. This means that strategists, project managers, copywriters, designers and everyone in between should get a name from the start and be informed about the goals of the project.
- Notes: Your content gets nowhere without everyone knowing exactly what it is that needs to be produced. Add a note section that each of your stakeholders can easily refer to when they need a reminder of the project context. If a piece of content has priority and absolutely must be by a certain date, add it to the notes.
- Deadline: Your deadlines are the glue that holds everything together, and you need a lot of it if you have a big project. Start by identifying the final date for publishing the content, and then work back from there. Choose the day on which you plan to complete the entire project (but not publish it), then break the rest of the project into its parts, look at each schedule of your stakeholders and compile a series of project dates on which each team member must have his portion completed.
- Detection: Publishing should not be the end of your content – in many ways it is only the beginning! Do you have a way to check which pieces have been posted so that you can keep track of the status of different projects. It also helps you understand how well (or not well) your calendar works, so you can make adjustments if necessary.
How to set up your content calendar in Google Sheets?
- Start by downloading a content calendar template. You can download ours for free below.
- Assign stakeholders to each phase of the content production process.
- Fill in your calendar with different table of contents and change titles and notes to display important information.
- Include word count and all relevant SEO information, including keywords you need to hit and questions to answer.
- Give a regular cadence and identify important deadlines. This should include draft, completion, review and publication dates.
- Share your calendar with all relevant stakeholders to provide insight and visibility to all involved.
Our free content calendar template
If you are not sure where to start, do not sweat. Download our free content calendar template for easy organization and convenience.
Download the Content Calendar Template:
Content calendars are a must if you regularly plan to deliver content to your clients and email subscribers. It optimizes workflows, reduces errors, and helps you make sure your content holds the most value for everyone.
But that’s just the beginning. If you are ready to take your content marketing strategy to the next level and drive traffic to your website and generate leads for your sales team, contact Brafton. Our consultants are experts in content marketing, and we can help you design the perfect strategies to fit your organization’s goals.
Contact Us today to get started.