Knowing how challenging it is to consistently publish high-quality content at scale is something you’ll appreciate if you manage a content schedule for a well-known or big brand. Months in advance, you must organize content, assign writers and editors, and communicate with the marketing group.
A content calendar, an editorial calendar, is a helpful tool for publishers and marketers alike.
Defining a Content Calendar
Given that businesses produce a wide variety of content a content calendar is a must for streamlining content marketing execution and providing stakeholders with a bird’s-eye view of your efforts.
This structure can also be applied to individual transmission mediums.
You can use tools like a content calendar to better plan out your social media strategy. For this, you may need some specialized data, like hashtags, influencers, and the specific social media platform where you plan to release the content in question.
Difference Between Content & Editorial Calendar
Content and editorial calendars may sound the same, but the two have important distinctions. Editorial calendars are helpful because they serve as a long-term guide for determining what will be published and when.
These guides provide a monthly breakdown of themes for your content team to use, but they can be used to make a content strategy for an extended time in the future. Each month’s deliverables can be themed around whatever concepts, events, holidays, or other topics your brand wants to highlight that month.
Your content team can work on the content that will focus on the deliverables now that an editorial calendar has been established.
Here’s where having a content calendar comes in handy.
The content creation and promotion processes can be managed with the help of content calendars based on the deliverables outlined in the editorial calendar. Marketers can track the progress of a piece of content at any time, thanks to a well-thought-out content calendar.
An editorial calendar and a content calendar are essential. Some businesses even combine the two approaches for optimal efficiency.
They improve productivity and help you meet deadlines and objectives when used together.
Reasons to Have a Content Calendar
Guide for Your Strategy
Using a content calendar, you can plan your content strategy to ensure that it supports your larger business objectives. When you don’t have a plan, publishing content that doesn’t support your business objectives is easy.
If one of your objectives is to increase qualified leads from organic search, that focus should be reflected in your content. Using a content calendar will make you more likely to publish articles that will increase search engine rankings for targeted keywords rather than getting sidetracked by the latest content trends.
Helps Organize Your Thoughts
The processes of writing, publishing, and promoting content are complex.
In most cases, several people, applications, servers, and channels must work together. Use a content calendar to keep yourself organized from start to finish.
Everyone’s responsibilities and the tasks they’re responsible for are listed in one convenient location. Having everyone on the same page like this helps nothing get missed.
Encourages Team Collaboration
Collaboration is also greatly simplified by using a content calendar. A centralized document ensures that all authors, designers, and editors are on the same page and aware of upcoming deadlines. They will be able to view the content being produced, the publication schedule, and any comments or notes that pertain to the content.
That way, you can rest assured that you’ll have time for any revisions or alterations you might want to make. Additionally, it expands the potential for content reuse in various contexts. Your article’s reach could be increased if a social media manager were to compile upcoming content from your blog and distribute it via social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
The regularity with which you can publish is another crucial benefit of using a content calendar. It can be tough to think of new content ideas without a strategy consistently. An editorial calendar helps you organize your content by date, topic, and theme and gives you a timeline for the various tasks you’ll need to complete.
If you don’t put some thought into your content creation in advance, you might find it challenging to maintain a high-quality standard. It takes far too many steps and is therefore impractical.
Tracks Your Performance
Last but not least, a content calendar aids in monitoring the success of individual pieces of content. Reviewing past content’s success or failure at regular intervals can be a valuable way to learn for use in shaping future efforts. As a result, you can better allocate your resources toward the channels producing the best results.
You can’t tell if your content is helping you reach your business goals unless you track its performance regularly. It’s possible to waste a lot of time and money publishing content that doesn’t add value to your company.
How to Create a Content Calendar
Step 1: Categorize Your Content
You should start by considering the various content types you want to include in your calendar. To successfully publish great content regularly, you should zero in on the forms that best fit your expertise, resources, and readers’ needs.
Step 2: Select Your Content
Next, decide on the broad subject areas and specific niches your content will cover over a specified time frame. Your content’s efficacy will increase proportionally with the degree to which it addresses the problems faced and wants to be fulfilled by your target demographic.
Using topic clusters is a helpful technique for organizing the material you intend to create. Within a topic cluster, you’ll find a single, comprehensive article that discusses the topic at a high level (this article is the “pillar page”).
Search engines and human readers benefit from this type of content organization, as it makes it easier to grasp the connections between different pieces of information.
Step 3: Include Your Content in the Buying Phases
Aligning your content with your readers’ likely purchase journey is crucial.
Different kinds of content are most useful at various points in the customer journey.
Content that emphasizes customers’ pain points and desires are essential for those in the awareness stage. Content like LinkedIn articles, blogs with keywords at the top of the sales funnel, free ebooks, etc.
Please ensure the content you produce for prospects still thinking about your offer educates them further and demonstrates the best way to solve their problems or accomplish their goals. In-depth content such as webinars, white papers, and lengthy blog posts are beneficial in the buyer’s journey.
Those close to making a purchase need convincing that your product or service is the best option. Content like case studies, product demos, and other similar pieces that prove your product’s worth is valid here.
Step 4: Set Clear Deadlines
Deadlines for each step in the content creation process must be included in the calendar. You won’t have to rush to get anything published if you set a deadline and stick to it. Deadlines are a great way to maintain order and consistency when posting hundreds or thousands of pieces of content per year.
Don’t overestimate your ability to finish tasks in a given time frame.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you have for each job, or the overall quality of your work will suffer. Whenever possible, opt for high-quality content over quantity. Creating high-quality content is the key to boosting your company’s reputation, bringing in new customers, and increasing revenue.
Step 5: Assign People to Tasks
Following the establishment of due dates for each component of content production, tasks related to that production can be delegated to the appropriate individuals. The goals and outcomes of each assignment should be made crystal clear in advance.
This aids in making sure that everyone is on the same page and has clear expectations. The output improves when everyone is on the same page with their responsibilities. Get everyone ready for their task by ensuring they feel comfortable asking questions before and during it.
Step 6: Post Content in the Best Platforms for You
Putting out content on its own is not enough. You should also deliver it to your target demographic. Rather than hoping that people will stumble across your range, you should take the time to promote it through appropriate channels.
If you’ve just released a new video, for instance, you can get the word out by emailing your subscriber list, posting links to it across your social media profiles and website, running ads, and so on. Besides the content you’ll be making, your content calendar should also detail the various ways you share it with the world. If you put time and effort into writing, but no one reads it, it serves you no purpose. It’s crucial to have a well-thought-out strategy for how you’ll reach your intended audience with your content.
Step 7: Watch Your Progress
As a final step, you’ll want to keep an eye on your content’s performance from multiple angles. On a more granular scale, check to see that all the creation and promotion tasks are on schedule and that you can meet your goals.
Globally, you should check to see if your content still serves your business objectives. Immersed in producing multiple pieces of content can cause one to lose sight of the big picture. You can keep on track by embedding a progress tracker into your content calendar.
Keep your eyes off the shiny objects. If increasing your lead generation is your primary objective, for instance, it would be pointless to drive traffic to a page that wouldn’t convert visitors into leads regardless of how many people visited it.
Keep your key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind and use them to direct your digital marketing campaigns.
Can I Use a Spreadsheet as My Content Calendar?
When a comprehensive content marketing platform is out of financial reach, content calendars built-in Excel is a common alternative.
Creating a content calendar and coordinating with your marketing team on all the associated tasks is a breeze with the help of cloud-based tools like Google Sheets, Excel Online, or Zoho Sheets. Using sheets requires meticulousness and more attention to detail since you don’t store assets directly, but it shouldn’t be much of an issue unless you’re posting vast amounts of content.
Another perk of using spreadsheets is the abundance of free content calendar templates available. Find the best fit your needs and build upon that rather than creating something entirely new.