A content marketing calendar helps marketers develop a content marketing plan to run campaigns. Benjamin Franklin said, “For every minute of organizing, an hour is earned”. And Abraham Lincoln said, “If you give me six hours to cut a tree, I’ll spend the first 4 hours sharpening the axe”. And, almost all great minds like them emphasize proper planning. Organizing your tasks before execution is vital. But why is that?
As a professional, staying organized is one of the essential life skills. Keeping your tasks and work schedule organized helps you finish the work quickly. As a content marketer, staying organized on your day-to-day tasks is necessary. You will have to deal with vast information that does not pertain only to you. Your tasks might include your team, manager, editors, and stakeholders.
So, how do professional content marketers keep track of their KPIs, efforts, to-do lists, and when and what to do? The answer is simple: they maintain a content marketing calendar.
What is a Content Marketing Calendar?
To stay organized, we use a calendar. A calendar contains the day and the events for the week, month, and year. This helps us prioritize and organize tasks and makes them easier to manage.
But what is a content marketing calendar? Just like a regular calendar, it contains information relating to:
- The type of content to create.
- When to create and publish.
- How to categorize the content.
- Distribution of work among peers and colleagues.
- Keep track of the content’s performance over time by setting SMART KPIs.
Why do you need a Content Marketing Calendar?
If you’re a content marketing professional, you will handle tasks from an individual scale to an organizational level.
You will deal with ideas, handle resource personnel, publish content, and keep track of KPIs. Imagine all of that running out in your head with no proper planning. Phew, that sounds tiring, right?
Creating a content marketing calendar helps you spill out your content marketing ideas on paper. It allows you to organize them, makes it easier to formulate a workflow, and increases productivity.
The content marketing calendar contains a detailed checklist of tasks to do in an organized and iterative manner. Not just while creating or publishing, but even after that. Also, you can keep track of a content’s performance record or even a team member’s.
Benefits of a Content Marketing Calendar
1. Stay Updated and Organized
Content Marketing Calendar helps you stay organized, so you don’t miss important details and deadlines.
Without a content calendar, it is easy to miss small details, tasks, and other activities. It helps prioritize and delegate tasks based on your requirements.
A content calendar lets the team members know all the happenings between deliveries. This allows them to aid you even better.
2. Keep Track of Your Team
Content marketing as a team requires a lot of effort to stay organized. A Content Marketing Calendar helps you with the process of allocating work within the team or out of the team. And aids in tracking their work progress.
When working as a team, your team members can even help organize your work calendar by updating their work status. This will be easier for managers to review, provide suggestions, and help you prioritize your work and produce results with better efficiency.
Keep maintaining and updating the calendar regularly. Thereby assisting stakeholders in tracking the productivity status and delivery accordingly.
3. Helps Keep Track of Past and Future
Logging and planning your content marketing strategy using a calendar helps you prepare and prioritize your impending tasks. Besides serving as a way to plan future events, it also helps keep track of completed work.
Track your metrics and the performance of your published content which will help you upgrade or improve your marketing strategies effectively.
4. Helps You Get the Work Done Easily
Imagine a Monday morning when you just logged back to work after a weekend. You begin your work wanting to do something useful but have no idea what to work on.
A neat, organized calendar that lists your work to-dos based on your targets will be a warming sight to look at. This helps you work on tasks efficiently, delegate less critical work, and, most importantly, enables you to elevate your mood.
How to Set up Your Content Marketing Calendar
Creating a content calendar helps you plan, prioritize, and organize your activities effectively. However, making them requires a bit of effort and vision. Planning your calendar will speed up your workflow and complete the tasks without many roadblocks.
Here are some steps to help you set up your content calendar:
1. Having a Clear and Definite Goal
A defined goal is a first and foremost prerequisite for creating a content calendar. You cannot shoot if you cannot see the target. Likewise, acknowledging your goal helps you formulate steps to complete tasks accordingly.
Create the calendar based on your content type, client expectations, and marketing strategy. Make sure the content calendar encompasses the details you need.
Perfectly planning and achieving your end goal helps break your content development process into smaller easy-to-do steps and helps your work get done faster.
2. Make a Yearly, Monthly, and Weekly Schedule
Usually, while creating a content calendar, companies and businesses use the calendar year or fiscal year as a reference to start their planning. You can set any time of the year as your limit and plan accordingly.
Break the huge chunk of the idea from a bigger vision into smaller workable steps. Set monthly, weekly and daily targets to help achieve your final target.
3. Have a 360 View on Your Calendar
Always have a 360° view of your whole process while creating a calendar. Don’t just focus on one type of content. Have consolidated data of your strategy, types of content to make, different content marketing channels to deliver them, and stakeholder wants and deliveries.
Try to cover all the planning and scheduling, from ideas to developing and publishing. Also, have a calendar for the team, for individuals till the completion of the task, and even after publishing.
4. Perfectly Plan the Dates and Tasks
With quite many tasks, it is easy to get lost in them. Check your calendar daily to prevent unexpected events and see if things are going as planned. Constantly updating your content marketing calendar helps you prevent last moment turmoil.
Also, setting up a buffering time will always help you because you never know when work might appear.
5. Choose the Right Templates and Tools
Several templates and tools are available for creating and maintaining your content calendar. The challenge here is choosing the right template that suits your purpose and helps deliver the thought.
Some templates might have default tags; in others, you can customize the metrics you need to track.
Do You Need a Content Marketing Calendar?
Content marketing calendars are the triggers of a content marketing strategy. It has to be strategic, effective, and useful. With one, you can be sure to hit your goals and meet the needs of your audience.
Like any other project management tool, a content marketing calendar initially requires much up-front effort. When you are building from scratch, there’s a lot of planning involved, but it is worth the time and energy you invest. Content calendars make managing content more enjoyable and create better-performing content more likely to resonate with audiences. and help your brand accomplish its goals.
You need a content marketing calendar for the following reasons:
A content marketing calendar is a digital asset to your business. It can be shared across multiple levels and teams in your organization. When you have declared a plan, and it is documented, you need to stick to it. This makes you accountable for the words that you put forth. You have a plan before you, and now you can go and make it happen.
Imagine the confidence you can have when planning for a month. You don’t need to keep wondering what to do next and lose time thinking about it. Your content marketing calendar gives you a bird’s eye view of which post will go live, which post needs updates and more control over what’s next.
3. Learn from Others
A content marketing calendar captures all the work completed across the organization. When you look at the calendar, you get details about who writes, edits, publishes and tracks the KPIs. You can also see what content is posted by other teams and learn how they handle other products that your business offers.
4. Improve Results
You might think about how a calendar would improve your results. It definitely does. You save time searching for posts, and the content writer knows what to write and the deadlines. The quality of the content improves, and when that happens, it engages your audience. More engagement means an increase in your ROI.
Social Media Content Calendar
A social media content calendar is a spreadsheet or app to schedule your social media posts. You can plan a social media marketing campaign where you can plan, schedule, publish, and track your social media posts. There are many tools to create a social media calendar and integrate all the social media accounts.
Create a social media calendar based on your business goals and needs. There are many templates available. You can get an idea from these templates and create your own, or use the template and recreate one by replacing it with your ideas. A social media calendar must include the following details:
- Type of post – Blog, infographic, podcasts, or videos.
- Social media platforms – LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.
- The topic of the post.
- The URL.
- The goal of the post.
A content marketing calendar, or a social media calendar, is mandatory for anyone who creates content. Content writers, marketers, and business consultants can benefit from a content calendar. Content writers can clearly understand what type of content they are expected to create. Marketers can set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and track them to check whether the content meets the business goals and whether the content educates the audience and generates leads.
Business consultants can estimate the cost of running campaigns and decide whether to go with the calendar or make changes if running on a tight budget.
Content Marketing Calendar Tools
Today there are a lot of online tools and software products to create and maintain a content calendar. They help you plan, manage and effectively strategize your efforts. We have listed some of the best content calendar tools in the following section:
1. Excel Spreadsheets
Excel Spreadsheets are widely used to create and share tasks among teams. Microsoft has upgraded Excel with even more user-friendliness and more customized templates.
2. Google Sheets
Google sheet is a simple program that can help you keep track of your work and maintain your calendar. However, customizing the template to your particular needs takes more time.
Google sheets are easy to share, and you can control who can access the document. And this helps in maintaining confidentiality.
3. Editorial Calendar for WordPress Plug-in
CoSchedule offers an all-in-one calendar where you can create, customize, sort, and share your calendar. It also provides various templates, making your planning process relatively easier.
5. Google Calendar
As the name suggests, it works like a typical calendar. However, you can customize Google Calendar to function as a content marketing calendar. Primarily it is used to set reminders of any pending tasks and for scheduling meets.
Trello is easy to use and has greater effectiveness. Each task is called a card, and you can move them to other boards once they are completed. You can also share it with your team and monitor the live status of the tasks.
Slack is an application that helps in communication between teams and clients. These are some commonly used tools to create and maintain a content calendar.
However, there is no specific tool that ordains you to use them. Sometimes, creating a content calendar on simple plain paper will work wonders. It all depends on your requirements and your planning.
GatherContent is a versatile tool that allows the content marketer to spend more time focusing on content creation and less time managing other stuff. The tools help writers, editors, subject matter experts, and content managers to collaborate and contribute their individual efforts in the journey of creating content to publish and track which type of content helps the business grow.
Kapost is a single tool to align your content strategies alongside the customer journey. You can plan initiatives, collaborate with team members, build a content journey, and connect your message to the right audience. Manage and track every campaign piece from content creation, publication, and distribution to multiple platforms.
What is a content marketing calendar?
A content marketing calendar is a documented schedule of all the content marketing activities across the business with due dates. It encompasses planning, scheduling, documenting, and organizing content. Much emphasis is placed on the content marketing calendar because it allows the content marketer to publish consistent and relevant content.
What should be included in a content marketing calendar?
A content marketing calendar must include a documented schedule of when and where you plan to publish your content, who will create the content, and other details, like who edits the content. A content marketing calendar should typically include upcoming posts, status updates, and planned promotional activities. It is also known as an editorial calendar.
What is a social media calendar?
A social media calendar is an organized plan for your social media posts that gives a view of your upcoming posts. A social media calendar is created in a spreadsheet, Google sheets, Google calendar, or using a tool with an interactive dashboard. The calendar contains the date and time the post will go live, the social media account where it will be published, and the digital assets, such as photos and videos, accompanying the post.
How do you create a social media calendar?
Create a social media calendar based on your current posts on the social media platform. You must analyze what posts engage, educate your audience, and generate leads. Look at the analytics to observe how frequently you have posted and the types of posts that led to conversions.
How long does it take to prepare a content marketing calendar?
Preparing a content marketing calendar is about 2 to 3 hours of work. You need to categorize the type of content based on the date it will be published. This should be much easier if you use a template where you can just fill in the precise details.
Managing and organizing tasks can be an overwhelming process. But they can be mitigated with the use of content marketing calendars. Plan your goals before creating the calendar. It would help if you also decided on the tools you’ll use to create the calendar beforehand.
Sharing the calendar with your teammates and stakeholders will also be great. Updating your calendar will give you better insights into your marketing strategy’s scope and vision.
Creating a calendar is not a challenging task. All you need is some prep time, planning, and implementation. Create your calendar today and witness your marketing strategy become more effective than before. For more exciting information on content marketing, visit our blogs. Start your content marketing journey today!