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How to Create a Content Calendar

101 LGBTQIA+ in Tech, Business & Storytelling

Content marketing is a powerful component of any online marketing strategy.

But simply creating content and posting it at random times probably won't deliver the strong ROI you’d expect. That’s because there’s a lot more to a successful content marketing strategy than just the content itself.

You need to take into consideration the days and times you post content, where you post it, and how often you post new content. And, of course, you’ve got to plan all this according to the data you’ve collected about your target audience. Ideally, you want to post content on a frequency and platform in which your audience will be most likely to see it, read it, and be receptive to it.

To facilitate this process, many marketers develop a content calendar.

What is a content calendar?

It’s a schedule of upcoming content publishing dates, enabling you to better plan and organize your content marketing strategy. A detailed content calendar will also include notes on promoting your content, any related updates to existing content, and any collaborations with other teams or departments.

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Why is a content calendar important?

A fundamental element of any content marketing strategy is organization. If you're not properly organized, you might publish content haphazardly, or not at all. A content calendar serves multiple purposes. 

For starters, it enables you to easily keep track of all current and future content. It ensures you publish content on a regular schedule, while also helping you recall which pieces need updating or expansion. And, if you have two or more individuals that are contributing to a piece of content, it keeps everyone on the same schedule, facilitating collaboration and communication.

Another benefit of a content calendar is that it makes it easier to diversify your content marketing strategy, keeping it fresh and interesting. For example, without a content calendar, you might not realize that you’ve just published three case studies in a row or that you forgot to publish a follow-up to a related blog post.

How to create a content calendar

Creating a content calendar entails a few simple steps. But first, you need to define your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your content marketing strategy? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Build brand recognition? Increase your audience? Maybe all that and more.

Ultimately, your goals, (and the wants and needs of your audience) will determine what type of content you actually create, as well as where you publish it.

Next, create a template for your content calendar. To be thorough, the template should include the following:

  • The topic of the content
  • The type of content
  • The platform or website it will be published on
  • The date and time of publication
  • Who is in charge of creating the content
  • Who is in charge of publishing the content
  • Any promotional activity for the content

You can also add other sections that mention keywords, supporting images, target demographic, voice and tone, etc.

You can create this template yourself in a spreadsheet program or Google Sheets, for example. But there are also several content calendar tools you can try. Some tools provide additional features, such as discovering current Google trends or helping with keyword research.

Planning your content in advance

An unwritten rule of thumb for a content calendar is to plan your content for the following four to six months. Doing so gives your content creation team ample time to work on content and promotions, and also ensures you are prepared for upcoming seasonal content. 

Planning this far ahead also allows room for flexibility. You may need to shuffle things around to capitalize on current trends, releasing a new product, or introducing a new service. 

It also allows you to mark down important upcoming events, such as trade shows, which you can build focused content for. After all, the last thing you want is to be scrambling to develop content at the last minute. Doing so rarely achieves optimal results, and promotional activities often fall short with a short lead time.

With a list of planned future content well in hand, you can easily see which pieces can link back to older related or evergreen content for additional cross-promotion and content visibility.

Sharing your content calendar

The content calendar should be viewable by every team member involved in your content marketing strategy. This ensures that everyone can see updates to the calendar, as well as the current status of each piece of content that is currently being created. You can also share content calendars with freelancers, marketing firms, or content creation services that you partner with, keeping everyone on the same page and on schedule.

Promoting your content

You should also include a promotional section on your content calendar, as it’s another area you could easily fall behind without an organized and detailed schedule before you. And, since many types of content promotion are also additional pieces of content, it just makes sense.

For example, will you be recording a related podcast interview, or perhaps creating an email newsletter highlighting recent, related blog posts? Both the creation and the timing of your promotional activities is critical to the success of your content marketing strategy, so you’ll definitely want to place as much focus on promoting your content as you do creating it.

In conclusion

Creating a content calendar can be a little time-consuming when you first begin, but once you have it all fleshed out and are contributing information to it regularly, you’ll wonder how you ever managed a content marketing strategy without one.

Need help getting your content strategy off the ground? BAM can help.

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