We know that planning out every detail of your content strategy can seem daunting, but it’s one of the most effective ways to get your company on track for consistent growth.
Let’s take a look at exactly what a content calendar is, along with how and why you should invest in making one. And if you're ready to create a content strategy for your business, you can give us a call at 888-601-5359!
What is a content calendar/editorial calendar?
A content calendar is a method of streamlining, organizing, and sometimes automating how and when you publish new content. You essentially plan your content out for a certain period of time (usually a month), and maintain a calendar devoted to keeping track of the exact day and time each piece of content will be posted.
You can use a content calendar for all types of content, whether it’s a blog post calendar, a social media post calendar, or a master calendar that handles all types of content.
Why you should use a content calendar
You need to have an accurate view of your content strategy as a whole in order to provide your readers with varied, consistent, and high quality content. As websites grow, it quickly becomes increasingly difficult to manage the content creation process efficiently.
Content calendars make it a more manageable task. They force you to get and stay organized, and allow you a unique perspective on your content publishing process. Spending the time to set up a calendar at the beginning of each month is well worth it. You’ll quickly be able to see if you’re producing too much of a certain type of content, if you’re publishing often enough in the first place, and if you’re publishing on any sort of consistent schedule or not.
While these qualities may seem to be nit-picky in nature, they play an important role in the success of your website. Retaining a reader-base is all about consistent publishing, with just the right mix of varied topics and content styles. A content calendar is hands down the best way to ensure you’re achieving both.
Lastly, content calendars work especially well in a team setting. Even a rudimentary content calendar will take care of the miscommunication and overlap issues that plague many marketing teams.
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How to make a content calendar
There are several different types of content calendars. Part of the reason they’re so great is because of how flexible they are.
You can create a content calendar for a small blog with a few hundred readers, and you can also create a content calendar for a large corporation with thousands of visitors. The benefits of maintaining a content calendar apply to all websites and content strategies.
After deciding the scope of your content calendar, you need to think about how you’ll maintain it:
As a physical calendar
As shocking as it may sound, there is a place for pen and paper even in today’s digital world. One great type of content calendar involves using post-it notes to represent each piece of content, stuck to a large paper calendar.
This solves the issues of content delays, switching deadlines, and other alterations, because you can simply peel off the post-it notes and move them around or replace them at will.
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Physical, interactive calendars also tend to remain more prominently in one’s mind, ensuring that you never miss a deadline.
If you’re working within a team, a large physical calendar can make a great centerpiece for your office space. Your team is guaranteed to be on the same page if the calendar is hanging up on a shared wall, and the post-it note method is a fun implementation to boot.
As a digital calendar
Digital content calendars are frequently used due to their extreme shareability, easy group editing capabilities, and accessibility in general.
Technology like Google Calendar has made it simpler than ever to create and maintain a team-wide content calendar. Allow team members the capability to edit, and everyone will always be up to date on the latest content strategy.
However, while things like Google Calendar may be ready-made solutions, they’re not always the best options. Here at WebFX, we’re strong proponents of using customized spreadsheet templates as the framework for a robust content calendar.
While templates may require more time to set up, their potential functionality far outstrips that of a simple Google Calendar. There’s really no upper limit to the customization options of a well-formatted spreadsheet, and using one as the backbone of your content calendar ensures nothing will ever slip through the cracks.
Along with the calendar itself, you can keep a running tally of how many pieces you’ve published to date, you can set a monthly goal that will automatically be updated, you can structure everything exactly how your team likes it…the options are endless.
Using a Google spreadsheet as the medium for your template means you’ll be able to share it just as easily as a Google Calendar, too!
Ready to set up your content calendar?
Even if you aren’t completely sold on the idea, go ahead and implement a content calendar, just for a month. We’re sure that come day 30, you’ll be thoroughly convinced. A solid content calendar virtually guarantees increased productivity, increased efficiency, and a more polished online presence overall.
If you’re looking to get a jumpstart with your content calendar, check out the awesome Google Docs content calendar template we put together! We’ve done all of the legwork, from formatting to formulas, so you can skip the boring stuff and get straight to planning out your monthly content.
If you want someone to show you the ropes of content planning (and content creation!), or if you simply don’t have enough time to get your content calendar up and running, we’d love to help!
At WebFX, we have a stellar team of expert Internet marketers ready and waiting to streamline your content creation process. From copywriting to scheduling, we’ve executed many successful content strategies for all of our clients.
Contact us today for more information, or for a free quote!