“Content is king.” Even Forbes reminds us that as trite, tired, and overused as this phrase may be, it’s more true now than ever before. In an age where individuals and businesses frequently turn to their laptops and smartphones for solutions and business strategies, your organization must have fresh content ready to inform, educate, entertain — and of course, entice them to become customers.
The problem is that content has to tick a lot of boxes in order to be deemed high quality. It needs to be relevant to what’s currently going on in a given industry. Content must be thoughtful and well-written (or well-produced, in the case of visual content). Viewers need to find it useful or they’ll categorize your content as clickbait and keep scrolling the next time they see you pop up in their inbox or newsfeed. Finally, it has to be interesting to draw them in and close the deal.
Research shows that organizations that publish over 16 posts per month generate 3.5 times greater traffic than those that publish less. However, it’s not easy to generate 16 posts every month. It takes a lot of time and effort to come up with 16 concepts or topics, assign them to different writers, publish them one after the other, and more.
Your ability to create content that fulfills all of these requirements can ebb and flow like the weather. Some weeks, there’s a lot going on and you experience a flood of blog posts and email ideas. Other times, you enter a content drought and can’t think of a thing to say.
That’s where a content calendar comes in.
What Are Content Calendars and Why Do You Need One?
A content calendar is an organized source that lays out exactly what you’ll present to your audience — your current and future clients — and when you’ll present it.
A content calendar typically comprises the following information:
- Topics and a quick brief
- Content type
- Notes for writers
- Project status
- Content owners - writers, editors, proofreaders, publishers, and so on
- Key dates and deadlines
- List of platforms where the content will be posted
In addition to being high-quality, content needs to be constant. If you send something out to your followers or subscribers consistently for a couple of weeks and then disappear for a month, they'll lose interest. Your content calendar will keep you on track in terms of consistency. John Boitnott, digital consultant for Inc. magazine, reminds us that constancy is not only good for audience engagement; it will also help with the SEO of your blog and website.
If something exciting or unexpected arises, it can always be added to the list, but creating a content calendar in advance will ensure that you’re never without great fodder for that next LinkedIn article, blog, or social media post.
Other reasons why you need a content calendar:
- It can provide you with a better perspective of your overall marketing and content strategy.
- It can help you mend gaps in your content marketing plan.
- It is excellent for brainstorming.
- It can help you regularize your content creation and publication cycles.
- It can help you build engaging content for your target audiences. Randomly picked topics will not resonate with your target segments and reduce the overall engagement of your content marketing efforts.
- It can provide visibility to different departments and increase inter-team collaboration. Sales teams can see what marketing teams are doing, and plan accordingly.
How Do I Create One?
To create a content calendar, start at a high level. First, play a little game we call the “Is It for Us or for Them?” Challenge when considering content topics for your audience. If a topic sounds interesting to you, consider whether it’s something your customer and/or prospect base wants to know about. If it’s something you feel they need to know, think about how you can present it in a way that matters to them. Does it solve a problem for them? How can you get them excited about it?
In this frame of mind, create five topic “buckets” that are subjects your audience would like to know more about. If you’re uncertain what topics will be a hit, break out your trusty analytics tools to see which topics have performed best in the past in terms of web traffic, email open and click-through rates, and social media engagement. Then fill those buckets with sub-topics that would make great articles or posts.
Depending on how often you’ll post, fill in your calendar with the topics you've chosen. Make sure to include planned product launches, holidays, or other special events. You’ll find that as you create planned content, new ideas will naturally flow out of that process and you’ll be able to add those topics to the calendar as well.
Don’t forget to take advantage of any blog posts you create and connect them with your social media/email marketing. With your content calendar on the roll (and constantly being updated), you’ll never have a content drought again!
Consider Using a Content Calendar Tool
If you’re building a content calendar for the first time, you can explore the following content calendar tools to simplify and speed up the process.
- Google Sheets: The most widely used tool for creating a content calendar. You can track changes in real-time and share the sheet with multiple people at once. One of the best tools for collaboration.
- Google Calendar: If you’re planning to create a content calendar for an individual contributor in the content team, Google Calendar can be a good option.
- WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin: Easy to use; simply drag and drop boxes. However, you can only use it for posts added to a WordPress site.
- Trello: One of the most user-friendly project management platforms on the market. It can also be used for 360-degree content management.
- Notion: Another comprehensive project management tool that can help a great deal in creating a content calendar quickly and efficiently. It's a good choice for larger organizations.
If you need help developing a Content Calendar, please reach out. We create and maintain Content Calendars for clients and ourselves on a regular basis. We can help!