How To Create A Content Marketing Calendar
30th November 2021
What is a Content Marketing Calendar?
A content marketing calendar, or editorial calendar, is an overview of your upcoming content such as blog posts, articles, press releases, social media posts and more. The details will include a deadline, title, and outline of topics to cover. You can also include the channel, tags, images, and links where relevant. A content calendar may be created in a spreadsheet or in another program your team members can use collaboratively to track the progress of each task.
Why Use a Content Marketing Calendar?
One of the main benefits of using a content marketing calendar is having an organised plan available for collaboration with your team. This ensures that all contributors are following the same guidelines.
A content calendar saves time by providing inspiration for topics in advance, giving extra time to research, review, and edit where necessary. This will also help team members plan their workload and meet deadlines.
A marketing calendar gives users the freedom to add content as they think of it and strategically plan for important events or business updates.
How to Create a Content Marketing Calendar
There are five steps to creating a content calendar:
- Review your current approach
- Decide which data is important
- Establish a schedule
- Plan content creation processes
1. Review Your Current Approach
Create a list of your current content channels and any that you plan to use going forward. This should include your blog, email campaigns, social media, brochures, newsletters, video content, and podcasts where applicable. Consider whether these channels are still serving you or if you want to stop using one of them (for example due to lack of engagement or audience presence on that platform), or if you’d like to add a new channel to the mix.
2. Decide Which Data is Important
If you have never created a marketing plan before, it can seem to be a daunting task. However, plotting the important data is the best way to simplify the process and provide a template that can be used year on year. We would recommend choosing the pieces of information relevant to you from our list:
- Publication date
- Time (consider time zone)
- Platform format, i.e. Instagram story, reel, or post
- Target audience
- Suggested title
- Suggested topic, brief, or outline
- Associated campaign
- Paid or organic
- Additional notes
Once you’ve decided which information is important, you can create the bare bones of your content calendar in your spreadsheet, by adding each piece of information as a column heading.
3. Establish a Schedule
With your information gathered, there are a few things you should consider to help you schedule your content. These are steps that can develop and change over time, using analytics to improve where possible.
- How often do you want to post to each channel?
- When is the best time to post?
- What will your content ratio be?
- Who needs to approve posts?
- What is the process for new content?
With that in mind, you can start filling in your content calendar with ideas and publication dates.
4. Plan Content Creation Processes
Decide on the process steps from creation to publishing and use these to keep track of the status of each piece of content. You could use the list of statuses below as a guide:
- Assign to writer
- Content in progress
- Under review
- Ready for upload
- Content is live
As each piece of content progresses, you can update its status, for example by having a column for each of the above and adding a tick in the cell once each milestone is reached. Consider using colour coding or conditional formatting so you can see at a glance where you are with each task.
As a new process, adjustments may need to be made while your team gets to grips with the different steps within your calendar. You may find that columns can be removed or additional information is required, so make changes where necessary to streamline the process. For example, it may be that over time, different stakeholders become involved in the process and you need to adjust the steps taken to accommodate sign-off stages from those people.
Following this guide should help you create a marketing calendar that will save you time and keep your team inspired. Everyone involved should be able to tell what needs to be done at all times, leading to a steady flow of content. In turn, this should provide your audience with content they can really engage with, leading to more interactions, visibility, sales and revenue.