From time to time, marketing and communications professionals may find it challenging to constantly provide engaging and relevant content to customers — both potential and current.
No matter how great your roster of writers is, and how tech-savvy your social media managers are, poor planning can derail the success of your marketing campaign.
This is where a great content calendar comes in.
What is a content calendar?
Also known as the editorial calendar, a content calendar is a written schedule of your upcoming content. Depending on marketing needs, this schedule can be on a weekly, monthly, or six-monthly basis.
And depending on your industry, the content to be organized can range from articles, case studies, status updates, or virtual events, to videos and webinars.
Why do you need a content calendar?
- It’s a time-saver. When you plan ahead, it saves you time in the long run. The time you save can then be used for more creative and productive tasks.
- It reduces mistakes. Costly mistakes such as duplicate content can be mitigated, if not eliminated, by organization and planning. When editing and fact-checking tasks are properly assigned, you lessen the chance of incurring errors.
- It fosters collaboration. When everyone is up-to-date as to the status of tasks, it becomes easier for team members to work together and communicate with each other.
- It makes your publishing process consistent. It has been shown that publishing content consistently and frequently is a good online content strategy.
How do you create the best content calendar?
Incorporating a content calendar into your marketing campaign can reduce the time you spend thinking about what types of content to produce, and give you more time to create them. Below are a few tips for creating the best content calendar for your campaign.
1. Have a clear purpose
When you just publish content without a clear purpose, you risk wasting valuable resources. So, the first thing you want to do when creating a content calendar is to determine your goals for content creation.
Is it to increase engagement on Facebook? Do you want new leads? Defining your goals can help you determine for whom your content is going to be and how frequently you need to produce the content.
2. Outline your content calendar
There are tools and templates out there to help you create a content calendar. But, before purchasing a tool or software, it is best to first identify the components that are crucial to your process. Below are important elements of a content calendar. Depending on your goals and process, pick the ones that are applicable to you.
- Title/topic. This provides everyone who has access to the calendar with vital information as to what you are working on.
- Content-type. How do you reach your audience on this particular topic? Whether it’s an email, podcast, or an article — make sure that the topic is tailored to the medium you are using.
- Section/industry. If your content is going to be distributed across various sections, such as music, lifestyle, business, cryptocurrency, and so on, it is best to include this component in your content calendar.
- Edit date. If your content usually needs to go through a process of editing, make sure to include this element.
- Publish date. Whether you are an individual content creator or a large team, this component ensures accountability and organization.
- Writer. This component helps the writers keep track of their tasks and the managers or supervisors know who to ask for updates for every content due.
3. Determine which channels to use
There are a lot of platforms to publish your content now, which makes it crucial to determine which ones would be the best fit for your content. It is good to post content on various platforms in different formats, but make sure that your resources permit it.
When considering your budget and resources, prioritize publishing high-quality content on important platforms.
4. Plot your content
Take note of important events that you’d like to create content for — holidays, trade events, opening days, etc. This will serve as a guide for your content creation, especially the ones that are seasonal.
Once you’ve plotted the important dates, it’s time to fill them in with content ideas. Your content can include expert pieces or guest posts, press releases, and seasonal or holiday content, just to mention a few.
5. Take advantage of timeless pieces, as well as old content
Make sure to mix it up and incorporate evergreen content into your schedule. This type of content is constantly searched online, so this can get you clicks. Prior content can also be re-used.
For example, an old blog article can be turned into an infographic or a short video. This is a good way to reach different target groups with valuable content.
6. Set the timeframe
Be realistic in setting the frequency and time limits. Your content calendar can help with pinpointing which parts of the year your business is busiest, and ultimately, help team members start and finish their tasks before the time of publication.
7. Monitor, review, and update as needed
Your content calendar, while time-constrained, should not be set in stone. Make room for flexibility. In order to stay on track and respond well to any changes, review your content calendar with your whole team regularly.
Monitor the effectiveness of your content — which posts garnered the most engagement? Were the press releases visible in the media? Allot time for evaluating the results, and consider them in future content strategies.
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