So, you’ve built a rock-solid content calendar as part of your marketing strategy and are all set to start publishing top-notch content. However, if you want to achieve your end goals, you need a well-defined content plan. You must outline a lucid content creation and distribution schedule. Otherwise, all your content production efforts will likely be futile.
That’s why it’s crucial to build a content calendar to implement your content strategy. It helps ensure that all your content assets are focused on your goals. Moreover, it facilitates seamless collaboration and communication between your team members. The right content calendar helps you build a backlog of high-quality content and ensures that you publish at the optimal frequency.
Here’s the content calendar used by CoSchedule:
Image via CoSchedule
However, if you’re a beginner, creating a detailed content calendar might seem like a challenging task. While you’ll find a plethora of calendar templates and tools, you won’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve outlined a simple step-by-step guide to help you choose the right calendar.
1. Select Your Content Calendar Platform
It’s worth mentioning that there isn’t a unanimously correct way of creating a content calendar. You must choose one that suits the needs of your content team. Therefore, the first step is to select the right platform that’ll help your team members coordinate with each other.
Typically, you can choose among the following platforms:
Here’s a calendar that uses Google Sheets:
Image via Web Ascender
You can also choose a simple pen-and-paper calendar (such as the one used by CoSchedule). The key is to select the right platform and format based on your team size, preferences, and end goals.
2. Build Your Content Calendar Toolbox
In addition to the aforementioned software, you can use a wide array of tools to organize, monitor, and schedule various content assets. For instance, you can use project management tools such as Trello and Slack to monitor the progress of different blog posts and social media posts. Likewise, you can use Buffer and Hootsuite to automatically schedule your posts on different social media platforms. While it isn’t mandatory to use these tools, they can come in handy for automating routine tasks.
Here’s an example of how Buffer uses Trello to manage their content:
Image via Buffer
3. Outline Your Overarching Content Plan
Create a long-term content plan based on the marketing objectives and buyer personas you’d outlined while building your content strategy. It’s recommended that you start by outlining an annual calendar that defines the overall themes and subjects you’ll be working with. This is also a good time to review the previous year’s content plan and check for any gaps.
Additionally, you should identify important events such as festivals and public holidays. You should also look for opportunities to repeat the same type of content on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. Once you’ve developed a tentative schedule, you can enter it into Google Calendar. Here’s an example:
Image via Google
4. Brainstorm Content Ideas
The next step is to build a list of all the content ideas that come to your mind. Make sure you consult your team members to identify topics and formats that’ll resonate with your target audience. It’s also recommended that you select the distribution channels for promoting different content assets. Once you have a clear idea of the topics, formats, and channels, enter the details into an Excel sheet or a Google sheet.
5. Choose Your Template
This is the most crucial step in building a content calendar. The good news is that you’ll find a plethora of visually appealing content calendar templates on the internet. Here’s a straightforward and customizable template by IMPACT:
Image via IMPACT
While there aren’t any rules for selecting the right content calendar template, you should consider the following factors while choosing one:
- Team size
- Preferred platform
- Content formats
- Marketing strategy
At the very least, your content calendar should include the following columns:
- Media (images, videos, animations, etc.)
- Distribution channels
Additionally, you should rate each topic based on whether it’s ready for production. If the topic needs to be developed further, you should mention that in the “Remarks” column.
6. Create a Monthly Content Calendar
Now that you’re ready with your template and list of topics, it’s time to build a month-wise content calendar. Take a look at your yearly content plan and see how different topics fit into it. Thereafter, assign these topics to different days of the month.
Developing a content calendar is an integral part of content production. It’s crucial to select the right platform and template based on the requirements of your team and content strategy. Additionally, you should ensure that your calendar is flexible enough to accommodate last-minute changes.
Schedule a time with one of our expert content marketing strategists and let’s get your content marketing plan into the next gear. We will even create a FREE Content Marketing Playbook to kickstart a partnership with you.