A Complete Guide to Selecting the Right Content Calendar for You

A Complete Guide to Selecting the Right Content Calendar for You

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:

Content calendars come in many different formats
Content Calendar 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:

Creating your social media calendar in Google Sheets
Content Calendar with 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:

Using Trello to Manage Your Content Schedule
Content Calendar on Trello

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:

Using Google Calendar to Manage Your Content Marketing Efforts
Content Calendar by Google Calendar

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:

Capture Your Content Marketing Ideas in Excel or Google Sheets
Excel Template

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
  • Customizability
  • Content formats
  • Marketing strategy

At the very least, your content calendar should include the following columns:

  • Topic
  • Format
  • Author/Creator/Designer
  • References
  • Media (images, videos, animations, etc.)
  • Campaign
  • Category
  • Distribution channels
  • Deadline
  • Status
  • Remarks

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.

Conclusion

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.

Next Steps

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.

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Andy Steuer

Andy Steuer is the Chief Marketing Officer at WriteForMe. Andy has been CEO, CMO, VP of Product for 8 fast-growing companies in his career. 3 of those companies became Top 10 Internet companies. Content Marketing has always been at the core to differentiate these companies from their competition. You can always schedule a 1 on 1 meeting with Andy by grabbing some time on his calendar here. List articles below that have Andy on the byline on the rest of the page. Here’s my calendar link:https://meetings.hubspot.com/andysteuer » More blog posts by Andy Steuer

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