content-calendarThis content marketing thing is hot. In fact, 91% of in-house marketers are using it and 90% of digital marketing professionals expect it to gain in importance. I’d tell you about the other 10% of companies not using content marketing and how they’re doing, but I have no idea who they are and you probably haven’t heard of them either.

Unless that’s you.

If it is, it’s time to get on that. Start by familiarizing yourself with content calendars.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is a very specific document showing exactly what will be posted and what was posted on specific dates, specific channels, specific times. It’s a tool to help you plan your content and keep track of it all in one place.

Your content calendar can take different forms. Maybe you like a list format; we like spreadsheets. It could go a week out, two weeks, a month. You can create content calendars for your social media content, your newsletter or email content, blog content (and it’s super helpful to do so!)

The importance of a content calendar

A content calendar will help you keep your strategy on track. You can clearly see where you are going and where you have been. At a glance you can ensure that all your content is working to reinforce the same message. You have multiple channels, and all should be different, but all should project your brand voice. A content calendar helps you do that.

If you have multiple people working on social media, share one content calendar. It will help keep you all up to date on what is already scheduled and what needs to be done. It’s a road map for you to share with new admins on accounts.

This calendar is going to keep you organized and focused. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it!

How to create a content calendar

There are basically two ways to create a content calendar: do it yourself, outsource it.

Creating your calendar may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on how many people are working on it, how many channels it covers and how far out you’re planning. The more comfortable you get with creating your content calendar, the less time it will take (so we recommend you start right away!). And even if it takes half a day at the end of each month to get ready for the next month (which is typical for us when doing content calendars for clients), that’s time well spent. You’ll save time during the month and know you’re keeping channels communicating consistently on message without stressing about it daily.

Depending on which type of content calendar you are creating, you’ll want to be sure to include some specific pieces of information. Here’s what we suggest, but each calendar is specific to your unique needs:

Social media content calendar

  • Channel the content will be posted to
  • Date the content will be posted
  • Time the content will be posted
  • Notes on specific dates or holidays you may want to call out
  • A variety of types of posts: videos, links, photos, original posts, blog posts
  • Keywords

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Blog content calendar

  • Blog title
  • Blog post date
  • Author
  • Keywords for each blog post
  • Synopsis of the post

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E-News or Emails

  • Subject line
  • Send date
  • Topic
  • Stories to include

Strategic. Consistent. Effective.

Keeping up with you content calendars will not only make it easier for you to track what you’ve done and keep you on track with your content strategy, they also make it easier for you to share the work of creating content (which can be a pretty time-consuming piece of the puzzle).

Creating your own content strategy is a must and having the tools (ie: content calendars) to support your strategy is also well worth it. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Put the time in and you’ll see benefits shining through.

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