Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. Creating a content calendar for your brand can be a valuable tool for managing your blog and website.
A content calendar is a great way to plan your blog content for the coming months, and it’s also an excellent way to ensure you’re covering essential topics and staying active across all social media platforms. But creating a content calendar for your brand doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. While it seems like a little extra time and effort, making a content calendar can significantly impact your online success. While some content can wait for later, there are many ideas you must take care of immediately. Content calendars help you stay on track and accomplish more at once. Here’s what you need to know;
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar is a document that describes how content will be created and released, how it will be managed, and when it will be published. A content calendar is especially useful for authors who need to collaborate with others on their work. For example, the author can use a content calendar to track the book’s progress from draft to final production.
For example, if your site has an eCommerce site, your content calendar might have a list of topics relating to sales or products. This content calendar is a great way to track what’s coming up and when it is going live.
A content calendar can be thought of as a “to-do” list for your blog or site, but it’s more than that. It’s also an organizational tool for managing the development of your content.
How does a content calendar work?
A content calendar allows you to prioritize your content based on your audience, goals, and time. The term “content” is used broadly in this context- it could be written blog posts or videos, but it can also be social media posts and email newsletters. A content calendar is a list or schedule with the topics that you want to cover during certain months or times.
Content calendars are especially helpful when you have a lot of content to publish or need to focus on a specific topic or audience.
For example, if you’re planning a campaign around customer service, you might use a content calendar to create an editorial calendar that highlights tips and resources related to customer service.
Content calendars are perfect for staying focused on what is essential. It helps you organize your work so that it doesn’t get missed or forgotten by other team members.
A content calendar can help you;
- Create a content calendar that’s based on the goals of your organization.
- Make sure you’re publishing regularly and consistently, even when you’re busy working on the other aspects of your business.
- Manage multiple writers and contributors so they can stay on time and keep track of each other’s work.
Why do you need a content calendar?
The purpose of a content calendar is to help you get organized so that you can create and publish content consistently on your blog or website. The format of this tool allows for easy navigation through different phases of the business. There are other reasons why you need a content calendar for your business, such as;
- It is an excellent organizational tool for your monthly or weekly post plans.
- Content calendars help brands set goals for the number of posts they want to produce each month/week.
- These content calendars also help you plan re-visit dates and times between posts that are part of the same topic (e.g., weekly updates on a product launch)
- It provides a tracking system for your social media traffic and engagement.
- It also manages the types of topics your brand can write about.
- Planning your content is a time saver and time provider; you save time thinking about what content to create and gain time to plan accordingly before your next posting date.
- A content calendar creates room for better strategy synchrony between the creative team and the marketing team.
- It reduces the burden on workers to create engaging and relevant content on a whim because everything is planned ahead of time.
- Content calendars provide room for better seasonal campaigns because you have analyzed performance and used the results to determine what works with your audience.
On your website, you will see photos, videos, images, and articles created for your team as they roll.
How to create a content calendar
- The first step in creating a content calendar is determining your marketing budget. Selecting a budget allows you to create a measured content marketing strategy, especially one that aligns with your budget. That way, your brand does not create a $1000 marketing campaign when all you readily have available is $300.
- The next step is determining the content marketing strategy best suited for your company goals.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Who are your target audiences?
- What’s the best way to get them engaged with your brand?
Once you have a better idea of what you want to achieve, it is time to make a list of potential topics. For example, arriving at possible topics can be done by brainstorming or using a marketing research tool like Qualtrics or Google Analytics.
- The next step is to categorize these topics into different types of content pieces, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics. Organizing topics will help you see which types of content work well together and which aren’t as effective. Also, include outliers on your list, such as Facebook live videos or Instagram stories that don’t fit easily into other categories.
Once you know which content pieces will work best for your marketing strategy, it is time to choose specific topics that align with those goals.
Let’s see this in practice
Suppose your goal is getting more traffic from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. In that case, specific topics would be best suited for those platforms: how-to guides for creating engaging social media content.
Another example is; if you are a travel blog, you should publish posts on destinations, activities, or experiences. For example, if you are a fashion blog, you might want to publish posts on fashion trends or seasonal collections; the same applies to brands that run food blogs.
What to look out for when creating a content calendar
There are certain factors that aid your content calendar creation when you understand them, such as;
Understanding the platform you plan to use
Different platforms operate in different ways. The way to get the best use of your content calendar is by organizing your calendar based on the requirements of the other platforms you utilize. Understanding the different platforms available allows you to know each platform’s strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to choose the right platform for you.
Content deadline dates
Like food companies have “best before” dates for their product, the same applies to your content. Each produced content should have a date when it should be published. What determines the date is the behavior of your target audience. Are they more prone to evening post times? Do they prefer content on social media or via blogs? Do they love to see content campaigns during holidays? As a business, your content calendar should follow a structure.
Organize the individual objectives of each content on your calendar
One of the critical things with content marketing is that a strategy backs every post. This statement means that brands don’t post just because they feel like it; each published post is supposed to achieve a specific goal with the audience.
Detailed content information
Your content calendar should have more than the content idea and publishing date; the content calendar should include links to images, content briefs, and intended backlinks that comprise a total content post. Curating your content calendar this way ensures that each marked date is backed by the information needed to execute effectively.
An unrealistic content calendar would look something like this;
The only information on the task for the 23rd of November is that the content is a Thanksgiving campaign to be published on Instagram. It doesn’t provide any information on what sort of campaign it is, who is responsible for publishing it, what images and links are to be included, what the idea for the content is, and much more.
An effective content calendar will have detailed content information and a breakdown of the steps leading to the content publishing date, the documentation of the first draft, a review of the content, edits, publication, and content analysis when it goes live.
Top Content Calendar tools
You can generate content calendars manually or create them using the software.
The best content calendar tools available can quickly generate content calendars in various formats and with different levels of granularity. The best of the bunch operates based on the following principles;
- An ability to create master calendars that can be shared with team members and collaborators.
- An easy viewing setup of the schedule based on month, week, and day.
- A simple and easy-to-use interface makes adding and editing content easy.
- A software that allows you to export your master calendar in various formats, including PDF and Excel.
There are content calendar tools that follow these principles, and some of them are;
- Sprout Social
SproutSocial offers a variety of social media management tools, including a content calendar that can be used for your brand. Their promotion includes scheduling and promoting social content so your team can focus on strategy development. Pricing for this app ranges from $99 to $239 per month.
Semrush is a highly recognized voice in content marketing because of its strong focus on SEO-driven content management tools. Its content calendar allows you to schedule your brand’s content with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO). It provides a two-in-one deal by giving your brand a calendar with different templates and SEO focus, ensuring you can achieve your marketing goals. Semrush has free features, but the best use is from its paid package, which costs $229 monthly.
- Social Pilot
Social Pilot, like its counterparts, offers various content marketing tools that aid brand development and management. Its content calendar offers daily, weekly, and monthly views that provide different perspectives of your content. The content calendar has an easy user interface and can be adjusted to fit into evolving brand needs. For example, Social Pilot offers its services at a starting price of $39.95 per month.
- Google Calendar
Google continually shows that it applies to every phase in a brand’s evolution. For example, the Google calendar might not feature a fancy scheduling content calendar template, and it might involve more manual work than the others. Still, it is free and can perform the same general task. However, it is ideal for small brands that cannot afford to purchase content calendar tools.
The best part of having a content calendar will always be the organizational aids it provides. It helps you keep track of your projects, tasks, and campaigns to remain focused. Content calendars are necessary for any business set on growing, be it a small, medium, or large enterprise.
Because of how detailed an effective content calendar needs to be, it can seem overwhelming to create a content calendar, but thankfully tools exist that can simplify the process. Also, in cases where tools don’t seem to cut it, there are content marketing agencies and content writing agencies like Kaku that can simplify the process. These agencies simplify tasks by planning, scheduling, creating, reviewing, publishing, analyzing, and updating your content needs.
Keep in mind that an idea is only as good as its execution, and to execute it successfully, you need a detailed plan.