Most business owners understand that a documented content marketing plan is crucial for the success of online marketing. However, only a few of them understand the Importance of content calendar and how to create one.
Do you know???
Over 53% of successful content marketers have a documented content marketing plan, as per the latest statistics from the Content Marketing Institute
What is the Content Calendar?
To put in in simpler terms, a content marketing calendar is a sheet where topics, dates, and ideas are stored along with other information such as
- The writer of the topic
- Editor and publisher for the topic
- The list of platforms where each content piece will be posted
- The assigned dates for publishing each content piece
The content marketing calendar is a tool to plan and organize your future content. It helps to improve collaboration among your team and ensures that all your content marketing efforts are in the right direction. There are different types of content calendars such as social media content calendar, editorial content calendar, etc.
There is no fixed format for creating a content marketing calendar. The decision about what type of calendar is required and the information that is to be included in the calendar depends on your preferences. However, it is essential to remember that the only purpose of creating a content calendar is to keep track of your content creation efforts and ensure that the broad ideas are converted into actionable campaigns that engage and convert the target audience.
Now that you know what is a content calendar, let us know about the benefits of using one.
Benefits of Using a Content Marketing Calendar
Creating and publishing informative and engaging content is a necessity for every business organization. It helps to improve brand awareness, improve SERPs rankings, attract traffic to the website, engage the customers, generate leads, and convert them into loyal customers.
Content calendars play a critical role in maintaining the relevancy and quality of your content. They help you to plan out the types of content to create, platforms to publish the content, assign responsibility to your team members, and finally measure the performance of each content piece in terms of conversions, sales, and other parameters.
Here are some other advantages that show the Importance of content calendar.
Perks of an Organized Content Strategy
Creating a content marketing calendar helps you to enjoy the benefits of having an organized content strategy. It helps to visualize your content marketing efforts across different platforms, over time and ensure they are streamlined without any gaps or overlaps. You can publish different types of content on time and consistently to connect, inform and engage your audience.
Aids to Plan Campaigns Around Key Dates
Content calendars can be used to earmark and remember key dates of local, national, and international importance such as women’s day, Mothers’ day, independence day, etc. You can create ample campaigns centered around these dates and keep it ready to publish at the right time. Moreover, you will never be left scrambling for content on important events such as product launches, events, etc.
Helps to Save Time
A well-designed content calendar with the right information saves time and improves the efficiency of your content creation and marketing teams. As everyone in the team knows exactly when a particular content asset should be ready to be published, there is no communication gap or confusion regarding the deadlines. There are no last-minute delays as everything is scheduled well ahead of time.
Improves Customer Understanding
Content calendars aid marketing teams to create highly targeted content that is desired by your prospective buyers. Your teams can dedicate more time to understand the content demands and consumption patterns of your target audience and plan to create content assets accordingly. Moreover, they can analyze the trends and choose apt platforms and accurate timings to publish content. For example, if you observe that a majority of your target audience are online on Monday morning on Twitter, you can plan your tweets and posts accordingly.
Optimize The Campaigns
It is easy to track and measure the performance of different content assets while using content calendars. Your teams can analyze the performance of each asset such as whitepapers, social media posts, PPC campaigns, long-form blogs, etc. in terms of various parameters. Continuous monitoring and analysis help to assess which content is working and which is not. You can optimize the campaigns that are producing better results and work on those that are lagging behind.
Helps to Synchronize Resources
Maintaining a content marketing calendar aids to synchronize your advertising and content marketing resources. Planning content assets ahead of time ensure that there is ample time to find advertisers and sponsors, who want to buy advertising space. Moreover, you can also manage multiple guest contributors by giving them pre-scheduled dates to post their blogs.
Creating content calendars and updating them regularly ensures that there is no duplication of topics, last-minute hurry, or skipped deadlines. It saves valuable time, which can be used for other strategic purposes that improve the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign.
Now that you know the Importance of content calendar and the various benefits it provides, let’s proceed to discuss the necessary elements of a content marketing calendar.
You can create a content calendar inhouse by using the various tools available online or hire the services of a content marketing agency to do the task for you. Experienced content marketing agencies such as Towards90 possess the required knowledge and tools to create the right content marketing strategies for your business. We follow the content calendar best practices to ensure that all the important information is mentioned in the calendar to help you create and publish quality content consistently.
Critical Elements Of a Content Calendar
There is no specific format to create a content calendar. You can create one using excel or google sheets. There are many templates available online for free that help small businesses to create content marketing calendars.
Before we discuss the elements of a content calendar, let us know about the types of content calendars.
Types of Content Calendar
There are 3 main types of content calendars
- Printable calendars – These are the regular hard copy calendars
- Spreadsheets – MS Excel and Google sheets can be used for creating content calendars
- Content Calendar Apps – These are the modern tools that not only help in creating content calendars but also have many tracking and analytics features. These apps have built-in dashboards, give you alerts and boast of many advanced features that improve the efficiency of your content marketing team.
What Are The Details to Include in My Content Marketing Calendar?
Every business is different and so are the content creation processes of each business. You have to customize your content calendar to suit your organization’s information needs, the type of calendar, and the purpose of creating the calendar.
However, no matter what tools you are using to create the content marketing calendar or the nature of the calendar, there are some crucial elements that you must include to make it effective.
Details About Specific Deadlines
Deadlines are an important aspect to include in your calendar if you wish to create and publish content regularly. You can include deadlines for different processes in your content creation exercise such as
- Date of the publication
- Date of completion of the first draft
- Date of final completion of the content
You can adjust the deadlines from time-to-time based on your organization’s processes and other factors. But having a deadline is crucial to ensure consistency.
Form of Content
There are many types of content such as blog posts, landing pages, infographics, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, images, etc. Your content calendar should include information about the form of content that is to be published on a specific date. This allows you to plan ahead and create various forms of content without repetition. A good mix of different forms of content makes your content engaging and effective. It also helps you to repurpose the content in various forms to improve the reach and engagement.
The name of the person responsible for each content should also be mentioned in your content marketing calendar. You have to mention the names of the writer, editor, graphic designer, manager, and the person responsible for publishing the content. This helps you to keep track of people working on different types of content and fix responsibility. You can also easily track the writer or editor if you need any additional work on particular content.
Title or Headline
This is the actual concept on which content should be created. Your content writer will get an idea about the topic to write based on the headline. You can have an exact tile or a proposed headline that can be altered at a later date.
In the above screenshot, you can see that apart from the due date and publishing date, resource person, and content details, there is a lot of other data that helps the content creators to understand how to go about creating it. You can include details such as
- Primary keywords
- Secondary keywords
- Target audience
- Engagement cycle
These details will help to ensure that the content matches the overall content strategy of your organization. Choose the details that you feel are important for the team to know before creating the content.
You can also include key metrics such as page views, comments, downloads, etc. on the content calendar. These metrics will aid to understand how different types of content are performing. You can choose the best performing content and repurpose them later, for increased engagement with the audience. For example, if you notice that some of your blog posts on a specific theme are performing well. You can create an ebook with all those blogs.
A content calendar is a management tool that makes content management simpler and streamlined. It helps you to ensure that your content creation efforts match the overall content strategy. There is no fixed format for a content calendar. You can include all the details that you may think necessary. However, ensuring that the important details mentioned above are included in your calendar makes it effective and improves the productivity of your content team.
Are you still confused about the details to include in your content calendar? Contact the experts at Towards90 to get one designed for you. We can create multiple varieties of content calendars using the content calendar best practices. We can help you with editorial calendars, blog calendars, email calendars, and social media calendar ideas, apart from other types of content calendars.
Tools For Creating a Content Calendar
There are many tools available online to create your content marketing calendar. However, before choosing a content calendar tool or a template, you should consider the following points.
- Features of the tool or app. Content management tools come with various features such as collaboration, sharing, assignments, tracking, etc.
- Ease of use
- Suitability with your content strategy. For example, some tools only support social media calendar ideas, while others are suitable for multiple purposes such as creating editorial calendars, blog calendars, etc.
5 Tools For Creating Content Calendars
|1||WordPress Editorial Calendar||Get an overview of all your posts and their publishing datesDrag and drop option to change the dates of postingDrafts drawer for managing all your draftsQuick edit option to edit your drafts, dates, and postsYou can easily manage posts from various authors||free|
|2||Google Docs||Easy to useFacilitates collaborationEasy to shareCan be customized to suit your requirementsSuitable for smaller teams||free|
|3||Kapost||Has a slick content calendar for different users such as writers, editors, proofreaders, etc. Good for organizations that create huge volumes of contentProvides advanced features such as social publishing and analytics||$3500/mo|
|4||Trello||Easy to useSuitable for teams of all sizesUnlimited labels for cardsPre-publish checklistFilters to find the cards you are looking forFree 14 day trial||Starts at $9.99/mo|
|5||Coschedule||Real-time marketing calendarEnd-to-end social media managementFeatures that allow easy edits and reschedulingFacility to share read-only calendarsEasy integration with WordPress||Starts at $14/mo|
There are many other content calendar apps and tools such as SocialCast, HubSpot, Marketing.Ai, DivvyHQ, and so on. You can choose the tools depending on your team size, content creation requirements, content size, budget, and other factors.
The content calendar plays a crucial role in improving the quality of your content. It can help you to align your content creation to the overall content strategy goals of your organization. There are many tools and templates ranging from simple Google Docs and Excel sheets to advanced apps such as Trello, and Kapost. You can choose the tools or templates that suit your requirements. Most of the basic content calendar tools on the internet are free.
You can consult professional content marketing agencies such as Towards 90 for a customized content strategy and content calendar. Our contenting marketing experts will create a personalized content calendar to suit your individual requirements and goals.