What Is a Content Calendar? (and How to Create One)

Producing great content requires effective planning, scheduling, and visualizing. Here’s where content calendars come in. 

Content calendars can boost team productivity, workflow, and consistency and should be an integral part of any good content strategy

What is a content calendar?

As the name suggests, content calendars consist of schedules that dictate various types of content to be produced on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly schedule. Content calendars can be on cloud-based software, a spreadsheet, a physical calendar, or on many of the various content calendar tools on the internet. 

A content calendar can help drive a business or organization forwards by mapping out all the content details and marketing activities to keep stakeholders organized and accountable. 

If you’re posting the occasional piece of content on a personal blog or as a hobby, you might not feel that a content calendar is needed. But if you’re juggling multiple platforms and customer campaigns, or if you’re using content marketing to grow your business, staying organized and planning ahead of time is crucial. 

Why are content calendars important?

Hubspot, a software company specializing in marketing, reported that companies that publish more than 16 content posts a month generate 3.5 times more website traffic than those that publish less than 4. However, planning, producing, and publishing 16 unique pieces of content a month takes a considerable amount of time and requires a well thought-out content strategy. 

This is how a content calendar can benefit your content marketing efforts. While there are numerous benefits of a great content calendar, here are some points that highlight the importance of creating and following one.

  • It gives you a bird’s-eye view of all content. When you’re juggling a lot on your plate, taking on additional pieces of content can make you feel overwhelmed at the best of times. A calendar organizes your content in a more manageable way and gives you a different perspective on upcoming deadlines, so you’ll feel on top of it all. 
  • It’s familiar, simple, and easy to use. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, the last thing you want is a clunky or hard-to-use organizational tool. We’ve all used a calendar before, and the best thing about content calendars is that you can make it as complex (or simple!) as you’d like. 
  • You can plan and organize content around key dates. It’s easy to forget upcoming dates when you don’t have them planned out. Knowing the upcoming key dates, seasons, public holidays, or any other special days during the year can help you plan your content strategy to make the most of these dates.
  • There’s plenty of preparation time for important campaigns. If you know you have a major project or campaign coming up, you can backtrack and plan deadlines accordingly. Breaking up tasks over a longer period will optimize the workflow and allow for visualization from a higher perspective. 
  • It encourages collaboration. Content calendars can act as a collaborative virtual workspace, and their shared visibility keeps it transparent and the whole team accountable. A content calendar will usually have multiple contributors, and tasks can soon build up and become hard to work through without clear collaboration and communication. 

Tips for Creating a Content Calendar

So now that you understand just how important content calendars are, how do you go about creating one? Here are four simple yet effective tips for creating a content calendar that you’ll love to use.

1. Research and understand your customers

If you’re creating content to drive traffic to your website or increase sales, it’s vital to undergo customer research. 

Attracting your target audience means planning out your content strategies and marketing efforts to reach the most prospects. For example, if you’re targeting working healthcare professionals, posting content during working hours probably won’t reach as many people as posting in the evenings or during the weekends. If you’re targeting children, take advantage of the school holidays or the back-to-school rush. 

Think about the questions you want to be answered when planning the content in your calendar. What does my target audience need? What are they interested in? When is the best time to reach them? What copy style will they most resonate with?

2. Identify key contributors and the type of calendar you want to use

Content calendars are generally very complex and will require input from several different contributors. Allocating tasks like web copywriting, strategy, graphic design, and post-scheduling to several team members will help even out the workload and streamline the work processes. 

It’s also essential to determine what or how many content calendars you need to achieve your goals. You can also group different timelines into one main calendar, although some people prefer to have separate calendars to keep the workspaces tidy. For example, you might want to have individual content calendars for different social media platforms and a separate email calendar to track campaigns.

3. Outline the content frequency

Once you’ve decided on the content frequency, you’ll be able to plan out your strategy efforts accordingly. A consistent weekly, monthly, or yearly plan allows your team to establish a comfortable set routine, so they’ll be more consistent in their workflow. 

While there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to content frequency, you want to make sure you’re constantly at the forefront of your prospective customer’s mind. This also means posting content sustainably, so you don’t get burnout. Posting once every two weeks might be too little, but posting four times a day might also not be sustainable.

4. Allocate themes and specific campaigns

Make the most of your content calendar by pre-planning specific themes and campaigns that revolve around certain dates and seasons. This is a fun and engaging way to get involved in yearly trends or events that your prospects may be interested in. 

An example of this is campaigns that promote specific product categories during holidays like Halloween or Christmas. This is also an excellent time to slot in upcoming projects and campaigns that require extensive pre-planning so you’ve got an overview of what your next few weeks or months will look like.

Once you’ve put all the important campaigns in, you can fill in the rest with evergreen content. This is content that will always remain relevant and value-rich. Evergreen content is great to slot in your calendar when there are delays in your schedule or if you need last-minute content quickly. 

The bottom line

Content calendars are a must-have tool for anyone looking to streamline their tasks, optimize their workflow, and visualize their content and marketing strategies from a different perspective.

Creating one might seem overwhelming, but once you understand how to set one up, you’ll be crushing your content goals in no time!

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