A streamlined content strategy is one of the basic requirements for any online business. Everything from social media marketing to blogs requires content planning, scheduling, and delivery that matches the requirements of your target audience.
This is especially important in the case of larger teams. The more moving parts there are, the more monitoring that needs to be done. This is where the use of a content calendar can make things easier for you and your team. So, what exactly are content calendars? Let's take a look!
What Are Content Calendars?
Content calendars are simply a tool that you can use to plan and deliver content for your business. It helps with scheduling content and keeping track of the progress of all projects that are currently being worked upon.
Content calendars can be used to strategize content delivery months in advance. In fact, many large content houses plan a year's worth of content in advance.
This sounds really daunting, but these calendars are easy to use and help keep the entire team unified in their focus.
What Makes Content Calendars So Important Today?
At its simplest, a content calendar is a kind of schedule for your content. But look a little deeper, and you will understand that content calendars have far more reaching benefits.
If you run a small, personal blog, then perhaps you may not need a content calendar. However, having a solid content strategy would be prudent if you run an online business and are trying to attract potential customers and satisfy your current customer needs.
With the help of a content calendar, different aspects of your team can work seamlessly with synergy. It's a tool that keeps everyone on the same page and working towards accomplishing the same goal.
3 Planning in Advance
But by far, the most important aspect of a calendar is the big-picture view that it affords you. A well-planned content calendar can give you an overview for almost a year's worth of content. Imagine the insights this could give your business!
How Do You Make A Content Calendar?
There are several ways you can make a content calendar. There are templates available online that you can use to your liking. However, let us understand the line of thought that goes into designing a content calendar.
Since the goal is to have a solid content strategy for your business, here are the basic details that your content calendar must take into consideration.
Where Will It Be Published?
Effective marketing strategy goes beyond just publishing articles on your website. There have to be peripheral marketing buttresses that support your business. This can be in the form of social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts. You can also publish video content if your business would flourish from it.
Bottom line – you need to know where a planned piece of content is set to be delivered. Therefore, this is one of the key aspects of a content calendar.
- The subject - This is where the name of the content will be featured. That's pretty much it.
- Content-Type - This information lets you and your team understand in a glance what type of content is to be delivered. Content on your website or your blog can range from blog posts, guest blogs, social media posts, and videos, among many others.
- Date of publishing - This will help everyone involved with the project know exactly when the content is to be delivered. You can take this a step further by adding individual responsibilities and deadlines. For example, separate deadlines for things like graphics, writing, and editing of the same piece of content. This way, your team can work together in a factory line manner as the content moves down from department to department.
- The person in charge - If you run a small business, then this could be just you. However, if there is a larger content creation team, then this can be several people responsible for different aspects of the content. Think things like graphic work, SEO, writing/editing, etc. Having it clearly mentioned on your calendar, which is in charge, will prevent members from running around trying to figure out the project's status.
- Note of completion - This is the acknowledgment that the content has indeed been published.
- The key aspects mentioned so far are what make the backbone of a great content calendar. You can use these ideas to design a content calendar that suits your business just right. Alternatively, you can also use content calendar templates.
- Creating your own content calendar using Excel - Now that you know what goes into designing a calendar, you can design one of your own using excel. Using a third-party template will require your team to understand its functionality. This is where an excel template will help you, as it is likely that your team is well accustomed to MS Excel.
Social Media Content Calendar
As there are multiple social media platforms where you can post your content, social media content planning can be quite tedious without a content calendar.
A social media content calendar keeps track of the schedule and progress of content for various channels like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Besides the fact that this calendar caters primarily to social media content, the basic principles of calendar design remain the same.
Top Free Content Calendar Templates
There is an abundant source of content calendar templates available online. Each of them provides its own interesting take on data management. Here's a look at some of the best templates around.
It offers one of the most basic yet intuitive calendar templates you can find. Their template can be downloaded as a google sheet or excel file. Ideal for new blogs, their content workflow sheet will help keep the entire team working together and fine-tuned to produce quality content without missing a single deadline.
Backlinko Content Calendar
Trello is most suited for large content creation and marketing teams. The key feature of their template is the ability to keep track of individual progress on the project through means of a checklist feature.
This way, the entire team has a clear idea of exactly how much progress has been made and how far down the pipeline the content has progressed.
Coschedule primarily focuses on content marketing. Their templates are designed to help teams that put emphasis on blog content. A unique feature of their template is the inclusion of a column for identifying your target audience and persona.
CoSchedule Content Calendar
Hootsuite is amongst the best social media management apps. Their week-by-week content calendar template will help you plan content for the four main channels of social media marketing – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Hootsuite Content Calendar
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The use of a content calendar will free up strain on your mind concerning planning and tracing content progress. This way, you can use your time and headspace to create interesting content ideas for your business and not worry about deadlines!
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