Someone learning to record and create content calendar data on a laptop

How to Create a Content Calendar

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Flexibility and adaptability are key to any successful marketing endeavor. However, consistency is even more important when it comes to editorial work. Learn how to create content calendar designs, so you can make yourself the perfect, custom content calendar. Your following will know they can depend on you, and they will come to expect and look forward to whatever you have to share.

A clean-cut strategy will ensure that you and your marketing team are on the same page. Brainstorm, address customer pain points, monitor your followers, make benchmarks to reach, and keep track of it all with your own content calendar.

Every exceptional company has a content calendar. It simply becomes a necessity as you grow – and it will even help you grow faster too!

What Is a Content Calendar?

Would you like to know how to create a content calendar for blog posts? You’ll need to know what a content calendar is, first off. As its name implies, this is a schedule for your blog posts (and any other content you intend to create, including social media). You can choose dates to publish in advance, and refer to your content calendar often in order to keep track. You’ll need to consider the types of posts you’re scheduling (How To or Listicle, for example), as well as the topics you’ll be covering.

Why Should You Have a Content Calendar?

With your own content calendar, you can make sure you don’t miss a thing. Learning how to make a content calendar will also make things more efficient, as well as much simpler. Who couldn’t use some more of that?

1. Create Content Calendar Designs and Stay on Track

A path illustrating how a content calendar will keep you on track
Image by Radosław Cieśla from Pixabay

With so many things to juggle, it can be seriously hard to stay on track. That’s what your content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, is for. You can schedule activities well in advance: blog posts, social media updates, updates to previous content, etc. Some writing agencies will schedule up to six months in advance on their editorial calendar. This creates the opportunity to not only design your vision, but you can also record each step involved. Many have found that they become much more successful when they create their own content calendar. And it’s no mystery why.

With your own calendar, deadlines will never sneak up on you, which can provide some wonderful stress relief. You will be able to feel – and be – on top of things, not just day to day, but month to month and ultimately year to year. If you’re creating seasonal content, for example, you want to maximize the value you get from it, which means getting ahead of the game and posting early.

Share your content calendar with your marketing team, and instead of emailing you for updates, they can simply give this a check. This makes everyone’s life a little easier, and helps the whole team keep the vision in mind.

In a nutshell, a content calendar is all about finding the best path… and then staying on track.

2. Manage the Different Parts of Your Company All Together

If you’re running a company, content creation is probably just one thing that you’re trying to keep track of. There’s also creating a content calendar for social media, emails, and SEO, just to name a few. Along with this, perhaps you’re watching sales? Keeping an eye on your follower count? This multi-tasking can become quite a, well, task!

Learn how to create a content calendar for blog posts, yes, but also everything that’s listed above… Having everything clearly laid out in one place will certainly make managing your company (and your online marketing endeavors) much easier.

3. Brainstorm Content in the Most Productive Way

A content marketing team working to create goals for their editorial calendar
Image by Ronald Carreño from Pixabay

Before you get started, you will want to brainstorm your content calendar. This is a process that your whole marketing team should be involved with – they are sure to have some ideas about the best times to edit, post, etc.

Invest some brainstorming time into making your content calendar, and it will be worth the effort. You will be surprised at how much faster things move when you and your team have carefully crafted and agreed upon a strategy together.

4. Encourage Follower Engagement

You have already begun to gather followers, and many have been supportive. It’s a done deal, right? While this is a fantastic start, it is only the beginning; to get your message across and market effectively, you will need to stay in view. The phrase is ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ after all. Instead, your goal should be staying in sight, and in mind! This calls for a frequent, regular flow of content.

With your handy content calendar, you can schedule posts every couple of days. Never miss a post, and people will start looking forward to them. As they share them, the number of followers you have will only grow.

A set of speech bubbles indicating how you get more likes, shares, comments, and feedback if you post regularly
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

5. Keep Your Team on the Same Page

Despite the best of intentions, without a proper content calendar, content mix-ups will likely occur. Why is this? Because keeping on top of your own schedule is hard enough without having to remember everyone else’s, too! As a result, you may find that a couple of your team members have created the same post, or that someone has posted too early, etc.

While these small mistakes are certainly forgivable, they may not come off as entirely professional, and they’re also just not the most efficient way to work. To avoid slip-ups like this, many find it necessary to manage their team (and enable them to manage themselves) with a well-crafted content calendar.

6. Refine Your Strategy

A laptop covered in post-it notes and papers, illustrating that you should organize with a content calendar
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Does the image above look familiar? Are you still using post-its to record what you need to do? This is an outdated method that is honestly more trouble than it’s worth. Take all of those loose papers and turn them into a neat and orderly online system, to create content calendar organization and clarity. This is the next step when it comes to effectively marketing and encouraging your company to grow.

7. Remember to Update Old Content

If you have marked the publishing dates of your blog and social media posts, you will know when they’ve gotten old. You can spruce them up with some fresh information, and update the SEO, to turn them into posts that are ‘good as new.’ This goes to show, practicality and efficiency are some definite benefits of creating your own content calendar.

8. Learn How to Post at the Best Time Every Time

When you’re rushing to throw together a post, you probably just want to get it out there as soon as possible; the faster the better, right? Actually, there are certain times that people are the most active on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Post during these busy times, and you’ll get more views – it couldn’t be simpler. So, when should you post what, and where? Learn to create a content calendar for social media, so you can keep track.

The top time to post on Facebook looks to be anywhere between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. (though this can vary somewhat). On the other hand, generally the best times to post on Twitter are Wednesday and Friday, and 8-9 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Post on Instagram most effectively at lunchtime or in the evening, when your followers have a moment to scroll through their feed and relax.

If you’d like to make the most of your posts on WordPress, it is recommended to post at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. Before publishing on any platform, you may want to give the best posting time a quick check.

How to Make Your Own Content Calendar

It’s not very difficult to make your own content calendar. In fact, there are platforms that can make it really easy for you, as well as steps you can take yourself to make the task simpler. The effort you put in is sure to pay off.

1. Choose a Platform to Create Content Calendar Organization That Is Stress-Free

Microsoft Excel

Once you open Microsoft Excel, all you need to do is open a new calendar. From here, you will have lots of options to choose from; would you like a 3-month view or a calendar for an entire year? With Microsoft Excel, you can add events to your calendar, organize with fonts and colors, and much more…

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is wonderfully useful – and wonderfully free! When it comes to how to create a content calendar in Google Sheets, you can combine all of your data into eye-pleasing graphs, charts, etc. There are many templates to choose from, including expense reports, your monthly budget, etc.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar can be used to create content calendar schedules, and not just as a basic calendar. Who knew? This is a fantastic option if you are not so great at the ‘technical stuff.’ Using Google Calendar to design a custom editorial calendar couldn’t be easier.

Loomly

Tired of spreadsheets? Perhaps Loomly is something you’d prefer. This stores all of your data in one place, without the use of your typical spreadsheet! Instead, use Loomly to take a look at post overviews, and even set up notifications, so you don’t miss a thing with this interactive content calendar.

You can start out with a 15-day trial, and if you love it, pay monthly for the myriad of features it has on offer.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule is an ultra-flexible way to make your own content calendar. Use CoSchedule to show your progress to the higher-ups, see all of your information together, and positively transform the very way you work.

2. Color Code and Label Your Content Calendar

Many content calendar platforms will have an option to color code and label. While this may seem arbitrary, it can actually be very helpful. When you’re in a hurry, a scan of the colors and labels can quickly tell you what you need to know. This is also a really intuitive organization method, making it easy for everyone in your marketing team to follow.

3. Include Benchmarks and Milestones in Your Calendar

You can create content calendar goals as well as posting dates, each serving as a company benchmark. For example, how many followers would you like your blog to acquire, and by when? How many likes? Shares? Be sure to schedule these benchmarks into your content calendar.

When your company succeeds, celebrate with the team to inspire company spirit and cheer. If you fall short of a benchmark, don’t fret – that’s another benefit of content calendars. You can take a clear look at your content calendar, consult your team, and tweak your strategy until you’re meeting benchmarks confidently, and faster.

A content marketing team celebrating meeting a benchmark successfully with a round of drinks
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So, are you ready to put the post-it notes away and instead create a really useful content calendar for your marketing team? It will make things much easier. Give it a try for a few months, then brainstorm again with your team and see what you can do to improve it further still.

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