How to Make a Content Calendar (Your Marketing Strategy Will Thank You)
Whether you’re part of a large marketing agency or doing a freelance writing gig, everyone wants to be more organized.
For content creators, one of the best ways to stay organized is to create a content calendar outlining your daily, weekly, and monthly required writing.
But making a content calendar can feel like going to the dentist or getting the oil changed in your car.
You know you need to do it. But you really don’t want to make a content calendar. So you drag through the days and weeks scrambling to come up with interesting topics, write about them, and edit the content before deadlines.
Stop it. You deserve better.
A good content calendar saves you precious time and energy while keeping you on track through the day. Making a content calendar from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but follow these steps and you’ll discover that it’s easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Brainstorm Your Topics and Audiences
Carve out some quiet time to brainstorm general topics for your content calendar. The best way to do this is to think about your company or client’s audience and brand. Is your brand on the cutting edge of technology? Or is it old-school reliable?
Defining your audience lays down the groundwork for topics. Think about what people in your industry care about the most. Establish the issues your customers are facing and you have a great start on topics.
Some popular ways to frame your content include:
- How-to articles or step by step guides
- Infographics about interesting statistics
- Videos or webinars giving your audience
- Case studies or white papers
Keep in mind all of your content doesn’t have to be about a ground-breaking new topic. In fact, writing about basic ideas and principles is a great way to create evergreen content. Trends change. The basics don’t.
You can even take an old blog post and re-purpose it with updated information and insight. Taking an older topic and re-inventing it is an easy way to fill out any gaps you may have in your content calendar.
2. Outline Your Calendar
With your topics in mind, begin to outline your calendar. Thankfully, there are several free calendar templates available whether you prefer to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You can even set up reminders if you use Google Sheets or Docs, which is especially helpful if you’re extremely busy (or just forgetful).
When you’re scheduling your content, be reasonable as far as deadlines. An effective content calendar should space out content far enough to give you plenty of time to complete each article or blog post. Feel free to schedule your social media posts on your calendar as well. Adding both your publishing content and social media posts means you can coordinate similar topics for your audiences across all platforms.
Even if you only schedule a few months in advance, you are still taking a major step toward keeping your marketing efforts organized. You will spend less time scouring the web for a topic every time a post is due, and you will have more time to focus on your marketing strategy’s big picture.
3. Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand
Don’t be a content ostrich. While having a content calendar is a powerful way to stay on track, it’s important to stay up to date on new topics and trends. Don’t let a calendar handcuff you into one concrete topic. If you come across a great story or piece of news, write about it.
Also, keep an eye on your content’s performance. If a batch of your planned topics aren’t driving traffic or engagement, then it is time to switch up your game plan.