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A Comprehensive Guide to Create an Effective Content Calendar

A Comprehensive Guide to Create an Effective Content Calendar

Even with a team of talented writers and social media specialists, creating new content can be overwhelming. Companies that handle digital marketing and content creation internally can sometimes find it difficult to create all the content they want. Many businesses are motivated to create and share more content, but time constraints and lack of human resources often impede their efforts.

The root cause of the problem is not always the scarcity of resources. Often, these problems arise because of poor planning. In that case, one might find the solution in a content calendar.

Keeping a content calendar is a simple way to make the most of your limited resources. It makes sure that your content-related tasks actually get done, thereby ensuring marketing goals are achieved.

What is a Content Calendar

A content calendar is essentially a schedule of all things related to your digital marketing strategy. Also known as an “editorial schedule,” it is where you plot out topics, dates, and plans—practically an overview of how you will present your brand or business on your website.

Why Keep a Content Calendar

Now that we have an idea of what is a content calendar, it’s time to dive deeper into how you can set yourself up for a stellar marketing year.

As the digital marketing space becomes more competitive, advertisers, marketers, and content creators aim to be on top of the game. Content planning is critical to the success of your marketing strategy, and having a good mix of solid planning and competitive content writing sets you up for success. Lining up your activities on a content calendar is an excellent place to start.

Here’s how a content calendar can help you meet your marketing goals:

1. Stay organized and on track with your goals.

A content calendar organizes all of your content and marketing teams’ activities for the entire year. It gives you a clear view of what’s coming for your team and a comprehensive, up-to-date view of planned content, when to publish them, who’s working on them, and what needs to be done next. It helps you standardize your workflow and keep track of your campaigns, ensuring that every operation will run smoothly.

With a content calendar, team members are able to manage their tasks and see which to accomplish first. This helps in making sure no posting date or important event is missed, keeping you on time and on track with your marketing goals.

2. Plan out and select relevant content throughout the year.

Thoughtlessly choosing random topics or repeatedly publishing content about the same subjects can harm your engagement. With a content calendar, you can carefully plan out topics to cover throughout the year and take into account special days that might be relevant to your industry.

Additionally, a content calendar is a great way to incorporate A/B testing into your digital marketing strategy. It enables you to experiment with content writing styles and posting times and see which works best for your website.

3. Encourage brainstorming.

Fresh ideas often come from long brainstorming sessions. Keep your team engaged in creating strategies, and it will usher in a surge of creative ideas and content. With clearly defined goals and a bird’s eye view of the marketing year, team members can easily pitch ideas on what to do for the coming months. Ideas that may be better implemented in another season won’t be lost and may be taken into consideration.

4. Maintain consistency.

Consistency is the key if you want your brand or business to receive website traffic. Scheduling will help any brand or business prevent major mistakes and allow leeway to create more ambitious strategies. It can help track the business journey, see backlogs, and identify areas that need improvement.

5. Save time.

With a content calendar, you won’t have to spend hours and hours conducting meetings. You already have an outline of what content to put out for the year, so there’s no need to call for unnecessarily long meetings on a regular basis. You can save on money, energy, and effort in the long run, and you can spend these on other important matters that can benefit your digital marketing campaign.

How to Create a Content Calendar

Content calendars are not one-size-fits-all. It will have different components, depending on your team’s needs. Here are some of the common elements found in a content calendar:

Campaign

Every piece of content you publish should have a purpose, which should be stated on your content calendar. For instance, some can be used to increase brand awareness, and some can be used to showcase new products or services.

Geo-Targeting

If you publish content for a sizable audience, you can state the target location on your content calendar. Doing so will help your team in looking for information that is relevant to your target audience.

Content Types

Posting different types of content maximizes your reach as you target different types of audiences who prefer different types of content. With the content type on the calendar, you can identify gaps in the types of content you want to publish and make the necessary adjustments.

Title

Of course, you need to include the title of each piece of content you plan to put out. These could just be ideas or working titles, but at the very least, you need to have the seed of an idea so that you know what content to create.

Writer or Author

If you have many writers on the team, it’s essential to include the name of the assigned writer beside every piece of content you plan to put out. In that way, they can prepare for the tasks assigned to them.

It also helps to do the same for the other tasks involved in your content marketing strategy, such as proofreading and posting. With the names of members assigned to accomplish the task recorded on your content calendar, it’s easier to monitor who to contact when issues occur.

Edit Date

When creating a content calendar, you also have to set important dates, such as edit dates. It lets your proofreaders or editors know when they should start working on the content assigned to them.

Setting edit dates also lets your editors know when they need to finish the content they’re working on. It gives enough time for checking and making sure that all the content you put out is of high quality.

Publish Date

Similar to the edit dates, you also have to include the publish dates of your content. Doing so reinforces accountability on your team. With deadlines seen by everyone, it becomes easier to monitor everything.

Production Progress

A schedule isn’t complete without a status tracker. For that reason, you need to consider putting a section for monitoring the production progress. This eliminates the need for contacting people to ask for updates. By looking at the calendar, you’ll easily see the progress of the content as well as some potential bottlenecks in the production process.

Post Destination

It’s also important to state where your content will be posted. This element will help your marketing team know how and where you plan to promote the content you’re going to put out. With this element added to your content calendar, it will be easier for you to look for your previous content in case you need to analyze analytics in the future.

Supporting Media

Some pieces of content need supporting media, such as videos, images, or audio files. Allocating a section for supporting media on your content calendar streamlines the publishing process.

Document Link

One of the most important elements of a content calendar is the section for document links. This element comes in handy in cases where edits need to be done. It makes it easier for the editor to look for the original copy of the content.

Future Content Planning Ideas

Having a content calendar doesn’t mean that you have to follow everything written on it. You can still implement changes to some of the not-so-urgent ones, especially when you find better ideas.

To make sure you don’t forget or misplace ideas, create a section for them on your content calendar. Take note that you don’t have to delete the ones you originally planned on putting out. You can still use them in the future.

Content Calendar Creation Process

Creating a content calendar is practically jotting down ideas and notes on how to run your business. However, if you want to get competitive, it is an entirely different game with a different set of rules.

An efficient content calendar should contain the specific goals and strategies your team is planning to take. Here is how to create a content calendar:

1. Perform a content audit.

You can begin by running a content audit. A content audit lets you see which of your blog posts or other types of content from the previous years have performed well. You can then get an idea of what works in terms of audience engagement and brand reputation.

2. Conduct competitive research.

This step involves analyzing your competitors’ content, their topics, and the keywords they rank for. You can get significant data and insights by analyzing the competition, which you can use to come up with an effective marketing strategy.

3. Spend time brainstorming with your team.

Surrounding yourself with a team is great, especially in marketing, because you can approach issues differently. Brainstorming can help you cover topics that are outside of the box and make it easier to throw around ideas.

Sit down with your team and discuss the topics you’d like to work on according to your digital marketing strategy. It’s also a good time to reacquaint your team with your target audience and compare your most successful marketing campaigns with your least successful ones.

4. Choose the types of content you want to put out.

Content planning involves determining what type of content you intend to publish. Decide on which type of content you want to put out for your audience. While content writing is the most common choice, you still have lots of options, such as but not limited to the following:

  • Blogs
  • Case Studies
  • Opinion Pieces
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • E-Books
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

5. Utilize research tools.

If you’re not new to content writing, then you must be already familiar with some research tools to help you come up with consistently great content. Some of these tools can help you with topic and keyword research.

Aside from the ideas from your brainstorming session, research tools can give you a wider perspective, especially on things that interest your target audience. They can also help you fine-tune your topic selection strategy.

6. Decide on the publish dates.

When putting out content, you need to analyze the best time for publishing. Consider how often you can publish new content. It is important that you choose a publishing schedule that is convenient for your team.

You can use your content calendar to help identify the busiest times for your team. By planning ahead, the team can prepare for busy months. This will ensure that projects are completed and started well in advance of the publication date.

7. Establish your content production process.

When creating a content calendar, it’s important to establish your content production process. This is an outline of the steps involved in creating each type of content from the topic and keyword selection phase all the way to publishing. With this process documented on your content calendar, you and your team can get an idea of how long it takes to produce each type of content, the roles each member plays in the production, and the processes involved in getting the task done. This promotes teamwork and keeps the members focused on achieving the goals you have set together.

Tips to Put Together an Effective Content Calendar

Many factors need consideration to create an influential marketing campaign, and all of it starts with a solid content calendar. Here are some tips to put together an effective content calendar:

Set clearly defined goals.

To implement a content calendar, it is important to define your goals. It is best to stay objective when plotting down goals. It will not be beneficial for your team to put out content without a clear purpose. This will only lead to a waste of resources.

Your team should have a clear understanding of your goals before and during the content planning process. Each person responsible for a project or item on the schedule should understand what is expected of them.

Create a content library.

If you’re planning to put out tons of content this year, it helps to have a content library on your content calendar. Your content library can be helpful in locating old content that can be reused or repurposed.

Have evergreen content ready.

You can save time and money by preparing evergreen content. This type of content is always useful, so it will likely get clicks and visits long after it’s published. It isn’t bound to a specific time, so it can be written and published anytime. Having evergreen content prepared can be handy, particularly when other tasks need to be prioritized.

Utilize old content.

You don’t always have to create new content. You can reuse old blog posts and convert them into videos. Potential customers search for information on different platforms, so presenting similar ideas in different formats would be a good idea.

You should also ensure that your website’s content is current. You will look professional and trustworthy by reviewing and updating your content regularly.

Measure results by monitoring your engagement.

Proper result measurement is paramount to having a long-lasting successful marketing strategy. Check the awareness and engagement of each post. These elements will directly give you an idea of how successful your campaigns are.

Pay attention to the trends.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you have to stay on top of marketing trends. Keeping yourself updated on the digital marketing trends can help you develop a marketing strategy that will increase your brand awareness.

Advanced Digital Media Services is Here to Help You

If you want to spearhead your digital marketing campaign this year with the help of experts, look no further than Advanced Digital Media Services. We are experts in the field of online marketing.

We have a team of SEO experts and digital marketers to help you come up with an exceptional content calendar and provide you with top-notch content writing services. With our help, you’ll easily find your way to the top of the online search ladder.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any inquiries regarding our content creation services. We’ll gladly answer each one of them as soon as possible. Call us today!

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ADMS Paul Donahue

About Paul Donahue

Paul Donahue has been in the digital marketing realm since 2009. He has an intense passion for creating a dynamic digital presence for his clients through modern websites that rank well on Google. His company’s website is Colorado’s top-ranked SEO company. Author of three books published on Amazon, he is particular about staying abreast with the constantly changing SEO and digital marketing industry trends.

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