A content calendar is a living document that organizes your marketing efforts, providing your whole team with a high-level overview of the messaging, location and timing of each ad. By 'living document', we mean that content calendars are not static. Frequent changes are necessary as your content and advertising needs are continuously evolving.
Why is a Content Calendar Important?
A content calendar forces you to define your content in advance, giving all applicable team members sufficient time to review and make necessary changes. This not only decreases embarrassing and potentially costly published mistakes, it also provides you with a strategy for creating optimized messaging. And, with the bird’s eye view of your content strategy – teams can see where content is lacking, and properly plan for more content, with sufficient lead time, thereby decreasing content gaps, while also ensuring you’re consistently communicating with your audience.
And by sharing calendar access with all relevant team members – content writers, marketing teams, decision makers, etc – you can be sure that everyone is on the same page. An informed team, combined with thoughtful, well-timed content equals fewer mistakes. This ensures your marketing team and campaigns remain focused on the same goal(s) and allows your team to share approved content at the intended time.
If your messaging is well-thought out, and the the timing is strategic, you can be sure you’re sending the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.
4 Steps to Create a Content Calendar
Regardless of whether you’re just getting started advertising your business, or you’re a seasoned professional, the following 4 steps will help you develop a content calendar that benefits your brand:
- Identify your current content assets. What existing content can be repurposed for marketing efforts?
- ✓ White papers
- ✓ Blog posts/Articles
- ✓ Video
- ✓ Images
- ✓ Research
- ✓ Reviews/Testimonials
- ✓ Reports
- Identify past marketing efforts – even those that didn’t work. If you’ve been marketing your business, you should already have access to pre-existing content, the dates it was shared, as well as how it performed.
- If you use an email manager, such as MailChimp or Robly, you can export your campaign data, which makes a solid foundation for a content calendar upon which you can build.
- If you do paid ad strategies, whether through Google, Bing or Facebook, you can review your data from those platforms and define the marketing efforts as well as their dates, again providing you with a solid start to a content calendar.
- Identify all events and dates that are relevant to your audience:
- ✓ Holidays
- ✓ Trade shows
- ✓ Conventions
- ✓ Anniversaries, etc
- Identify where content will be shared:
- ✓ Social
- ✓ Press Release
- ✓ Paid
What does a Content Calendar LOOK like?
A content calendar can be a list, table, spreadsheet, or calendar (Google, Mac, etc). There is no singular way to design a content calendar. We recommend searching for some examples online to get an idea of how they may look. You can then develop a layout that suits your team as well as your content and advertising needs. Remember, the calendar needs to be shareable, editable, and easily accessible.