The ultimate guide to creating an effective content calendar

Someone once mentioned that it does not matter the amount of workload lying on your desk; what matters is the approach you use to ensure that all the work is done on time and satisfactorily. 

The method used in completing this work is very similar to when it comes to content creation. It all revolves around planning. Thanks to technology, we can now plan effectively with content calendars, also known as editorial calendars.

Editorial calendars are tools human beings, businesses, or organizations use to plan, organize, and manage any publication and distribution of content. 

We will, therefore, focus on illustrating how one can create an effective editorial calendar to aid in streamlining content creation processes, help in audience engagement, and, most importantly, achieve business goals.

Importance of a content calendar

It is good we initially discuss the advantages of using a content calendar so that users can tell whether they would like to have one or do away with it. Below are some of the reasons why everyone should possess a content calendar:

  1. Consistency – Without prior planning, consistency is something many people struggle with. Unless you plan and schedule your content in advance, you will still work with inconsistencies that may lead to fewer returns.
  2. Organization – Well-organized content makes it easier to keep track of ideas, topics, and the expected publishing dates from the same point. Hence, there are sporadic cases of missed deadlines and other minor issues. 
  3. Collaboration – If a team decides to collaborate and work with one content calendar, they make the work more accessible since it is easy to know who handles what and at what time.
  4. Strategic planning – With a content calendar, it is easier to create a roadmap that will support the organization’s marketing objectives and help ensure that content is always relevant to the audience.

Guide on how to create a content calendar.

Let us immediately dive into the step-by-step guide to creating a calendar that meets the writer’s needs.

  1. Create a template

A template should be simple and should contain certain elements, which include:

  • A specific date that you intend the content to be published
  • Strict deadlines on when a writer should complete a project
  • Who is responsible for coming up with the content
  • The current status of the content is as per the time the template is being prepared. The situation can be in progress, ready for review, or published.
  • The title of the content piece
  • The format used in the content 
  • Any links, be it of websites, images, or Google docs
  1. Plan your content

Planning is crucial, in this stage, you can determine who does what; you can choose the topics to cover and issues that will resonate with the target audience.

Thorough research helps understand the audience, what they are most interested in, their pain points, and their expectations

By research, we mean that a writer can go the extra mile of having a one-on-one conversation with his customers, analyzing the data he collects, and at the same time studying his competitors, learning what they are doing and what they may be missing so that he can chip in and fill that gap.

The specific topics of the content that a writer will focus on will depend highly on the research done. Generation of Ideas is possible with tools like Google search or SEMrush’s Topic Research tool. These tools help in giving inspiration to even topics that relate to the intended issues.

  1. Assign tasks

The hard part comes when creating the content. Are you capable? are your writers up to task? With a small team, you can use the spreadsheet-based calendar where you are only required to tag the specific user to his particular responsibility.

Otherwise, if the team is enormous, the use of spreadsheets may be inaccurate and may be tedious. Therefore, tools like Trello or Asana come in handy. The aim is to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track the progress of every piece.

  1. Publish and analyze

Once everything is planned and assigned, we only need to publish. Most content publishing platforms have a unique feature that allows the content creator to schedule their content ahead of time. 

Once the content is published, ensure the performance is analyzed and feedback is collected

Content calendar tools

Some of the few recommended tools to use during content creation include:

  1. Google Sheets – they are free and can be customized to reach the specific needs of a content creator
  2. Hootsuite Planner – here, a content creator can draft, schedule, and even publish a post across several platforms all in one place
  3. Trello 
  4. Notion 
  5. Asana

A client should choose the appropriate tool based on what their preferences are and also the budget.

In conclusion, for any marketing strategy to be successful, there has to be an effective content calendar that has been put in place to enable the teams working together to come up with content strategically and efficiently. Once a writer finishes publishing, always conduct a performance analysis and make adjustments.