Content Calendar

9 Simple Steps for Using Content Calendar to Manage Your Marketing

May 26, 2023CategoriesTags

Think about how you would manage your life without Outlook or Google Calendar. 

Thank you, but no. 

Imagine managing your content strategy and team without a content calendar if you work in digital marketing. Yikes! 

Using a content calendar, you can better organize the procedures for planning, creating, and promoting content. You can manage your workload, set priorities, allocate resources, and fulfill deadlines in the most effective way using a content calendar. 

A content calendar is more than simply a tool for organizing; it will also keep you on track with your content strategy so you can fill your marketing funnel with pertinent, compelling content and accomplish your business objectives.

Good news: creating a content calendar doesn't require any specialized software. However, if you manage a content team and want a platform with more advanced features, this can be something you want to think about in the future. Later, more on that. 

Follow these instructions to create a content calendar that works for you in the interim. 

1. Define Your Target Market And Objectives

This is where all digital marketing initiatives begin. But first, you need to know who will read the material and what each piece of content will be used for before you can create a content calendar. 

This is done for a good cause. Since you are spending time and money on content creation, you want to ensure that it is appropriate for the target audience and market at the right moment. 

For instance, if you're launching a blog, think about the readers you want to draw in and what you want them to do after reading your postings. Create awareness or encourage visitors to visit a specific website. A particular blog may have SEO as its goal to help you rise in the search engine results from pages. 

A summary of your marketing personas and the KPIs will guide you while you develop your content schedule. You don't need to create a 10-page thesis here. 

2. Pick A Few Channels 

The next step is to choose the media outlets you want to include in your schedule. Have you got a YouTube channel, a social media profile, or a blog? You may create podcasts or e-books to generate leads. Create a list of all the available channels; you'll need it while planning your content calendar's posting schedule. 

3. Generate Content Concept Lists 

To enter them into the calendar as a starting point, it is a good idea to have a lot of content ideas to choose from. Create a list of content themes and forms during a brainstorming session with your team or yourself if you're going it alone. Include the objective, the target audience, and any additional information that comes to mind. There will be time for comprehensive briefs for each piece of material, so there is no need to create them now. Just start coming up with ideas so you can begin developing a plan of action and a schedule. 

4. Make A Calendar 

Because the structure must consider any business objectives and requirements, content calendars are unique. You can use a template, start from scratch, buy project management software, or construct a calendar. 

Your content calendar may contain the following information types:   

  • Title/Name of the article 
  • Format/Content Type 
  • Content family or cluster 
  • Keywords 
  • Author/byline 
  • appointed editor 
  • channel of distribution (s) 
  • Date of publication 
  • First draft due   
  • Second draft due 
  • Name of the content piece's file or a link to a Word or Google document KPIs 
  • Other demands (i.e., illustrations, images, graphic design) 

It is entirely up to you whether or not you use them all. If the writer and editor are the same, you may not need to provide due dates for various drafts. Choose and combine to create a calendar that suits your needs. 

You can make a specific calendar in a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets Colored fields could make them easier to use. Because of the visual effect, some content producers prefer a weekly or monthly calendar format. People favor project management tools with flexible drag-and-drop user interfaces and collaboration features, like Trello or CoSchedule. For our content calendar, for instance, Monday.com is a favorite at Outbrain. One scrollable board features a different "group" for every week. 

5. Complete The Next Two To Three Months' Calendar

Your content calendar should provide a current view of your content strategy in operation. Use the content ideas and KPIs you planned in step 3 to fill the calendar for the upcoming weeks or months. As you accomplish this, adhere to your plan and objectives. However, feel free to get it perfect the first time. Later, you can always rearrange the items. 

Enter each piece of content with the corresponding information, including the author, editor, owner, timeline, publishing date, promotion channels, KPIs, and other pertinent facts following, the structure of your calendar. Be as thorough as you can, but in the beginning, just entering the content title and publishing date is sufficient. 

6. Establish Due Dates 

Establish content production schedules based on the date each content piece will be published. With project management software that offers this feature, this will be simpler to accomplish. However, you can still design a simple workflow. In a Word or spreadsheet document, use a variety of highlight colors to show each piece's development. For instance, a part of unassigned content might be labeled yellow, orange for assigned, green for in-progress, red for past due, and blue for finished. 

7. Be adaptable And Flexible 

A plan for creating digital content is always dynamic. There will always be unforeseen adjustments, holdups, shifts in priorities, or cancellations. Your content schedule should be designed to be quick and easy to modify as necessary. Although a specialist calendar or project management program simplifies this process, it can also be accomplished using a simple spreadsheet format. Allowing your coworkers to post comments, notes, or pertinent links is preferable. Naturally, make sure to add links to content or the names of the files that contain it so that each calendar entry points to the appropriate item. When you need to update or make calendar changes, it is much simpler to keep track of your activities. 

8. Real-Time Calendar Updates 

Your content strategy and plan will constantly alter depending on 1001 different variables. We cannot emphasize this enough, so ensure that your content schedule always represents the most recent information available. 

Keep your content calendar open all day on your computer so you can make updates right immediately. There could be minor adjustments, such as changing the publication date or the byline copy. Big changes also occur, such as the CEO's last-minute desire to post a blog or "delete" a piece of material. Every detail should be precise in real time, even when no drama is present. A blog entry was published? Declare it as "Published." Have you decided to postpone publication until tomorrow? Make a note of it right away.  The only way to maintain your content schedule, team harmony, and sanity is to do this. 

9. Discuss With Your Group 

Consider your content calendar a "hub" where all parties involved in content planning, creation, distribution, and strategy can view the current state of affairs. Whether you are working with a small or large team, you must have a shared calendar and grant access to qualified individuals to update and make changes to it. Consider adopting calendar software or a project management solution if your team is big and your workflows are intricate. 

In addition, having too many team members update a content calendar might lead to confusion since too many cooks will sabotage the meal. Be careful when granting editor access; only people in charge of the calendar should be able to add, remove, or alter details. 

Pros and Cons of Using a Content Calendar Tool 

You can decide to spend extra money on a more sophisticated tool or project management software if a simple spreadsheet won't enough for your content calendar. You can evaluate whether investing in software or an online content planning tool is worthwhile by considering the following advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages 

More Professional And Aesthetically Pleasing 

The fact that a content calendar tool is purpose-built makes it more smooth and more aesthetically pleasing, which is good (but not necessary). It may not seem like a massive concern for some people, but others function better with an external calendar made by a company rather than one they created themselves. 

More Tools And Functionalities 

The features that make your calendar as user-friendly and effective as possible are the main benefits of content calendar software. For instance, these applications frequently have a drag-and-drop feature that makes updating the calendar relatively simple and quick. Additionally, they often include adjustable workflow capability, allowing you to create a calendar that precisely matches your needs. 

Excellent For Big Teams 

A project management solution is likely required if you lead a sizable content team or work cross-functionally with other stakeholders. You may control user access and permissions, delegate work to particular people or groups, and establish cross-links to pertinent projects, operations, and teams. 

Disadvantages 

Cost  

A calendar software product will cost money, in contrast to a spreadsheet. There is generally no need to invest in a tiny business or lone content marketer; if a free version is offered, that will do. There could be no other choice but to pay the price for larger teams or more complicated workflows. 

Learn How To Use 

The level of sophistication of the application or program will determine if team members need onboarding or training to use it. The content management process may be slowed down as a result. 

Possibly Unimportant Features 

These products include numerous capabilities and features you might not require, detracting from the user experience. You can find yourself paying for a service that you use sparingly. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, utilizing a content calendar is essential for managing your marketing strategy effectively. A content calendar helps organize your content planning, creation, and promotion, ensuring that your marketing efforts align with your business objectives. By following the 9 simple steps outlined in this guide, you can create a content calendar tailored to your needs and preferences. Whether you choose to use a simple spreadsheet or invest in more advanced content calendar tools, the key is to stay organized, adapt to changes, and maintain clear communication within your team. By doing so, you can streamline your content marketing process, increase efficiency, and achieve your marketing goals.

Start creating your schedule immediately and plan for a successful content future. Allow KLB Solutions LLC's professionals to assist you with your content calendar. Call us at once!

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