How to Create a Content Calendar: 4 Steps

In the world of digital marketing, consistency is key, especially when it comes to creating content. But with so many platforms and content types to juggle, staying organized may feel like an uphill battle. That’s where a content calendar comes in. A content calendar serves as a single spot to organize all your content streams and platforms; it also creates an easy schedule for posting.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting, planning out content can be difficult. Having a well-organized content calendar can streamline your efforts and boost your online presence. Here’s our guide to how to build a blog content calendar along with four tips to make it great.

Why You Need a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a roadmap to content creation success. It helps you:

  • Stay organized: You can plan your content to avoid last-minute scrambles.
  • Maintain consistency: Publishing content regularly keeps your audience engaged.
  • Align with your goals: Ensure your content supports your overall marketing objectives.
  • Diversify your content: Experiment with different types of content (blog posts, videos, infographics) to reach a wider audience.
  • Collaborate effectively: Share your calendar with your marketing team for a unified approach.

Why are content calendars necessary for digital marketing strategies? The calendar keeps your content efforts focused, organized, and aligned with your overall marketing objectives. Think of it as a roadmap with an exact itinerary. By planning, you can maintain consistent brand voice, engage your audience, and optimize content for different platforms.

What Makes a Good Content Calendar?

A good content calendar is more than just a schedule of publish dates. It should be comprehensive, flexible, and reflective of your brand’s goals and target audience. It’s clear, concise, and adaptable. 

Good content calendars are:

Comprehensive: Your calendar should be a one-stop shop for all things content. Include details like:

  • Content type: Blog post, video, infographic, social media update, case study, etc. While it might seem obvious as you note it, a month from now your memory might not be clear.
  • Topic: The specific subject of the content piece. Make sure you know exactly what you’re posting!
  • Target audience: Who is this content designed to reach? Is it for a general audience, or potential customers, or customers that are mid-funnel?
  • Keywords: What relevant search terms will help users find your content? Using keyword research tools can help you unlock keywords you might not have thought of initially.
  • Call to action (CTA): What do you want your audience to do after consuming your content? Are you collecting emails, or do you want them to RSVP for a webinar? Be sure to shake up the wording of your CTA each time.
  • Platform: Where you plan on publishing your content (website, social media platforms, email, etc).

Flexible: Your content calendar should be adaptable to accommodate:

  • Trending topics: Capitalize on current events or industry buzz with timely content. What’s all over the news today, and what do you think will be all over the news tomorrow?
  • Seasonal shifts: Plan seasonal content to stay relevant throughout the year (e.g., holiday marketing). Don’t just think about holidays- consider tax season, the summer, or even spring break!
  • Performance insights: As you track your content’s effectiveness, adjust your calendar to prioritize high-performing formats and topics.

Reflective of your brand & audience: Your content calendar should be an extension of your brand identity and target your audience’s needs.

  • Brand voice and tone: Ensure your content reflects your brand’s personality and resonates with your audience. If you haven’t thought about your brand’s personality, start by jotting down what adjectives you’d like your audience to associate with your brand. Do your best to emulate these in your content!
  • Audience interests: Focus on topics that pique your target audience’s curiosity and address their pain points. Consider what their needs are, and build out your content from there.

Clear, concise, and actionable: Keep your calendar easy to navigate and understand for everyone involved.

  • Simple formatting: Use clear headings, color-coding, or icons for visual cues.
  • Actionable notes: Include details like assigned team members, internal deadlines, or content inspiration sources.
  • Status: Track the progress of each piece (draft, in review, published).

Creating Your Blog Content Calendar

Ready to start building out your website’s content calendar? Follow these 4 steps to craft a content calendar that works for your digital marketing strategy.

1. Define your goals

Before diving into content creation, set some clear objectives for your content marketing efforts. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or generate leads? Here are some common goals:

  • Increase brand awareness: Introduce your brand to a wider audience and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Drive website traffic: Attract visitors to your website and nurture leads through valuable content.
  • Generate leads: Capture potential customer information by offering valuable content in exchange for contact details.
  • Boost sales and conversions: Convert website traffic into paying customers by providing compelling content that highlights your product or service.

Knowing your goals will help you shape the type and frequency of content you produce. For example, if brand awareness is a top priority, focus on informative blog posts and engaging social media content.

If lead generation is your main objective, create gated content. Gated content refers to content that requires contact information for download; typical examples include ebooks and white papers.

If your goal is to boost sales, consider remarketing, emails to customers with items in their carts, or revamping product or service pages.

2. Choose your platform

Where will you be publishing your content? Select a platform or tool that best suits your team’s workflow and preferences, including your website, social media channels, and email marketing.

  • Website: Your website is your content hub, where you can house in-depth blog posts, case studies, and other downloadable resources. Be sure to follow SEO best practices around site setup and speed, and be sure to have content that addresses all of your products and/or services.
  • Social media channels: Leverage platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share bite-sized content, engage with your audience, and drive traffic back to your website. Social media is especially effective at increasing brand visibility and attracting new potential customers with its broad appeal.
  • Email marketing: Build an email list and nurture leads with targeted email campaigns that feature valuable content offers and industry insights. Consider different ways you can segment your audience, and even A/B test different email subjects to maximize data.

The best platform (or combination of platforms) for your content calendar depends on your target audience and the kind of content you’re creating. Popular options for platforms include Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, Trello, Airtable, or dedicated content management systems (CMS) like HubSpot or CoSchedule. Each has their perks, drawbacks, and price points- it’s up to you to figure out what best suits your needs.

3. Develop your template

Project management can be difficult, but a well-formatted content template can help ease pain points before they have a chance to exist. That being said, when it comes to building a blog content calendar, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Customizing your template ensures it aligns with your specific needs and workflow. 

Templates should include:

  • Publication date: Schedule your content in advance for consistent publishing and to avoid last-minute scrambles.
  • Content topic: Clearly define the subject matter of each piece.
  • Keywords: Identify relevant search terms to optimize your content for search engines.
  • Target audience: Tailor your content to resonate with specific demographics and interests of your ideal audience.
  • Content type: Specify the format (blog post, infographic, video, etc.) for each piece.
  • Assigned team members: Hold individuals accountable by assigning ownership to specific content pieces.
  • Status: Track the progress of each content item (draft, in review, published).
  • Notes: Include any additional details or inspiration for the content creation process.

By customizing your template with these elements, you’ll create a clear and organized command center for your content strategy.

4. Plan your content mix

Strike a balance between different content types to keep your audience engaged. Incorporate a blend of blog posts, videos, infographics, social media updates, and curated content to keep your content strategy fresh and engaging. 

  • Blog posts: Establish yourself as an industry expert with informative and thought-provoking blog content.
  • Videos: Capture attention and explain complex topics in a visually compelling way. Videos are very effective at engaging and maintaining audience attention.
  • Infographics: Present complex data or statistics in an easily digestible and visually appealing format.
  • Social media updates: Share engaging snippets, industry news, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to keep your audience connected.
  • Curated content: Showcase valuable content from other sources that complement your content strategy.

Don’t forget to incorporate a mix of evergreen content (always relevant) and seasonal pieces (capitalizing on current trends). This ensures your content calendar is fresh and dynamic.

Best Practices for Creating Content Calendars

Once you’ve created a content calendar, it’s important to utilize it properly and maintain it. Some best practices for creating content calendars include:

  • Maintain Consistency: Stick to your posting schedule to build trust and reliability with your audience.
  • Monitor Performance: Track key metrics such as engagement, traffic, and conversions of your content strategy, and adjust based on what performs well.
  • Stay Agile: Be prepared to adapt your content calendar based on evolving trends, audience feedback, and changes in your marketing objectives.

You can also schedule recurring brainstorming sessions to keep your content pipeline full. Repurposing existing content into new formats (e.g., blog posts into infographics) is another way to create new content easily. Use visuals to break up the text and make your calendar more user-friendly. 

Once you’ve begun creating content, track your results and adjust your strategy based on what performs well. As they say: do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

Content Calendar Tools

There are many content calendar tools available to help you streamline the process and enhance teamwide collaboration. Some popular options include:

These tools and platforms can help you schedule and maintain your content calendar efficiently.

Conclusion

Consistency is a major factor in online success. A content calendar lets you deliver high-quality content to your audience regularly. This can grow trust, and brand loyalty, and ultimately, results in helping your marketing goals. Creating an effective content calendar involves defining goals, selecting appropriate platforms, developing customizable templates, and planning a mix of content. 

Stick to your plan, track your results, and be prepared to adapt as needed. With a content calendar, marketing efforts remain focused, organized, and consistent. 

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Lyndsey Maddox

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