How to Explain a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a written account of the schedule for publishing content. It describes which post will go live next and explains its destination and timing along with other requirements.
A content calendar covers different aspects of your content writing and publishing, such as promotional activity plans, upcoming posts, updates, partnerships, revision of existing posts, and much more. Content calendars are used by bloggers, social media content creators, newspapers, and magazines.
A content calendar can be in different formats based on the owner's choice. For example, it can be represented as a spreadsheet, printed calendar, software, or an online application. Therefore, you can choose whichever format that suits and aligns with your content goals and workflow.
Furthermore, a content calendar helps keep your publishing timely and well planned to bring desirable results. That's why successful online publishers always prefer to create a well-planned and result-oriented content calendar that contains all the important information about content scheduling.
Why Are Content Calendars Important?
Content calendars are very important for businesses and bloggers alike. They can help online businesses stay organized and regular with their content creation. Furthermore, it is also an integral part of any marketing plan involving social media.
The importance of content calendars can be summarized in three main points, which are as follows:
- Firstly, it helps ensure that everything is happening on schedule. It also assists in avoiding any unplanned publishing and keeps the entire team on the same page concerning the content.
- Secondly, it ensures a healthy collaboration with the team and keeps them on the right track.
- Thirdly, it gives you a complete overview of your content strategy, including the past, present, and upcoming posts. Interestingly, it also helps evaluate the performance of content based on previous and present findings.
What Should a Content Calendar Include?
A content calendar ideally should include every relevant detail about your publishing and content requirements. However, to simplify the process, we are dividing the elements into two categories.
The first one is the basic elements that all content calendars must include, and the second is a specialized one and is optional.
There are some key elements that every content calendar must include. Without these basic elements, your calendar will be incomplete.
It is the most important element, and it includes the content you will be publishing in the future. For example, it may be a blog post, a social media post, a podcast, and so on. Therefore, you must schedule all your editorials in advance to remain consistent and organized.
However, your editorial content can be a plan for a week, month, or even a full year. So, it is up to you to decide about the time period of your calendar. For example, we usually schedule our blog writing tasks 3 to 6 months in advance.
Editorial or Blog Basics
It is very important to add the title, meta-description, content details, purpose, goal, etc., to your calendar. Furthermore, don’t forget to add the requirements such as keywords and word count as well. These aspects are essential when creating a content calendar that assigns tasks for article writing.
Date, Time, and Deadline of Publication
It is very important to include the date and time of your publication to avoid any confusion. In addition, it provides the team providing the writing services a time frame to complete their assigned writing tasks.
The platform is the final destination of your content, meaning where it will be published. Your calendar must mention the platform of each editorial as different platforms have different requirements.
It further helps track the posts via platforms and the acquisition of their engagement data.
Status of Completion
You should include the details about the publication and have the status of your successful completion and the fulfillment of objectives. It will help you in evaluating how successful your content strategy was.
Promotional activities explain the promotion process of your content. For example, how and when will you send this content to your subscribers or customers? These activities are placed parallel to your editorial column that includes all the promotional items.
Future ideas are the list of topics that come to your mind while brainstorming. These ideas are noted down to avoid losing them. These topics are later organized and added to the content calendar for future use.
More Specialized Items to Include in Your Calendar
If you want to specialize your content calendar further, then you need to include some more items, which are as follows:
To keep your content fresh and updated, you must include a section for future updates. Updating all your previous blog posts in a scheduled manner helps you rank and sustain your competitive edge.
Site-Wide Content Audits
Content needs to be audited in a scheduled manner to avoid losing ranking because older content can become irrelevant and detrimental to a website's ranking.
Schedule Off-Site Work
It is important to plan your off-site work in your calendar. Off-site work can be a podcast interview, guest post, referrals, live talk, off-site promo, etc. That's why you must also include such kind of off-site work in your calendar.
Should You Use a Content Calendar?
Generally, businesses and content professionals use a content calendar to organize and post according to a schedule. However, content calendars are mostly developed for blog posting, content management systems, social media, and similar social platforms.
Therefore, if you work in the following roles, then you should use a content calendar:
- Social media content manager
- Assistant editor
- Content manager
- Social media accounts manager
- Or offering content creation services
Additionally, authors, performance evaluators also use content calendars. But they use them just for reference to meet the deadlines and track the performance.
When Should You Use a Content Calendar?
The answer is when you want to grow, need professionalism, sustain a competitive edge, and want to remain in touch with your audience. It is because a content calendar helps businesses effectively schedule and organize their content and publishing to foster consistency.
Where Are Content Calendars Made or Located?
Generally, they are used online with the help of a tool or application. For example, mobile applications are used to sync calendars and to track changes. Although, it mostly depends on your budget, company resources, or nature of publishing.
So, the location of your calendar varies depending on your use and business need. In the following section, you’ll be acquainted with several tools that can be used to create and manage content calendars.
Tools For Creating a Content Calendar
Information technology not only helps in digitizing your business or marketing but also provides the best business tools. Similarly, various software or application tools are used to develop, organize, collaborate, and share a content calendar.
So, investing in these tools can help improve your business performance. So, here are some content calendar tools for you to try.
● Google Sheets
Google Sheets is one of the most popular tools for creating a content schedule for your business. It's a free tool and gives you a lot of options to develop your calendar.
● Google Calendar
Google calendar is also an excellent tool for small-medium businesses and one-person operations. So explore it and if it suits you, use it.
Notion is an application that provides the ability to create notes, databases, kanban boards, content calendars, and reminders.
● Microsoft Excel
A tool that is available with Microsoft office suite that is specialized for work related to spreadsheets and data. Similar to Google Sheets in its interface. But it is much more powerful in terms of the tools and functionality it offers.
● Editorial Calendar
It is the best tool for WordPress website posting. It is a plugin that allows users just a drop and drag process. This tool helps you in posting and scheduling for your WordPress website.
It is a specific tool used for an editorial calendar. It provides options usable by one user to a large business team. So, if you are looking to invest in scheduling your content, then this is a tool that you must consider.
Loomly is composed of interactive guides that help automate social media posts, create blog posts, schedule other editorials, and much more.
Benefits of Using a Content Calendar
There are several benefits of using this strategic tool for your personal or business needs. Here are some most common benefits;
- It helps one meet the set deadlines and helps streamline publishing to keep your audience engaged through consistent updates
- Allows businesses to track content and synergize the follow-up content
- It helps give a big picture view that helps in providing new content ideas and inspiration based on the previous content
- Calendars assist in saving time and energy, especially the daily question of what should be posted. A month or six-month calendar can help optimize your content creation
- When you plan content for a calendar. You think about the most relevant and best topic for the next slot. So, this whole process helps in promoting a habit of strategic thinking
- It gives you a lot of time to schedule content for the next calendar. For example, a six-month calendar gives you six months to plan for the next one
- A scheduled calendar also ensures the quality of your content along with the quality of services. Because after planning, the calendars are checked, evaluated, and proofread to ensure their quality
- It also assists you in avoiding any redundant publishing and content planning. Because everything is written in the calendar that guides you about the next, new, or unique content to be published
- It boosts the marketing of businesses or companies by keeping the audience informed about the latest and upcoming happenings
- Regular posting is also a key element of SEO
How to Create a Content Calendar?
Creating a content calendar is not an easy job. Creating an effective or result-oriented calendar takes a lot of time, research, and energy. However, the success of a content calendar greatly relies on its format. So, it would help if you considered it.
Here are some steps that will guide you through creating an effective calendar for your business.
- Write down all the necessary elements you want to add to your content calendar
- Based on the nature of your elements, search for the best tool
- You need to choose a location or a source to create your calendar; for example, it can be Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or any of the tools mentioned above
- Now create your format based on the elements or factors you have decided in your mind
- Brainstorm for the content you want to include in your editorial
- Fill out all the element slots, such as highlighting their publishing time, date, and platform
- After publishing, update the status of your calendar
- Track Performance and plan your next calendar based on this performance
What Should be Included in SEO-Friendly Calendar?
It is very important to consider an SEO-friendly calendar for your editorial part, especially for blog posting. Therefore, the following key things must be included in the editorial part of your content calendar to make it SEO-friendly.
- Main Keyword
- Secondary Keywords
- The volume of your keywords
- SEO or keyword difficulty
- Meta Description
- Title Tag
- SERP Report