8 tips to create an effective content calendar

Content marketing has many moving parts.

From what to write to where to post, how to post and what else can be brought back (and when), you then have to ensure that everything you’re doing is engaging and relevant.

Organization is critical.

A content calendar can help you plan and maintain your content marketing strategy across platforms. Specifically, a content calendar is a written schedule of when and where you plan to publish your upcoming content. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be, with the option to include:

  • Upcoming content pieces
  • Status updates
  • Planned promotions
  • Partnerships
  • Updates to your existing content

About 40 percent of marketers say content marketing is a very important part of their overall marketing strategy. And effective content marketing comes down to great planning.

The following are eight tips to create an effective content calendar that works for your business and your content marketing goals.

Determine your goals

Your goals typically revolve around what you hope to achieve with your content marketing in general.

Are you hoping to generate new leads? Grow your social media following? Increase your website traffic?

Your goals impact not only who you’re targeting but also where and how often you should publish content, which then will guide what needs you have for your content calendar.

Check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing (which includes more than just goal-setting).

Create your content calendar template

A simple search will yield many content calendar templates that you can use. Whether you’re looking to adopt a new software application, download a pre-made template or create your own, remember that again, this can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

Truly, a basic spreadsheet would do the trick.

Just make sure that it’s easy to update and share with other team members.

Some information that would be helpful to include:

  • Topic of the content
  • Type of content
  • Date and time for publishing
  • Channels (social media and otherwise) where the content will be published and/or shared
  • Point person for the content
  • Link to the published content
  • Confirmation that the content has, in fact, published according to the schedule
  • Any relevant notes

Look ahead to the calendar year

To start the planning process, it’s helpful to lay out the year ahead and make note of all the important events that your content can reflect and/or promote.

This can include:

  • Holidays
  • Product releases
  • Anniversaries
  • Seminars
  • Seasonal promotions

Doing so will not ensure that you can seize these opportunities with your content marketing.

Choose your publishing frequency

The frequency of your new content as well as the sharing of existing content is typically a balance between what’s ideal for your audience and what you have the resources (including time) to do.

It’s important to not overcommit yourself or your team. Success is more tied to quality than quantity. If you’re stretching yourself so thin just to publish something new, it’s not going to be as engaging or relevant as it could be otherwise.

On the flip side, overstuffing your content calendar just because you can also is not recommended.

Visualizing your frequency on a content calendar can help you find the best balance for your brand and your team. It can help you anticipate traditionally busier times and how your content can expand and contract accordingly.

Of course, keep in mind that your content calendar does not have to be set in stone. The beauty of planning your content further out in advance is that you can easily adjust well before you even begin working on impacted campaigns or content pieces.

Approach your content calendar with that flexibility in mind. You want to hold yourself accountable, of course, but you also want to adapt to whatever might pop up.

As far as sharing your content on social media platforms, consider these seven opportunities for social media automation that can save you time.

Consider your content workflow

If you’re a team of one, this is simple. However, as soon as you have more than just you involved in the content planning, you must consider:

  • Who needs to approve content and/or posts
  • How approval is communicated
  • The process for brainstorming new content
  • How to assign roles and what that should look like

Streamlining a workflow that works for your team will only benefit the overall effectiveness of your content calendar.

Evergreen content is just as important as new content

When developing a content calendar, the tendency is to populate it with content ideas that are new.

But don’t shortchange your existing, evergreen content, which is the content that (while it might seem old to you) is continually relevant and fresh for users.

Whether you’re updating, bringing back “as is” or repurposing your evergreen content entirely, this is a treasure trove of content opportunities that you can’t ignore. Be sure to make a point to sprinkle this existing content throughout your content calendar.

See our 13 tips to repurpose your content like a marketing rockstar.

Consistently update and review your content calendar

A content calendar, no matter how much information is on it, is only as good as how active you are using it.

Commit to checking in on your calendar regularly. Schedule at least monthly brainstorming planning sessions where you flush out the next month’s content calendar in greater detail and sketch out ideas for months further in advance that can be revisited as needed.

Struggling with marketing writer’s block? See our seven tips to beat it.

Ideally, you’ll want the flow of your brand’s content to stay uninterrupted no matter what the frequency is.

Monitor the performance of your content

The upside of content marketing is that everything is measurable. Take advantage.

Be sure to track how your content is performing across platforms.

What’s working, and what’s not?

Take those insights and apply them to future planning in your content calendar. It is through those performance insights that you can continually improve your content strategy.

While you’re embracing a new content calendar, consider leveling up your digital marketing strategy. DailyStory specializes in automation, email marketing, audience segmentation and more. Level up your process, and schedule a free demo with us today.