Thinking of ideas for your content and then creating it can be difficult and time consuming. You’ve probably found yourself staring at a blank screen on more than one occasion. But, you can save a lot of time by planning ahead and creating a schedule for your upcoming content – a content calendar. This can free your mind to focus on other important things in your business.
In this content calendar, you can plan lots of different types of content, and using a variety of these can help to keep your audience interested in what you are sharing. You can create blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, videos, and much more.
To help you out, follow these 7 steps to help you create a calendar for your content marketing.
Plan in advance
Get a calendar for the upcoming year, print one off or use an online tool such as Google Calendars. Sit down with your team to fill the calendar with great content ideas. You could schedule your content for the upcoming month, 6 months, or even the whole year.
Decide your frequency
Discuss as a team how often you are going to publish content and on which days. It could be every two weeks, once a week, or more often than this. Be realistic about this; don’t plan to blog every day if you don’t have the time or resources to keep up with it. If you are creating different kinds of content, you may have these going out at different times of the week or month, and at different frequencies. Mark everything on the calendar to make this clear.
Pinpoint significant events
It’s a good idea to focus your content on the events throughout the year that you know people will be talking about. These could be specific to your industry or more general events. You could mark seasonal holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Independence Day; key events or developments in your industry; and other global events such as the Olympics, the Super bowl, or the new season of Game of Thrones. You know these topics will be talked about a lot online, so writing about them in a way that’s relevant to your business could attract a lot of attention.
Now it’s time to think of ideas to populate your content calendar. Think of a variety of topics; some could be related to the significant events you have picked out, others could be related to your products or services, case studies of your customers, answers to questions that you are frequently asked, how-to guides, tutorials, etc.
Next, you must decide where in your calendar each topic should go. Start with the time sensitive ones that revolve around a certain date or time period. Then, start to fill in the days around these events with the more generic, evergreen content. Using an online calendar tool will make this stage easier because you can easily edit it if you change your mind or miss something out.
Once your calendar is complete, you need to actually write the content and schedule it. If there is more than one person writing the content, make sure everyone knows which tasks they have been assigned and when they need completing by. Online project management tools such as Asana can be useful for organizing this. The tool you use to create your calendar may also have the ability to assign topics to people. Getting your content written in advance is a good way to stay organized and consistent, so you’re not suddenly in a panic on a Friday evening that you don’t have any content for Monday morning.
If you’re planning your content far in advance, you should review your content calendar on a regular basis to make sure the topics are still relevant and appropriate. If you plan your content for the entire year, for example, you could sit down and review your schedule at the beginning of each month.
Remember to allow yourself some flexibility so that if a big unexpected event happens or if there is a new development in your industry, you can write a blog or make a video about this and fit it into your calendar. If you’re writing about an ever-changing industry such as social media or finance, then you’ll need to keep an eye out on industry news to make sure you cover the important things.
If you’re having difficulty getting started, there are plenty of free content calendar templates available online.