Creating a Content Calendar to Plan Your Marketing Machine

Content creation can be a journey for both writer, and reader. A content calendar is a helpful roadmap for a writer to follow. It helps to ensure that your blogs, videos, and social media efforts continuously deliver information that is aligned with your brand.

But, if you’re new to the world of online content creation, a calendar system like this may be a little foreign. So, in this blog post, we’re going to break it down.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is a guide that you create and follow. On the surface, it tells you what topics to write about or post on social media about, and when to do it.

This type of system looks different for everyone. Some people use web services like CoSchedule; others create spreadsheets or Google Docs to keep track of their ideas for blog posts, social media updates, videos, or podcasts. Some people use a traditional pen and paper calendar. It’s all about preferences.

That’s part of the beauty of a content calendar. You can set it up to work with your own preferences, and make it work for you.

6 Steps to Create a Content Calendar

  1. Examine your audience
    To create an effective content calendar and strategy for communicating with the public, you must know your audience. Not only do you need a clear picture of your ideal reader, but you need to know what will attract them. Once you know who your readers are, it’s time to move in to step.
  2. Learn what they like and how they like to consume it
    Audiences typically like to take things in different forms. Some people like blog posts, others like video. Some like email newsletters, others prefer social media posts on Facebook or Instagram. Figure out where your audience hangs out, because that will impact your strategy and your content calendar.
  3. Look at the content you already have, to see what you can use in different ways
    Examine your blog posts, your Instagram updates, and your email newsletters. However you put content out into the world, look at all of it. Are there tidbits you can pull out of blog posts as starting points for Facebook Live broadcasts or turn into video? Repurposing your content works because everyone has a different preference for consuming content. It’s also a great way to fill a content calendar, if the content you already have is on message for your company.
  4. Examine your industry
    Are there events occurring in your industry, or topics of great debate? These are opportunities to put more on your content calendar, to inform your audience, and reach others looking for related content.
  5. Schedule and publish
    The most important part of a content calendar system is the content, but the second most important is the action. All the planning in the world doesn’t help if you don’t start scheduling and publishing content. Plug your content into specific slots in the calendar and set a schedule. Sometimes it helps build consistency to use themes as a way to organize.  But, scheduling isn’t the end. Push publish!
  6. Analyze your results and switch up your calendar as necessary
    After you’ve been publishing content  regularly and following your calendar, it’s time to take another look. Examine your blog post stats, your social media engagement and views. You should get an idea of what people are reading, and what content they’re not really into. Go back to your calendar and start switching up your topics!
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Benefits to Using a Content Calendar

A strong content calendar system helps in several ways:

  • it helps you create content that incorporates industry events and current topics of interest, helping to ensure that you’re relevant to your audience
  • it shows you where you might need to bolster your content
  • it helps you to get content created in advance so that you’re not scrambling to publish something
  • it helps to ensure that the content you’re putting out in the world is high quality and represents your brand well. After all, your content is a reflection of your business, right?

To have success in business, you need a plan, and for those who use a blog or social media as part of your marketing, a content calendar is the kind of plan that can propel you toward your company’s goals.