Planning content is hard. Especially when you’re first getting started creating content. Whether that be blogging, video, podcasting, etc – you can easily get stuck in a cycle of cranking out content without a plan.
Content inspiration can be a blessing and a curse. When you’re inspired and in creation mode, it’s hard to take a 10 foot step back and look at the direction of where you’re taking your content.
You have to eventually ask yourself – What’s your actual strategy?
This is where a content calendar comes in. Content calendars allow you to actually plan out and manage your content in alignment with your overall content strategy.
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is your blueprint for your entire content strategy and marketing strategy. It contains how everything pans out and is especially useful for reaching a target audience.
Usually, content calendars consist of content themes throughout the year and what content is planned within those themes. Each should be attached to important dates, a posting cadence, and channels where the content is published and shared.
Your content calendar will also include the prioritization of tasks and scheduling deadlines.
Why do You Need One?
A content calendar is an absolute must for any successful content creation platform. In order to successfully create content that keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more and grow your platform, then you need a plan.
Your content calendar is that plan, in a one-stop shop version. It also provides you a chance to hone your strategy and set intention towards it – or even create your strategy if it’s been fuzzy until now.
Content Calendar vs. Editorial Calendar
A content calendar and an editorial calendar are two terms that mean very similar things. They are so similar that people often use them interchangeably.
However, there are some key differences between the two that are important to know.
The formal difference between the two is a content calendar is a planner and schedule of your content activity including posting cadence, what content is posted on what days, and where it’s shared. Whereas an editorial calendar is a higher-level view looking at themes and timing of certain topics rather than exactly what is going to be done each day.
Related: What is Evergreen Content?
Creating Your Content Calendar
You can create your content calendar using Google Sheets at a basic level or use any of the available free and paid tools.
Some free and paid tools available are:
- Google Calendar: Simple to use.
- Trello: Easy for beginners.
- Asana: Great for integrating project management with multiple team members.
- Coschedule: Great for WordPress integration and blogging.
Some of the above tools contain social media scheduling and others don’t but have the ability to integrate with using 3rd party tools.
Focus on which one will be the easiest for you to use, pick one, and run with it. Then take the time to familiarize yourself with the tool, use their available tutorials and templates, and start planning and strategizing your content.
Most of these tools have quick intros when you first sign up that are easily digestible tutorials for how to use their interface. Take the couple of minutes it takes to consume those or download a template to get started.
If you want to give Trello a try, you can grab this content calendar Trello template from Hit Publish to copy and use for your own content.
Planning Your Content Calendar
After you download a suitable template to start building out your calendar and strategy, think about your marketing goals you want to work toward throughout the year. What are the big milestones you want to hit and what are the exact steps that you’ll take to get there?
Dig deep into content research and look at trends, popular keywords and topics while planning for seasonal and evergreen content.
Engage other members on your team if you have virtual assistant or freelancers that work with you to create content, start collaborating in the tool to get a feel for it collectively.
Then when you are ready, you can start scheduling and assigning tasks out for upcoming dates.
Lastly, stay flexible and be ready to regularly move around your calendar and plans.
Quick tip: Repurposing older content in your calendar throughout the year is also a great option to fill in gaps when you are taking time off. You can reschedule an old blog post or repost an old viral TikTok and call it a quick win. Remember to give yourself quick wins throughout the year because chances are there are members of your audience that haven’t seen that specific piece of content before.
Conclusion: Your Successful Content Strategy
Your content strategy is not quality vs. quantity but a rather more controlled version of each. A content calendar molds consistency which is crucial to growing a blog and building trust. It also introduces you to setting boundaries.
Just because you have a calendar now, you don’t have to keep it full. As you plan out your year, leave gaps for rest and how you will strategize your content and calendar around that rest.
And most of all, use what works for you. All of this is a guide to find the best way that you can properly envision and execute your content and mission.