How to Use a Content Calendar to Streamline Your Content Strategy

If you’ve recently started a blog or other content-based business, you already know how important it is to have a strong content strategy. But it can be hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done, especially when things start getting busy. That’s where a content calendar comes in.

A content calendar is essentially an organised schedule of the content that you plan to write and publish in the upcoming weeks and months. It gives you an overall view of your content strategy so that you can ensure consistency and quality.

If you are looking to get the most out of your content creation, then we have put together all you need to know about content calendars, including how to make them, what they should include, and the best tools to help you out.

What is a Content Calendar?

In its most basic form, a content calendar is an organised plan of when you will create and publish your content. It can be used for multiple pieces of content across various channels and platforms. This could include social media posts, blog posts, video content, and more.

Content calendars are a valuable tool, and provide a central hub for all your content creation activities, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience. They also allow you to plan ahead, schedule posts in advance, and keep track of what content is performing best.

Key Fact

91% of marketing pros surveyed by Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2021 - this is a testament to the importance of having a streamlined content strategy, and a content calendar is an essential part of this.

 

Why Should You Use a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is essential for any business looking to grow its online presence. Here are some of the key benefits of using one:

Streamlining and Organising Your Workflow

A content calendar allows you to keep track of when tasks need to be completed, which can help streamline your workflow and make sure that everything is done in the right order. Using this method can be beneficial for time management, task focus, and ensuring proper attention is given to each stage of the content creation process.

Ensuring Your Content Is Relevant and Up-To-Date

Creating a content calendar can improve the timeliness and relevance of your content. Utilising tools like Google Trends, HubSpot Blog Topic Generator, and Feedly can assist in helping you with staying informed on current events and topics, allowing for the creation of timely content that connects with your audience.

Saving Time and Money

Creating a content calendar helps to ensure that you are creating the right content for the right people at the right time, which will help you to save both time and money. By taking the time to plan ahead, you avoid having to waste resources on irrelevant or outdated content and also helps you to focus your content efforts on the topics and platforms that will bring the most value.

Boost Audience Engagement

By planning your content in advance, you can ensure that your content is always fresh and relevant, which will help to boost audience engagement. Scheduling content to be published at key moments throughout the year can also help to remind users of your brand and keep them coming back for more.

Case Study

ABC Candles is an online retail store that sells a wide range of products. They had been struggling to increase their website traffic and were looking for ways to improve their content strategy. After a discussion as to the best courses of action, the team decided to create a content calendar to help them plan, organise and schedule their content more effectively.

They initiated the process by organising their content in a spreadsheet, which included the subjects they intended to address, the content format (e.g. blog posts, videos, etc.), and the deadlines for each piece. By planning ahead, they ensured that their content remained up-to-date and relevant.

The team also established a system to monitor analytics in order to evaluate the performance of their content. They were then able to use this to adapt their strategy quickly and ensure maximum effectiveness for each piece of content.

ABC Candles experienced a 35% increase in website traffic in just a few months, which was largely attributed to the implementation of its content calendar system. The analytics indicated that the content was connecting better with readers, resulting in improved engagement and conversions. The team at ABC Candles was ecstatic, and they continue to use their content calendar to this day to help them ensure that their content remains successful and engaging.

 

How To Create A Content Calendar

Developing a content calendar is a simple process that does not necessitate the use of intricate software or tools. To effectively plan your content creation and publication, it is recommended to use a spreadsheet or document to list out the content and corresponding dates.

Decide On A Format

One of the initial tasks is to select a format for your content calendar. Various document formats, including Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs, provide the flexibility to add or remove rows and columns as necessary.

Choose Your Columns

After selecting a format, the next step is to determine the information to incorporate into the content calendar. When creating content, it may be helpful to include columns for the title, due date, format, and relevant links or notes, depending on the type of content being produced and its requirements or specifications.

Set Deadlines

The next step is to set deadlines for each piece of content. This will help you to make sure that tasks are completed in a timely manner and also allows you to plan ahead and schedule content for future dates.

Fill in the Blanks

Finally, you can begin to fill in the blanks and create a timeline for when each piece of content should be completed. This is especially important if you are publishing content on social media, as this will help make sure that your posts go out at the right times and don’t get lost in the noise.

Key Fact

Just 33% of all businesses have a content strategy in place; to ensure that you are in the majority, make sure you create a content calendar - this will help you to plan ahead, stay organised and measure success.

 

Ready-Made Content Calendars

If you are looking for a ready-made content calendar option, there are a number of tools and templates you can use to quickly get started. Some popular options include:

Trello

Trello is a handy organisational tool that can also double as a content calendar, helping you to keep track of tasks and deadlines. You can create ‘cards’ for each piece of content, set due dates and assign tasks to team members.

ContentCal

ContentCal is a content calendar tool that helps you to plan, schedule and measure your content performance across multiple channels. It allows you to collaborate with team members, visualise your content pipeline, and automate social media posts with ease.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is another popular option for creating content calendars. It’s easy to use, and you can quickly set up columns and rows for all the information you need to include.

CoSchedule Marketing Suite

Another popular option is CoSchedule’s Marketing Suite. This platform helps you to plan, schedule and analyse your content across multiple channels from one central dashboard.

Almanac

Almanac is another great option to help you organise and manage your content. It makes it easy to quickly create and share plans, manage deadlines and track performance in one central location.

Final Thoughts

By taking the time to create a content calendar, you can save yourself both time and money by ensuring that your content is always relevant, timely and effective. Whether you choose to use a ready-made tool or opt for a spreadsheet, having a plan in place will help you to keep your content strategy on track and consistently engaging for your audience.

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