A content strategy without an editorial calendar is a strategy without a backbone. Organize and execute your content with these tips.
As a marketer, you understand the importance of producing and distributing valuable content to your audience. Maintaining a constant and consistent schedule is essential to keeping users engaged and increasing your brand’s online exposure.
The challenge most marketers face is conveying a clear strategy to their team and holding members accountable for timely development. By leveraging an effective content calendar, your brand can produce timely and actionable content on a regular schedule to optimize engagement and drive brand visibility.
Here are the tools you need to create a stellar content calendar, and how to use them effectively for maximum impact.
Why Use a Content Calendar
Content calendars help bring your content strategy to life by organizing your focus and delivery across website content, blogs, social media, webinars, and a variety of digital outlets. By developing a strong content calendar your brand can craft a message that flows across all channels and resonates with unique audience segments to support an overall goal of driving leads.
Keeping your content development organized with a calendar can help your team balance and time its delivery across all channels to engage audiences. Avoid gaps in production and last minute scrambles for content creation by mapping out your content schedule. This helps hold individual team members accountable with specific due dates and direction. It can also help deliver more complete ideas by encouraging research and contribution across different departments and thought leaders. By leveraging a content calendar your team can plan themes that create a flow across channels and pushes users through your sales funnel.
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6 Ways a Calendar Can Improve Content Creation
- Visually process deadlines and production for all content channels
- Increase ease of execution
- Take a bird’s eye view of content to fill any gaps
- Encourage cross-channel collaboration and brainstorming
- Plan campaigns focused around important dates and product launches
- Avoid lulls in content creation with organized deadlines and accountability
Determine Your Goals
Start creating your content calendar by identifying what your team is trying to achieve and developing a strategy to execute those goals. Consider your goals across individual channels and what content, delivery, and tone is most effective in each.
Determine optimal times to post and experiment with different tones across various networks. Ideally your content calendar should outline your content themes for at least 3 months, but be flexible enough to accommodate pop-up or trending pieces. Map out the top interests and pain points for your audience and develop meaningful topics that offer value and produce action.
Build Your Calendar
When it comes time to create your calendar after identifying your goals, we recommend you leverage Google Docs or a shared Excel doc via the cloud to allow team members to access and update the calendar.
Create columns that cover content title, media type, platform, key discussion points, author, publish date, and any other information relevant to your industry of publication channels. Color coordinate your documents to keep contributors organized, and easily identify responsibilities, topics, or publication channels.
Create additional tabs to track important dates, the progress of content along the funnel, and brainstorm new content ideas.
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Hold Your Team Accountable
Identify who will be responsible for maintaining the calendar as well as who will be responsible for individual pieces of content. Set deadlines and weekly meetings to ensure the calendar is being updated and fully utilized.
Measure your engagement as a whole and relative to individual channels to identify the most effective content mediums, focus points, and delivery times. Set a monthly meeting to brainstorm new content and keep your calendar updated to ensure there are no lulls in content development.
A well-planned content strategy is worthless without the structure and organization to ensure your team can execute. Craft your plan to assist your goals and provide a clear direction for your team. By setting sharp direction and rules, your team will be held accountable as individuals and as a group to accomplish its objectives.