Simplify Your Content Calendar Creation With This 6-Step Checklist

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

I suggest working off a monthly editorial calendar. Here's a 6-point checklist that will help rocket launch you to content stardom.

Picture this: a 23-year-old newbie marketer, getting way overwhelmed when she realizes that developing daily, off-the-cuff content is excruciatingly difficult.

That girl was me. A few years ago, I thought I was a social media superhero. I took on half a dozen business clients and promised a posting schedule that was way over my head.  

About one week in, I totally lost my sanity. What's my point here? The "I'll just post when I want" strategy doesn't work.

It's not feasible. It's totally stressful. And, at the end of the day, it results in low-quality content. Sure, an off-the-cuff post on occasion may be just the ticket, but this isn't a regular tactic you should rely on. 

Now that I've scared you away from random content creation, I'd like to introduce a better solution. I suggest you start working off a monthly editorial calendar. Here's my six-point checklist that will help rocket launch you to content stardom.

Related Article:Perfect Publishing: The Essential Guide to Creating an Editorial Calendar That Works

1. Do Some Major Theme/Topic Brainstorming

Pick three to five broad topics. Make sure they're ones that you're passionate about. If you could care less about email marketing, then don't go down that road. In general, if your eyes don't light up when talking about these topics, then stay away. Picking bland discussion points will only result in low-quality content, which does nothing to strengthen your brand or authoritative voice. In addition, it's better to have focused, niche content, as this forms more of a cult, targeted following.

For example, instead of picking "blogging" as a topic, try "blogging for stay-at-home moms." By doing this, you're narrowing down your demographic to a smaller group of highly qualified followers. 

2. Ask Yourself, "Which Subjects Are Capable of Offering Considerable Value?" 

Take a look at your topic. Is what you plan on sharing common knowledge? If so, I suggest you highly reconsider. Ask yourself, "How can I capitalize on this info? How can I level up, and share a tip that isn't currently found online?" You always want to give more, do more, and offer more than your competitors or other industry leaders. 

3. Jot Down 10 to 20 Working Headlines

You want your titles to jump off the page. Get as specific as possible. If you only can come up with basic, "how to write a blog post" type content, I would suggest you pick something a bit more granular. Instead, go more toward "how to write a 1,000-word blog post in 60 minutes or less." That headline would definitely catch my attention. 

4. Under These Titles, Start Listing Out Bullet Points With Potential Lead Magnets

You want to make sure your post has a clear outline. This helps you focus on fulfilling one single purpose. Even if you're sharing an opinion piece, you don't want to just rant. You want your post to read like a well thought out message. Then, after composing your content outline, you can come up with one to two-lead magnets for each post. Want to learn more about how to develop eye-catching, irresistible lead magnets? Check out the advice over at Digital Marketer regarding lead magnet ideas.

Related Article:Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think 

5. Do Some Final Sprucing

It's now time to go back through and make any final touches. Jazz up your headlines so they scream "read more." Pick some key "in-post" catch phrases. If you're including any sort of digital download in the post, make sure it's totally up to par with the value that your brand usually offers. Now it's time to schedule out composition. The more predictable and routine your schedule, the better. 

6. Make a Syndication Plan 

Do you plan on firing your new blog post out via social media? Why not give text messaging a try? Make sure your method(s) of communication are convenient to the reader. For example, if they don't usually respond to email, then avoid sending a monthly newsletter. If they aren't necessarily smartphone savvy, don't rely on text messaging or app development.

Remember, the where, when, and how of content management is just as important as the what. You can have amazing content, but if it's not correctly syndicated and distributed, you'll totally miss out. 

If you're not scheduling out your content, you'll quickly fall behind. No one can keep up with an off the cuff strategy. It just doesn't work. At first, it might take you hours to plan and schedule your content. But eventually, it will get easier. 

P.S. Not super into blogging, but still need help with social media content creation? Check out this Social Media Content Calendar Template from Hubspot. Whenever possible, take advantage of any templates, resources, or worksheets when navigating your way through content creation.

You can have the best product or service, but if your content doesn't support this theme, you won't experience continual upward growth. Eventually, you'll get outshined by the competition. 

Related Article: Bright Ideas: 5 Ways To Keep Your Content Fresh This Year

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