How to streamline your marketing with a content calendar
Ever had a content drought where nothing was published for weeks or months?
Lost sight of your strategy?
Forgotten to post on a key date?
Haven’t we all.
But did you know all of this can be avoided with a secret weapon: the content calendar.
Why content calendars are essential
For a content creation company like Mint, a content calendar is as essential as a good Wi-Fi connection.
Our team is spread across states and countries, and our job is to create content for clients without forgetting to manage our own channels.
But that doesn’t mean a content calendar is only helpful for us.
Whether you're a team of one, you outsource your content development to an agency like Mint, or you manage a large team of content creators, a content calendar can help organise your marketing efforts.
It gives you the tools to set your business apart from competitors with an organised, focused, and coherent content strategy.
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar is a visual plan of your current and upcoming content.
A content calendar can include any of your planned out content, including:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- White papers
A content calendar can streamline your content implementation on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis. It keeps you informed about:
- Upcoming content topics
- Designated authors
- Due dates
- Planned editing time
- Publishing date
- Which medium it is being created for
- How content development is progressing
- Any issues the content creator is having
5 reasons you need a content calendar
1. Improve consistency
We have said it before and we will say it again: consistency is key when it comes to content creation.
Publishing regular content shows that your company is reliable, organised and accountable.
With a content calendar, you can ensure that you have a consistent flow of content.
Any gaps in the publishing schedule will be highlighted, and managed. Surplus content can be allocated to gaps, or other content can be brought forward.
With all of the expectations put on marketers today, it's easy to forget or overlook tasks and put off content creation for a while.
But if you’re organised with a content calendar, you can ensure a smooth execution of consistent content no matter how busy you are.
2. Implement your strategy
Keeping your content focused to achieve your organisational goals is crucial. Without this, producing content is like shooting an arrow without a target.
By planning out all of your upcoming content, you can ensure it is coherent, focused, and aligned with your content strategy.
Everything you do is intentional, and each piece of content has a purpose in your strategic plan.
A content calendar helps to execute your strategy with diamond precision.
3. Don’t miss a thing
Without being organised and planning ahead, it's easy to miss crucial events and dates that are important to your strategy. Planning ahead is an essential part of business, and it shouldn’t be overlooked in your content marketing.
In content creation this involves looking ahead at upcoming dates. You can decide on the optimal time to post – you might want to save that blog post about cloud security for when you are introducing your new cloud security software, so you can have a relevant call to action.
You also can see key dates that you do not want to miss, and plan around them.
So if you know your business’s third year anniversary is coming up, you might want to organise a wrap up video about your achievements.
4. Keep the content flowing
Since we all know the power of using visuals in your marketing, it's no surprise that visuals help the creative process also. Once you have created a visual map of your upcoming content, more ideas will flow.
The visual inputs from the content calendar will stimulate your mind and inspire content ideation. You will recognise what’s missing, easily be able to see what topics have not been covered in a long time, and visualise future posts.
Waiting for inspiration is not a viable method – instead you need to be actively seeking it.
5. Improve communication and collaboration
A content calendar makes it easy for team members to touch base on how projects are going. Any questions or points to be noted can be directly gathered in a common area, that is easy to refer back to. Communication is streamlined and encouraged in the virtual team.
The team leader’s vision can be ensured, while the content creator can feel empowered and confident. Team members can also easily enter any content ideas they have into the calendar, to allow easy contribution.
Choosing the right content calendar for you
If you're already using collaboration tools like Trello or SharePoint, it's often worth setting up calendars there.
At Mint, for example, we use Trello for managing client projects, so it also makes sense to use it to manage our content calendar. We post content ideas on ‘boards’ that support task checklists, document sharing, deadline reminders and collaboration.
Here's what our internal content development board looks like...
Don't like Trello? You can also try...
- An Excel spreadsheet in a shared Dropbox folder
- Google Sheets
- Download online templates to share in Dropbox
Whichever option you choose, make sure that it is easy to access, edit and maintain. You don't want team members to abandon the calendar because it is too difficult to use.
Get expert support
Don’t have time to create content, let alone maintain a content calendar? If you’re struggling to fit in strategic content creation amongst everything else on your plate, drop us a line at email@example.com.
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