If you are new to the world of content marketing, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed when it comes to planning your blogs, eBlasts and social media posts for the week. How do you know what to write about? When should it be shared? What did we post last week?
That’s where a content calendar can make your life easier. Content calendars can take many forms depending on how you like to stay organized. Regardless of what yours looks like, the goal is simple: keep track of content that you’re planning to send out in the future. The elements of a content calendar can include topic categories, due dates, publish dates, titles, keywords, SMEs etc. You can use them to organize anything from social media to newsletters to blogs to the pages of your new website.
Here are five ways a content calendar will make your life easier:
1. Peace of Mind
You have every intention of tweeting twice a day. But let’s be honest, life gets hectic. Instead of frantically coming up with a clever tweet at 3:00pm on Friday, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Why? Thanks to your content calendar, you already scheduled a tweet for today two weeks ago.
Content calendars help you plan your posts in advance. Taking an hour each month to schedule your social media posts for the coming weeks will go a long way in letting you have peace of mind that your accounts are still active while you get to work on more urgent matters.
What are your marketing activities for the year? Maybe you have a few campaigns in the works, a new product to promote or an event you’re hosting. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to align your touch points with those activities.
For example, if you’re launching a new product in September, you can use your content calendar to plan exactly when the announcement will be pushed out on your blog, social media, printed newsletter and email blast. Without a content calendar, you run the risk of forgetting to promote the product on one of those platforms. You’ll also save time by having the content outlines and drafts finished in advance.
With social posting, it’s all about staying consistent in the frequency of your communication. It’s always a red flag if a company’s social pages have 20 posts in one month and then go radio silent for the next two. This doesn’t mean that you have to post several times a day; rather, you have to find the right balance for you. For some companies, it’s appropriate to post on Facebook five times a day, while for others it might be five times a month.
Either way, a content calendar gives you the chance to plan what your posting frequency will be and then stick to it. Instead of posting on a whim here and there, you know that your followers will definitely hear from you ten times this month.
Whether you keep a content calendar for your own organization or a client, documenting your marketing touch points helps keep track of what you did in any given year. As you plan the year ahead, your client or boss may want some data on how often newsletters were sent and what content was included in each. Rather than having to pull data from your email platform, you already have it in your content calendar.
Another benefit is that as you’re planning future posts, you can quickly reference the topics you’ve already written about to more easily follow a pattern or shake up your strategy.
5. Clear Communication
If there’s multiple people on your marketing team or if you’re an agency that does marketing for your client, content calendars are vital in keeping clear communication between all parties. With content comes deadlines, and there is typically a process involved in moving a piece from one stage to the next until it is published and shared.
Using a content calendar helps you determine a timeline for dynamic content pieces. You can even add a “status” field to communicate who is currently in charge of the content. Avoid endless emails of “When is that blog due?”, “What is being published in May’s newsletter?”, “Have we tweeted that article yet?”. The content calendar answers all of these questions before they’re asked.
Organization is key for successful content marketing. If you’re looking for a nudge in the right direction, click here to download a sample content calendar.