by Michelle Evans
Updated October 5, 2021
Do you need a content marketing calendar for your overall content marketing strategy? The short answer to this question is “absolutely!” Content marketing calendars are an excellent way to document, monitor, and execute your content marketing strategy. Additionally, they can help you to build your small business blog. These calendars enable you to get organized, work towards established deadlines, and let’s face it, lay the groundwork for consistency.
We are now more than halfway through the year, and if you are without a content planning calendar –don’t worry. It’s never too late to start filling in the blanks and tracking your content plans. You can create a content calendar to schedule everything you will need for the next three, six, or twelve months. You will notice that I did not stick with the 12-month rule. I have a rationale for not dictating that you adhere to a 12-month strategy. It has everything to do with the importance of not scaring novice creators or beginners away from the table.
Getting Started with Content Calendars
Creating a content calendar from scratch can be daunting. This statement is particularly true if you do not have any background in blogging, marketing, or social media management. It is okay to start small and allow yourself to enjoy the small successes before embarking on taking a bigger bite from the elephant that lives in the details of a content calendar.
One of your initial goals is to become productive. Once you map out your initial content marketing calendar, you can next begin to look at hiring a content writer or employing an Article Writing Services team like SpeaksMedia.com to do the heavy lifting of creating SEO content for your website or blog. Content calendars allow you to be more deliberate about growing your content. They can help with attracting followers or building your email subscriber list.
Advantages of Using a Content Calendar
There are multiple benefits to using a content calendar. Aside from organization, hitting key milestones, or content planning, the Content Marketing Institute, suggests that your content calendar can:
- Allow for a single source for the status of in-progress content on different channels
- Provide you with a method to track your content plans and usage
- Enable you to monitor related or repurposed content
Content calendars are not a one-size-fits-all model. Sure, there are thousands of templates on the market for you to select and develop your schedule. However, your final product should be centered around your individualized content marketing strategy.
What Should I Put on My Content Calendar?
Your content marketing calendar should allow you to focus on one or more of the following items:
- Social Media Post Planning (i.e., Instagram Posts, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook Posts)
- Blog Topics (weekly posts)
- Video Post Planning
- Promotional Events
Throughout the content calendar planning process, you want to ask yourself the “who, what, when, where, and why” component of your actions.
You can incorporate each of these items into your calendar, or you can focus on just a few things if you are a team of one trying to do it all yourself. Something is always better than nothing. By now, you know that the adage of “if you build it, they will come” is not true. Your content calendar will go a long way to steer a few folks in your direction, even if your work is at a smaller scale than that of a competitor.
Your content calendar can be handy –even if you are planning to hire writers to craft your blogs or social media assistants to post your social media content, you can still use a content calendar to help you formulate a plan.
Being Purposeful with Your Content Marketing Calendar
As you initiate work on the development of your content marketing calendar –mainly if you are a team of one, you will want to challenge yourself to answer a few questions about your motivation. As always, you want your actions to be purposeful.
- Which social media networks (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) will you use, and why? Remember that you don’t have to manage multiple networks. You can focus on two of these.
- Blog or website content. What are you planning to write about and when will you post it? Are there opportunities for storytelling?
- Will you use any email campaigns?
- Podcast activity
- How will you measure the results of your content marketing calendar’s effectiveness? (i.e., follows, sales, website traffic, leads)
If you have the time, you want to ensure this calendar is full. If a full calendar is not realistic for a team of one, you want to ensure your content calendar is achievable.
Where Can I Get a Free Content Marketing Calendar Template?
As previously stated, there are thousands of free content marketing calendars online, but a few of my favorites are available from credible sources like coschedule.com, HubSpot, and the Content Marketing Institute. You have the option to use any of these free templates, or you can create your tool from scratch using Microsoft applications like Excel, Word, or PowerPoint.
In summary, your options are endless as it relates to using a content calendar. Your approach does not have to be cookie-cutter. It can fit your situation, but the key is consistency. Use this tool to organize your content goals and to monitor or track those things that were successful or those items that may not have been so spectacular in your journey.
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