Most persons will not want to start their day without a to-do list. This is because it gives direction to their day, helps them stay organized, and helps them stay more productive. The same applies to having a content calendar. You are better having one than without it.
What is a Content Calendar?
CoSchedule defines a content calendar as anything used to plan, schedule, and organize content and other marketing projects. For more details visit www.coschedule.com/blog/annual-content-calendar-template/.
Wikipedia defines a content calendar as an editorial calendar, or publishing schedule, it is used by bloggers, publishers, businesses, and groups to control the publication of content across different media, for example, newspapers, magazines, blogs, email newsletters, and social media outlets. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editorial_calendar.
Content calendars are also known as blog calendars, publishing schedules, editorial schedules, social media calendars, etc.
Types of Content Calendar
There are three common types of Content Calendars and they are as follows:
- Printed Calendars: It is in this form that old content calendars were written.
- Spreadsheets: These types of calendars are done on Microsoft Excel and Google sheets. It is convenient and cost-effective for these tools to build content calendars.
- Apps:As the name suggests, they are software solutions that assist you in designing a content calendar that will be convenient and easy to use. Examples of such apps are Loomly, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, Buffer, etc.
Benefits of a Content Calendar
The benefits of a content calendar are as follows:
Helps you stay organized: The fact that it is a schedule helps you stay organized, as you know what content to write and to post per time. Without a content calendar, it will be near impossible to manage a content writing team.
Saves time: One of the benefits of staying organized is that it saves the time that would otherwise have been spent trying to figure out what next to do. Having a content calendar generally helps you save time since you know what to do per time.
Post Consistently: Having a content calendar helps you post consistently with ease. It will be a herculean task trying to post, meaningfully, and consistently, without a content calendar. The content calendar helps you keep your post unique, interesting, and engaging.
Reduces the Chances of mistakes: Although mistakes are sometimes inevitable, having a content calendar in place helps you reduce the chances of it occurring. This is because you would have more time to write and review your posts before posting. In addition, other members of your team may have the chance to review special content before it is published.
Makes it easier to hit deadlines:Hitting deadlines becomes easier when you have ample notice. Having a content calendar ensures that you have ample notice for each content to be published. This makes the job easier to manage for every member of the content team.
Write high-quality content: One of the factors that influence the quality of content is the time spent writing it. Truth is, more often than not, writing top-quality content takes time. The ample notice given by the content calendar ensures that you have sufficient time to invest in producing top-quality content for your organization.
How to Build the Best Content Calendar for 2021
To build the best 2021 content calendar that will meet your content needs, follow these steps:
Identify Content Channels
Identify the channels that you wish to publish your content. This is a critical step in building your best 2021 content calendar, as the channel determines the kind of content that can be published on it. Some content may be appropriate on a blog, but may not be the same on social media. The following are channels from which to select your channels:
- Blogs / Website: Most organizations have either a blog or website and in some cases both. You are to select whether or not you wish to publish some or all of your content on this/these platforms.
- Social media: There are several social media platforms available at the moment. You are to select which of them you wish to publish your content. It is advised to publish your content on platforms that your organizations have the highest following.
- Print magazines, brochures, or newsletters: This was more popular many years ago, however it is still used for publishing content. Your team is to decide if they wish to explore this platform or other viable platforms.
- Video: Video marketing is rapidly becoming a thing in today’s world of content marketing. You can also use a content calendar to plan your videos.
- Podcasts: According to Podcastinsights.com, a Podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.For more details, visit www.podcastinsights.com/what-is-a-podcast/.
Podcasts are also another viable means of publishing content. If selected by your team as a channel for your content efforts, your content calendar will give direction to each audio series.
Select Your Content Themes
Bloggingwizard.com describes the content theme as a broad topic a series of sequential blog posts you publish fall under.When designing Content Themes, you choose a topic to focus on for a set period(maybe a month). During that specified period, all the content you publish should focus on the theme/topic you chose. Visit https://bloggingwizard.com/content-themes/, for more details.
Since you are designing a content calendar for a full year, it makes sense to select content themes you wish to discuss throughout the year.You should consider assigning content themes to each month of the year. These content themes may be modeled after your organizational marketing goals or activities for the month, or the needs of the organization (whatever that may be).
These content themes should be modeled to adjust to the whole seasons, holidays, and Promos your organization will offer that year.
Another consideration here should be the various seasons, holidays, or Promotions your organization will offer that year. For instance, publishing content on your organization’s Promotion will help make it go viral or more popular, than it may have been without it.
Write Content Ideas
After identifying content themes, you have to select ideas or topics that you wish to discuss under each content theme. CoSchedule suggests setting aside time monthly to brainstorm ideas for each month’s content theme.
You can choose to select your content ideas monthly, quarterly, etc. The point here is to do what works best in your situation and will guarantee better results.
After coming up with your content ideas for each month, inspect them and determine if they are good enough to be published. The ideas that are below par should be discarded, while those that are good should be kept.
Scheduling Your Posts
No matter how excellent your content is, if it is published at the wrong time, it will definitely flop. Therefore, it is important to schedule your posts. Scheduling of posts simply refers to fixing the time and date on which you intend to publish your content. CoSchedule has offered some suggestions on how to schedule your posts. Please find the links below:
- Scheduling blog posts – www.coschedule.com/blog/best-time-to-publish-a-blog-post/.
- Scheduling emails – www.coschedule.com/blog/email-marketing-sending-frequency/.
Enter Details into your Calendar
After selecting your content ideas and the dates you wish to publish them, the next step is to enter these details into your content calendar. When writing them, you may identify a couple of challenges with the ideas or publishing date/time. Feel free to make all necessary adjustments to ensure your content has the best possible chance of succeeding.
Use a Color Coding Style
Wikipedia defines a Color Code as the system of displaying information by making use of different colors. For instance, if you implement a color-coding system on your content calendar, all Tweets may be highlighted with blue, Instagram Posts may be highlighted with red, Blogs can be highlighted with green, etc. This helps you easily identify the post that is expected in a day without really reading them.
CoSchedule, suggests what a successful color coding style should possess:
- Everyone in the team should agree on the color codes to be used so that they can easily identify what each color refers to.
- It should be consistent. If you agree to use red for your Instagram posts, stick with red throughout the content calendar. Using different colors will be confusing, thereby defeating the purpose of the color-coding style.
- Your color coding style has to be simple. Use easy to identify colors to avoid team members confusing colors.
Managing Your Content Calendar
The question to ask here is who is responsible for the content calendar? If nobody is tasked with managing the content calendar, many things will go wrong. The following are the duties of the person chosen to manage the content calendar:
- To determine who will have access to the calendar and how often it will be updated.
- To remind team members when their project deadline is close, and ensure that the timing and planning of content initiatives make sense.
- To call the attention of team members to any challenge with the content calendar.
In addition to having a team member manage your content calendar, your team should also meet consistently to review your content calendar, analyze how well the team has performed, and identify necessary changes that need to be made.
This is article has tried to discuss easy steps to preparing the Best 2021 Content Calendar. All you need do is follow the steps discussed and you will arrive at an amazing content calendar that will meet the needs of your organization. I wish you the best as you begin your content marketing plans for 2021.