All content marketers experience that sinking feeling of having an approaching deadline but having nothing to fill in the gap. A content calendar should enable your team to produce great stories like clockwork. With a calendar, you won't have to fear missing a deadline again; keep reading to learn more about content calendars and why you need them.
Why Your Team Needs a Content Calendar
A content calendar lets you plan and organize future stories. They come in several forms and can focus on different things. You can have one calendar for social media content, another one for videos, and a third for blog posts.
When you create a content calendar, you ensure that your message is intact. You will write posts that stick with your content goals and lead prospects successfully down a funnel. It will help drive specific actions like downloading content or filling out "Contact Us" forms.
A well-maintained content calendar lets marketers view the campaigns they have at the moment and see the best plan for executing a way forward.
What Can You Put in a Content Calendar?
Content calendars are where you store dates, topics, and ideas for your blog. This first step is great for organization, but an excellent calendar will have more than that. Maximize your calendar and include the following information:
- The point person for the campaign
- What sequence to follow when executing topics
- Writers, editors, publishers, and schedulers
- Where you will post the story and its links
The items above will help you create a functional calendar that keeps everyone stay focused on your goals. Keep in mind that you don't have to limit yourself to these bullet points. How much information you include in a calendar is up to you—after all, your purpose in having one is so you can turn your ideas into campaigns and keep you from getting overwhelmed.
Are There Programs or Plugins for Creating a Calendar?
You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for building a template for your content calendars. There are excellent free templates online—a simple search will yield thousands of suitable examples. However, it's just as easy to make a calendar. If you customize a content calendar, it might even be better for your company in the long run because it is tailored to your needs.
You can also explore Google Calendars. It is a great place for tracking and analyzing marketing campaigns, snd if your marketing relies heavily on daily posts, using a calendar to organize your content makes sense.
There is some element of trial and error in creating a content calendar. Keep in mind that most people don't get it right the first time. Many marketers try a system, discover it doesn't work for them, and try another one, cycling through these steps until they land on a method that works. Right now, the important thing is choosing an easy-to-use template and tweaking it, so it reflects the goals and tasks of your team.
How Businesses Benefit from Content Calendars
Making your content engaging is a must online. Business owners need to measure their digital marketing campaigns' success, especially if they're just starting. Brand awareness, customer engagement, and search engine optimization can only come about when you're intentional about the content you release; besides helping organize your marketing team, here are other benefits of using a content calendar.
- Organizes Your Strategy: A content calendar lets you organize your strategy. It is not just a planning tool—it helps you visualize how your tasks are linked over time and across platforms. Calendars like these show overlaps in campaigns or gaps in topics covered.
- Reminds You of Crucial Dates: Content calendars also show you key events for your business, like holidays, launches, and the like. You can create themed content depending on local, national, and international events when you have a content calendar.
- Saves Your Business Time: You save time and help your team line up content ahead of schedule when you have a calendar. A calendar also organizes what assets you must execute and figure out when it goes live. You don't have to scramble for content week after week when you have things pre-schedule, making you more productive.
- Helps You Understand Customers: Because you've freed up more time, it lets you focus on strategizing and figuring out what customers want. Do you see patterns in how they view your content? When are they more likely to read your posts? Knowing these things will help marketers fine-tune their approach. It helps them determine the best times to post, what types of content people like accessing, and what isn't working for the audience.
- Ensures Effective Planning: Avoid decision fatigue and prevent your team from having to make plenty of last-minute decisions wh4en you have a content calendar. Calendars let you prepare, research, create, and execute ahead of time so that you won't miss deadlines. Even the deadlines you miss will likely stay within budget when you have a calendar.
- Makes Your Team Accountable: With a content calendar, other departments in your company can view what the marketing team has lined up and plan accordingly. Executives can check if the content supports the company's overall strategy, while sales team members can plan their communication with prospects based on the content they have coming out.
- Aligns Your Activities: The content calendar also ensures that all marketing efforts work towards the same thing. As such, it's essential to keep it in a place where it is accessible to the whole team. Having it online, in Google Sheets, is one way to do that. It allows multiple people to access in real-time, which makes brainstorming and remote meetings easy.
Content calendars are the best reference for a company's overall marketing strategy. It is a great organizational tool for both short- and long-term goals for improving a company's online presence. It also helps marketing teams align their goals internally (among team members) and externally (with the company).
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