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How to Create a Content Calendar [Step By Step Guide]

How to Create a Content Calendar [Step By Step Guide]

Creating a content calendar is one of the best ways to simplify content creation. Isn’t having a schedule super convenient? It makes it easy to know what to do and when. 

So why not have a schedule for your content, i.e., a content calendar? Content calendars make your life easier by neatly displaying which piece of content to publish, when, and where. 

Sure, that sounds simple enough, but there’s more depth to it. In this complete guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about content calendars, including content calendar examples. We’ll even provide content calendar templates. 

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar, or content creation calendar, is a tool businesses use to plan and publish content. 

Content calendars help by providing a structured way to manage your content across platforms. For example, you could use one for your blog, social media, and email newsletters. 

The most common calendars are content calendar template Google Sheets. Most content calendars contain details on your content’s topic, format, publication date, and distribution channel. 

Storing that information in a single easily-accessible location makes consistently creating high-quality content easier, and helps you strategize. 

Why Create a Content Calendar?

A content calendar’s biggest benefit is its streamlining content planning and execution. It gives you a structured framework for scheduling content creation and distribution. 

Content calendars also prevent gaps or overlaps in content production. 

That way, you get a steady flow of consistently high-quality content. You need that consistency to build your brand and establish trust with your audience. 

You can even strategically align your content calendar with business goals. For example, you can schedule content around key events like product launches or new promotional campaigns. Doing so boosts your objectives further. 

Aligning your content with business goals even improves your content’s effectiveness and relevance. So the effects are reciprocal. 

That being said, the biggest benefit of creating a content calendar is that your content gets published on time. A content calendar improves collaboration by increasing transparency in the content creation process. 

The increased visibility lets team members coordinate and provide feedback more effectively. It also provides members a central platform to communicate on. As a result, team members experience better accountability. 

So content calendar marketing is a worthwhile addition to your company. 

How to create a content calendar

Thankfully, content calendar creation is simple and easy. Use these 4 steps to create a content calendar. 

Step 1: Establish Goals and Target Audience

Create Smart (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. 

Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your site, and learn more about your audience? Maybe a combination of these goals? 

Next, figure out who you’re creating content for. Who are your ideal customers? Build a buyer persona by aggregating the ideal qualities of the customers you want. 

Let’s say you’re a custom phone case manufacturer. Your buyer persona will be Millenial and Gen Z teenagers and young adults with disposable incomes who own smartphones and like to express themselves via their phone cases. 

Step 2: Plan Content Themes and Types

Align your content with your business goals. You want to have content tailored to each of the three stages of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, and action. 

You need it to create an effective marketing content calendar.

For instance, a consumer who’s interested in learning why their laptop won’t turn on won’t be interested in reviews of different laptops. They’ll want content that helps troubleshoot their problems. 

Similarly, you’ll also want to provide different types of content. Different members of your audience will want different types of content. 

So it’s best to employ a mix of content types, like blogs, ebooks, social media posts, and whitepapers. 

Step 3: Schedule and Assign Tasks

You can assign tasks in your content calendar either by spreadsheets or tagging members by their usernames. 

This approach works for small businesses with simple operations, but larger companies should use project management tools. 

The benefit of using project management tools is they simplify task management for a large team. However you do it, every team member should know what to do and when. 

You’ll also want to set long deadlines so team members have ample time to create content. Content creation is a time-consuming process that should undergo multiple reviews and edits. 

Step 4: Manage Content Distribution and Promotion

You have to schedule and promote your content effectively to achieve your marketing goals. So plan your content’s distribution across marketing channels accordingly. 

One thing to keep in mind is that your publishing schedule should be consistent. Regularly post content to keep your audience engaged and maintain your reliability.

The best way to decide on a content schedule is with a data-driven approach. Analyze data from your previous campaigns to identify the best publishing schedule for you.  

You can even employ content calendar tools like Trello and Google Calendar to simplify scheduling. 

And that’s all it takes to create a content calendar.

Key Elements of a Content Calendar and Example

Creating content calendars vary from industry to industry. But they all come with these three core features

  1. Editorial

The Editorial are the pieces of content you’ll publish. A content calendar’s main goal is to schedule your editorials in advance to make management easier. 

So a good content calendar shows you what you’ll publish in the future, regardless of the time frame. 

Some content calendar layouts let you plan your calendar a year in advance. Other layouts only show you what you’ll have next week.

There isn’t necessarily a right length of time to show. Your content calendar should just show you the right time for your needs.

  1. Platform

Your platform is the application your content calendar is hosted on. For example, Google Sheets is your platform if that’s where you’ve hosted your calendar. 

Choosing the right platform is important because you’ll want it to be visible to all team members. 

Different content calendar app layouts can work on different platforms. With platforms like Google Sheets, you can use virtually any layout. But other applications have stricter features. 

  1. Promotional

The promotional items of your content calendar are the details of your Editorial. 

These include which content you’ll post where, when, and how. For instance, you might schedule a blog post for your company’s blog to be posted Monday morning and then shared across your socials. 

You can have your promotional activities in a separate calendar from your editorials. It’s a good idea to do so because it makes management easier. 

Content Calendar Tools

You can deploy various tools to improve your workflow on your content calendar. These are our top picks:

  1. Notion

An all-in-one workspace that’s great for small teams. It’s an affordable and customizable app that provides in-built analytics and can be integrated with other marketing apps.

The Notion content calendar is a good choice if you’re a small business.

  1. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is the most popular option for most people and small companies. It’s a sleek, easy-to-use free software that you can customize to your liking.

It’s also easy to collaborate on and share, and you can gain analytics with additional plugins. 

Google Sheets takes time to set up, but it’s the best choice if you want a free content calendar.

  1. Loomly

Loomly is a beginning-to-end content calendar app. You can schedule, create, and publish content on the platform. Many companies use it as an Instagram content calendar app. 

It also comes with advanced analytics and great collaborative features. But it’s premium software, so it’s better for larger companies.

  1. Buffer

Buffer is a social media management tool that comes with a content calendar. So you can use it as an IG content calendar, too. 

Buffer is relatively affordable for their size, and they have excellent collaboration, analytics, and scheduling features. 

But you can only justify their subscription if you have a large team with complex needs. 

  1. BaseCamp

Basecamp is a project management and communications tool, but you can use it as a Trello content calendar. 

BaseCamp is very feature-rich. They offer scheduling, analytics, and integration with other software, including your marketing applications. 

Their pricing varies depending on your needs, so it can be affordable. BaseCamp is also designed to be usable by both small and large businesses.

Include a Variety of Content Types

You have to post a variety of content types. That includes blogs, social media posts, infographics, and videos.

 Posting diverse content types is the best way to attract the most members of your target audience. That’s because content preferences vary. 

Each content type also has its own ideal frequency of posting. For example, posting social media content regularly is best to keep audiences engaged. But you don’t need to post a new one-hour-long podcast daily. 

Ideally, you want a diverse content mix with variable posting frequencies to build the best marketing strategy.

Build your content calendar now!

We’ve seen the importance of content calendars, and how they simplify your entire content creation and publishing process. Content calendars also optimize your content strategy by storing all your data in one place. That makes them an overall great addition to your workflow. 

When it comes to creating better content by assessing what audiences are interested in and what they engage with, and getting inspiration for your own content strategy, Mandala AI is the perfect gateway platform for you. 

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