What is a Content Calendar and How to Create It?

Content marketing is everywhere. Every business today has a blog, a YouTube channel, and it produces lots of content on a weekly basis. However, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy which means, they just write and publish content without any planning. A study found that businesses having a written content marketing plan are 60% more effective than businesses that don’t have a plan.

This is a clear enough reason to have a content calendar as it is the basic ingredient of content marketing planning. Not having an editorial calendar means you are publishing content randomly and this creates a lot of problems in the long-run.

This article covers everything you need to know about content calendars, their importance, and how to create one.

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, blog calendar, or blog content calendar, is a formal schedule of content creation and publication. It includes details such as when new content will be published, who will create the piece, who will edit it, who will publish it, the content type, content updates, incoming and outgoing links, and so on.

You can add as many details as you like to ensure it covers everything from start to end. Here is an example of a simple content calendar with basic scheduling:

content calendar example

Here is an advanced version of an editorial calendar that is created on Trello by creating boards, detailed description of each content piece, and relevant team members are tagged:

trello screenshot

Bloggers and small businesses usually use a simple editorial calendar that is more of a scheduling calendar that lists when and where content will be published. Large businesses that have large content marketing teams use a detailed calendar with all the details and each team is assigned the work he/she is supposed to do.

For example, someone from the SEO team will share target keywords, a senior content marketer will create a list of blog titles, the content creator will get an approval of the blog outline, the designer will create relevant graphics, the completed article will be edited by the editor, and an assistant will upload and schedule the blog post on CMS, and social media team will create and schedule relevant social media posts.

That’s how a content calendar works.

Small businesses and bloggers usually have a writer and editor in the team. Most of these tasks are managed by the writer while the editor will edit, format, and publish the post.

Why Use a Content Calendar?

Whether you use a simple or a detailed editorial calendar, you must have it as it has tons of benefits. It will solve a lot of problems and will keep you and your content team on track.

Here is an overview of what makes an editorial calendar such an important element of your content marketing strategy:

  1. It helps with planning. The whole idea is to proactively plan and publish content right on time
  2. An editorial calendar keeps everything organized in a single place. You can access it any time and check progress and historical data of when and where the content was published in the past
  3. It improves communication and teamwork. It is essentially helpful when you have a large content marketing team. A blog calendar will avoid communication barriers and keep your teams aligned
  4. You can monitor and evaluate progress in real-time. If a blog post isn’t ready and scheduled when it was due, you can push your team on time. In the absence of an editorial calendar, you’ll only notice it when the deadline has been missed already
  5. Everyone in the team knows what he/she is supposed to do. The roles and tasks are clearly defined when you are using a content calendar. This avoids confusions and improves accountability and responsibility
  6. You publish new content consistently which has two major benefits. First, it keeps your audience engaged. Second, it improves SEO as web crawlers will find new content every time they visit your blog/website.

How to Create a Content Calendar for Blog

The good news is: Creating an editorial calendar isn’t a big deal. There are multiple ways to create an editorial calendar without spending a dime.

Use Calendar

The easiest way to create a content calendar is to use Google Calendar, a traditional calendar, or a calendar app. Use Google Calendar to create a new calendar and simply add details of upcoming blog posts:

google calendar screenshot

This is the simplest way to create your own editorial calendar in Google Calendar to keep track of content that you’ll publish. You can use HubSpot’s free template if you want to make it more detailed.

Google Sheets

Creating an editorial calendar in MS Excel or Google Sheets provides you with lots of flexibility and control that you’ll not find with Google Calendar. If you have multiple team members working simultaneously on content creation and publication and you need a detailed content calendar. It is recommended to use Google Sheets as it keeps you organized and supports team collaboration.

So, how to create a content calendar in Google Sheets?

Fille columns and start adding details in a new Google Sheet. You just need to make sure that everything is easy-to-read and understand. Here is an example of a simple content calendar created in Sheets:

google sheets screenshot

You can tag team members, share the sheet with your team, and have everyone comment on the calendar.

If you need a more detailed content calendar in Google Sheets, use this template:

google sheets editorial calendar template

It is a bit complicated but works great. Once you have created a month’s calendar, you can simply copy-paste it to create for a whole year.

Project Management Tool

Project management tools like Trello and Asana are amazing at creating editorial calendars but they come at a price. Tools are ideal for large teams where you have to publish content on a daily basis and there are a lot of team members from different departments involved in content development.

Here is an example of a quite detailed editorial calendar in Trello:

trello project management app

If your content publication looks something like this, go for a project management app.

Conclusion

Planning and creating a content calendar require some initial work. If you are doing it for the first time, you’ll find it a bit hard to plan everything. Choose an appropriate medium, develop your own template, and train your team.

But after a couple of months, you’ll see how smoothly you can transition from one month to the next month with minimal work. You’ll love using a content calendar at the end of the day as it is such an amazing element.

Don’t miss it, get started today.

Featured Image: Unsplash

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