Best Practices for Creating a Well-Designed Content Calendar - Astute Communications

When it comes to growing your online business, organization is critical. Many benefits come from a well-designed content calendar, and how you choose to build it all depends on your team’s needs and defined workflows. A content calendar keeps all of your content organized, allows for better collaboration with your team, and helps you stay on top of project deadlines. All of these factors can elevate your content creation and yield your business’s success.

What is a content calendar?

Marketers use a content calendar to organize and manage their organization’s content across different media platforms. It helps track content types, authors, publish dates, and promotional channels. 

Five Content Marketing Best Practices

Building your content calendar can prove all the more successful for your content management strategy. Here are some tips and best practices to elevate your organization’s content calendar and create steady content that helps meet your marketing goals. 

1. Choose the Right Format

There are various platforms that you can use to host your content calendar. Depending on what works for you and your team, you can choose from a traditional calendar or calendar app, a spreadsheet, or content management software.

A traditional calendar seems straight-forward but may not be the most effective if you’re planning on tracking more than just deadlines. In this case, a spreadsheet might be a better fit because it allows you to neatly organize everything into rows and columns and include more details on each piece of content, such as author, target keywords, and status updates. 

Content management software such as Asana includes calendar and project management aspects. Also, you can use a spreadsheet content calendar alongside tools such as Asana to provide more efficiency in your team’s workflow.

2. Establish Content

The first step to building your content calendar is establishing what type of content your business is putting out. These might include blogs, case studies, landing pages, white papers, and social media. However, these may vary based on your business objectives. 

Suppose you use social media to grow your online business. In that case, it’s a good idea to have a calendar dedicated strictly to that. Since social media is a different sector of your marketing strategy and is heavily involved across multiple platforms, your content calendar may become cluttered if you keep everything in one place. Creating one just for social media provides a seamless approach while your other existing content lives independently within another content calendar. 

3. Implement a Content Marketing Strategy

To yield the best results from your content calendar, you should implement a content marketing strategy. The first step is to identify your goals for each quarter or even the entire year. Ask yourself what is a content creator and why are you creating content? Are you looking to draw more traffic to your blog? Generate more leads? Be a thought leader in your industry? Identifying your goals will influence the type of content you create, where you publish it, and how often.

The next step is to plan your content around who’s involved. Whether you have a dedicated content marketing team or you’re outsourcing to an agency or other affiliate, establishing the team roles will help decipher how much content you can put out based on your team’s capacity. A designated content planner can be beneficial during this stage. 

After you’ve identified goals and established who’s involved in the content creation process, you can determine your context mix: the types of content you create. From there, you can create a consistent posting schedule which is essential to get the best results.

4. Build Your Content Calendar

Once you’ve nailed down the content creation process and developed your content marketing strategy behind it, it’s time to build your content calendar. Every business varies, so your calendar will reflect that. It’s best to only plan out 2-3 months in advance to keep everything cohesive. Not to mention, content ideas and goals may change over time. Some things to include in your content calendar may be:

-Content Type
-Title or Topic
-Due Date
-Publish Date & Time
Target Keyword
-Promotional Channels
-Notes & Resources

These are simply suggestions on what we’ve found successful. However, you’ll want to align the details of your content calendar with your business and team needs. 

5. Promote and Measure 

The final stage of building your content calendar is promoting the content that you created. As discussed earlier, it’s best to plan a consistent posting schedule to achieve the best results. You’ll also want to establish which promotional channels you’re promoting each piece of content on and when. 

There are various ways to measure your content’s success. Depending on your content marketing goals, you may be measuring for brand awareness, lead generation, or SEO. Whatever it may be, it’s important to be strategic and track these metrics consistently every quarter in order to plan for the next.

The Takeaway

Building a well-designed content calendar isn’t a one-step approach. It requires ongoing work of planning, creating, and posting steady content to meet your goals and achieve the best results. Creating a content calendar will keep you organized, allow for better team collaboration, keep you on track with deadlines to provide more efficiency, and elevate the success of your content marketing efforts.