If you’re a business owner looking to keep track of all your projects and campaigns for the coming year, it’s important to have a well-organized content calendar. Building an effective content calendar—one that will simplify scheduling and organizing content creation across different platforms—will ensure your business is on the right track and will never miss a deadline or great opportunity for fresh content. Ultimately, it will enable you to generate a constant flow of high-quality posts—whether they’re articles published on your company’s blog, email campaigns, or social media bites.
The best method for managing your content calendar is to use marketing calendar software. Arguably, one of the best is CoSchedule’s free Marketing Calendar, which integrates into other tools you’re likely utilizing (including CMS such as WordPress and HubSpot); email marketing platforms such as Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and MailChimp; and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To boot, you can tack on files, tasks, descriptions, and more to your calendar so that everything is in one place. The complimentary tool is perfect for small-scale marketers who need a simple way to stay organized.
You can also use a Google spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel sheet or a dedicated e-calendar. You just have to build out a template and system that decides on the publishing schedule, map out local holidays, festivals and towns that are relevant to your business, and determine how often you can blog and publish articles on a consistent basis.
If you’re using a spreadsheet, make sure to visit it on a frequent and regular basis. Create a tab for each month. Within each tab create columns for key dates, blog topic ideas, project notes, goals, potential people to interview or feature, and deadlines for writing and publishing dates. You can also leverage holidays or local events to help populate your calendar. Most importantly, you want to add a column titled “target audience.” Who are you aiming to engage? Existing and loyal customers? New customers? Tourists? Locals? This column will act as your North Star as you develop tone, voice, images, and calls-to-action for each campaign.
Similarly, StoryChief lets you easily control your content management system and social media profiles. The app—which starts at $100 per month—allows you to plan, compose, and publish your content from a single platform. It also features SEO writing and employee-sharing capabilities.
There’s also Optimizely’s Welcome calendar, which aids in campaign, asset, and content management. Features include the ability to create timelines and charts, and to apply filters to give you a more comprehensive overview of your campaign progress.
One of the most common subtypes of content calendars is a social media calendar, which details all the social media posts you plan to publish in the future. Apps such as Hootsuite—which optimizes your posts and neatly displays them in column-configured dashboards—are great for scheduling posts and campaigns in advance. Alternatively, Loomly—which provides post previews and an asset management library—is great for marketers who use Facebook and Instagram ads. And SproutSocial offers another social media tool that lets you check your posting frequency. In addition it has a centralized inbox for engagement, as well as a sub-platform for employee support. Meanwhile, SocialPilot and Sprinklr both sport monthly, weekly, and daily views, and allow you to clone or reshare previously published posts that are performing well.
Kanban boards—which resemble virtual whiteboards covered in post-its—are ideal for sorting and scheduling visual content. Use a collaborative tool such as Trello to manage your projects and ideas from anywhere.
If you are on a budget and wish to stick to a simple spreadsheet to map out your content, the key is to visit the document daily and make it part of your day-to-day operations as a business owner. Use applications such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to plan and arrange upcoming posts; and make it a goal to publish one piece of content a day, even if it’s a simple social media post. Last but not least, have fun and get creative by stylizing headers and columns to make it not only efficient, but also visually pleasing. Free tools like Canva can help unleash your inner graphic designer. Most importantly, staying organized will only entice you to stay on track, and stay true to your company’s content needs.