We rely on calendars to help simplify our busy lives. From keeping appointments to organising family activities to remembering important events and occasions, using a calendar makes it easier to arrange and track complex information.
For content marketers, building a master calendar can be an effective way to bridge the gap between strategy and execution by providing a framework for organising and distributing content.
Five essentials for a content calendar that covers all the bases
Before you can even begin to think about creating a great content calendar, you need to find the right tool for the job. There are plenty of online content calendar tools that take much of the guesswork out of the process.
- Be consistent
In order to nurture an engaged audience, you need to commit to what experts call a publishing cadence. That means you’re posting on a consistent, reliable basis, whether it’s once a day or three times per week. Choose a schedule that fits your brand, resources and personnel – and incorporate that cadence into your calendar.
- Think long-term
Aim to build out your content at least a few months in advance. This will help reduce the stress of trying to come up with quality content on the fly and can help you maintain focus on your big picture goals. Keep track of industry events, holidays, pop culture and other occasions on the horizon so you can incorporate those into your planning.
- Hold meetings regularly
It’s important to be a bit flexible in the midst of all this pre-planning, so regular editorial meetings with your creative team can be extremely beneficial in staying agile. Meetings don’t have to be face-to-face: video conferencing, doc sharing and even group texts on a consistent basis can all be effective in tweaking your content calendar for better results.
- Get analytical
Measuring metrics is critical in informing your content calendar. Good data – including post performance, audience engagement, trending topics and conversions – will show you the kind of content that’s resonating with your target audience. You can then use this information to help focus your content planning going forward.
- Seek balance
Planning content weeks or months ahead of time gives a clear picture of the mix of things you’re posting. Having a master calendar as a visual reference will show you if you’re stacking similar content too close together, like consecutive video tutorials, promotions, product reviews or ‘top five’ lists.
A master content calendar will not only simplify your marketing strategy significantly, but it can help you achieve consistency, efficiency and balance for more successful campaigns.