What is a Content Marketing Calendar and How To Build One

A content marketing calendar is a shareable resource that content marketing teams use to visualize how content is distributed throughout the year. It helps content marketers plan and execute their content marketing strategy in an effective, efficient and timely manner.

Imagine this. The day is the 7th of July. You own a local shop that specializes in chocolates and flower seeds. As a part of your marketing strategy, you post several social media messages on ‘how to grow daffodils in spring’. You even advertise for a big discount on daffodil bulbs. You link these social media posts to well-crafted blogs on how to grow daffodils in spring.

After all your hard work, you realize that today is ‘International Chocolate Day’! So instead of taking advantage of the day and selling your large ware of chocolates, you have wasted time advertising for spring flowers when spring has long gone. Your pretty images of daffodil flowers on social media are drowned in a sea of images of a variety of chocolates. Your competitor across the street makes profitable chocolate sales, while you lose out dramatically because you don’t have a proper content marketing strategy in place.

No matter how big or small your business, a content marketing calendar can increase your chances of better business. A content marketing calendar:

  • Plans content around key events.
  • Creates a clear vision of how content must be distributed across the year.
  • Aligns team members around a common strategy and workflow.
  • Tracks content creation tasks and metrics that are required to streamline content creation.
  • Provides space to park content creation ideas for the future.
  • Facilitates in the better repurposing of existing content.
  • Manages the content contribution of internal and external writers, reviewers, and contributors.

How to create a simple but effective content marketing calendar in 4 steps

1. Start with content you’ve got

To avoid complicating the process of creating a content marketing calendar, start with existing content. Take stock of your content and sort out content that can be repurposed. For example:

  • Slide decks can be repurposed as videos and blog posts.
  • Information in old blog posts can be updated and marketed as new blogs.
  • Research articles can be repurposed into infographics and new blog posts.
  • Whitepapers and reports can be made into a series of blog posts and social media posts.

2. Create a layout of the calendar

A simple excel spreadsheet will work. If you have a large team you will share this with, a Google Sheet works great for sharing and collaboration. Both Excel and Google Sheets are easy to work with and can be edited easily and shared with multiple people.

The calendar layout can vary depending on how detailed you wish it to be. Some people like a standard calendar look where all the content can be viewed at once, while others prefer a linear view.

3. Add your content marketing strategy to the calendar.

  1. Start by filling in the big projects – eBooks, whitepapers, reports, and make sure to keep an eye out for big events or key dates around which these can be published.
  2. Complement the big projects by release content that revolve around them – SlideShare, videos, articles, blog posts, and social media posts. The release dates of complementary content should be prior and post the release date of the project.
  3. Add in the regularly-scheduled content – blog posts, social media posts, and emails.

Great content ideas for the future can be added in a separate repository.

4. Follow the content marketing calendar to create and publish content

Schedule regular team meetings to revisit your content marketing strategy and calendar. Keep track of what content works – on what platform and on what days of the week. Make tweaks in the calendar if necessary.

Track the success of your calendar by reviewing web analytics, social analytics, and revenue data. If you are not breaking ground with the existing plan, try making tweaks in the content marketing calendar.

Content is king – whether its blogs, articles or short social media posts. With a working content marketing calendar in place, organizations have a foreseeable content creation strategy that can be worked on methodically for best results.

Feature image credits: Pixabay

Author bio:

Nisha Prakash is a blogger specializing in social media marketing and content management. She is an avid runner and a bibliophile.

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