How to Build a Content Calendar

Every good content marketing strategy starts with a well-planned content calendar. Here's how to build a content calendar from scratch.

Organization is key to any efficient business process — especially marketing. You want to ensure you’re producing quality content on a regular basis to engage consumers and drive sales. But this isn’t as easy as drafting a blog post or capturing a video whenever inspiration strikes. If you want results that count, you’ll have to maintain consistency in your branding efforts.

That’s why it’s crucial to build a content calendar, which organizes your marketing content across all channels — blog, social media, email newsletter, etc. — on a daily, weekly, monthly and/or quarterly basis. This calendar can keep your ideas and deadlines in check, and will save you and your team time and energy. 

Here are eight tips to help you build a content calendar for your marketing strategy.

1. Design your calendar

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide the format of your calendar. This can be an actual calendar template, a simple spreadsheet, a PDF template, or even an online project management tool. From there, decide how you want to map out your content (e.g. weeks or months in advance). You can start short-term and expand as you come up with ideas.

2. Organize content types

Ask yourself who your ideal audience is and what they might want to learn from you. You can do this by creating personas of potential customers, considering any questions or concerns they might have that you can answer for them.

Additionally, ask yourself who you are as a brand. What voice do you want to project? Do you want to be casual, professional, or perhaps somewhere in between? Define your brand’s identity and ensure your content reflects that intended persona.

Once you figure out exactly what you want to write or create for your audience, break it down into different categories (e.g. long blog posts, short blog posts, social media posts, photos, videos, infographics, etc.). This will help you mix up the types of posts you share rather than exhausting just one or two forms of content. You may wish to color-code each type of content to help you visualize it better. 

3. Determine how often you want to post

Depending on your resources (business size, number of employees, free time, etc.), you might choose to post on certain platforms daily, biweekly, weekly, or even less than that. This is entirely up to you and what works for your business.

Regardless of how often you share your content, it’s important to keep your posting schedule consistent. For instance, if you choose to publish a blog post each week, choose a specific day and communicate it to your followers so they know when to expect it. On platforms like social media, however, you’ll want to post more frequently to be considered an “active” user.

4. Look for opportunities to repurpose content

Despite the massive demand for “new” content, you don’t have to come up with completely new assets for every channel, every day. There are plenty of ways to slice, dice, and stretch the content you create for one medium for use on another, with very little additional effort. For example, if you write a blog post, you can take a snippet of that and adapt it for a Facebook caption. You can highlight the most important elements of the post and create a text-based video to share on Instagram. You can even turn parts of the blog post into a visually appealing graphic. 

Don’t forget that you can also revisit and update older, high-performing content with a little bit of new information. The more mileage you can get out of one core piece of content, the easier it will be to keep up with your content marketing efforts.

5. Be flexible enough to jump on trending topics

It’s good to have a steady stream of “evergreen” content ideas, but depending on your business type, you might also want to post content covering new industry developments or current events. In these cases, you’ll want to be flexible enough to adapt your strategy and publish “trending” stories in a timely fashion. This will help establish you as a relevant and credible expert in your field.

6. Ask your team for help

Get your team involved in brainstorming. The more people you include in the process, the more insight and ideas you’ll gain. Plus, you’ll have more people to delegate to, which will help you tackle more projects in less time.

7. Schedule cross-channel content

When scheduling content, integrate other types of marketing into your strategy. For instance, pair a blog post with a social media post and schedule them to go live on the same day. Also, find other blogs or influencers in your industry or niche, and make an effort to engage with them on a regular basis, whether through follows, comments, likes, shares, etc.

8. Measure your content performance and adapt

As your publish your content, check your stats and evaluate how well certain posts perform. For instance, maybe your audience prefers short listicles to long blog posts; or maybe they want more videos and less photos. Whatever the results may be, don’t be afraid to make adjustments accordingly and experiment with new ideas.

Content marketing is a great way to engage and connect with your target consumers while establishing yourself as a reliable source in your field. Building and maintaining a content calendar will help you achieve your marketing goals with ease while developing and assessing your strategy as you go. 

Need help creating your content calendar? Each of our marketing consulting services includes a comprehensive content calendar template that we’ll work with you to fill out. Get more details here or contact us with questions.

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Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is our Content Manager whose love for words has propelled her into a career of freelance writing. When she isn’t working for her various clients, she’s writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. Check out her blog at sammisays.org.