How to Create a Content Calendar in as Painless a Way as Possible


Content
may be king, but the king could always use some help.
It’s hard to be on top if you’re not organized behind the
scenes. To produce content in a timely manner, you need a content
calendar. It’s what tells the king where to go and when — as
well as what to say.

At first, it may feel overwhelming to take on a quarter or more
of content planning and arrange it in into a calendar format to use
as a guide. But using a content calendar is an excellent way to
stay organized and
plan engaging content
. It helps you produce content and share
regular, relevant information with your teammate during the content
creation process. It also serves as a benchmark for analysis and
changes.

Here are some tips for developing an efficient process for
content calendar creation:

Start with a Content Calendar Template

Having a template provides a way to visually organize what you
put on your content calendar. Like any other calendar, you want a
calendar template that is easy to read and provides enough columns
to cover date/time, messaging, channel type, and person
responsible.

If you aren’t sure what you want or what feels right, it’s a
good idea to review the wide range of content calendars available
online. You may like these versions or be comfortable with a
platform as basic as an Excel spreadsheet or a digital calendar
program.

If you use an existing template, be sure to check how you can
download it and whether it’s compatible with any other software
you may use. Having a content calendar that integrates with other
tools often means less work and greater data insights.

Decide on a Time Period for Your Content Calendar

Depending on your budget and planning process, you may make a
content calendar for a quarter, six months, or a whole year. The
best approach is to at least plan for half the year, even if you
don’t enter in all the content for the six-month period before
beginning to create and publish it.

Even if you establish a content calendar for half the year,
start working on the second half soon after launching your content
campaigns. Your efforts during the first half of the year can —
and should — guide your topics and timing for the rest of the
year.

Select Audience Content, Place, and Time
Preferences

Doing this research in advance of creating your content calendar
will save considerable work and vastly improve your results. The
research will indicate what type of content your audience wants,
which channels they prefer for accessing this content, and what
time of the week and day they typically search for this
content.

Use existing analytics to determine this; another option is to
mine for more insights through customer surveys, analysis of the
competition, or market research that includes tools that calculate
the most read content. Also, pay attention to any seasonal events
or occasions that impact your audience so you can include those
content themes.

Compile, Create, and Curate

With that information, start compiling the types of content you
will create or curate, as well as frequency, location, and time.
You don’t need to write all the content now. At this point, your
content calendar should contain title ideas, topics, and sources
for curated content from various curation platforms.

Filling in the time slots provides a visual way for you to see
how you can diversify content topics and formats
across channels
to keep it interesting for your audience.
You’ll be able to see where gaps may exist or whether you’ve
balanced the content to address your entire audience’s needs.

The time slots also provide a way for you to manually schedule
the content. Alternatively, you can use it as a reference for
automation
software
that schedules content for publication across all
platforms.

Make One More Content Calendar as Part of the
Process

Just when you think you’re done; your last step involves making
one more content calendar. Doing so shouldn’t take too long
because you can copy the one you’ve already created.

The new content calendar will guide your
content repurposing process
. It’s a tactic that should also be
part of your
content marketing strategy
. Some content will be able to be
used again in a different format — some of the things you produce
will beg to be angled for a new audience or fleshed out to address
second-tier concerns. The process for repurposing involves using
sections for shorter content pieces. It also means adding new
sections in that have updated statistics or research.

Developing your repurpose content calendar from the start of the
process saves time and effort. That ensures you don’t have to
compile content options later for this part of the process. Be sure
to add a column to this calendar that allows you to place a link to
the existing content for easy access at a later date.

Have a Content Repository for Ongoing Ideas and Team
Contributions

Not every content idea will find a home on your initial content
calendar. Make a content repository, and open it up to the team to
share and compile ideas for future content calendars. It can also
serve as a storehouse for your existing content assets, which you
can repurpose later on.

Be Prepared to Make Changes and Revise Your Content
Calendar

As you track results, changes will be necessary. Some topics or
content formats may not work as well. Or you may have discovered
that a specific audience segment has shifted its time or subject
preferences. However, the content calendar template makes it easy
to make these adjustments and share the information with your
marketing team involved in creating, scheduling, and publishing the
content.

A content calendar may sound like an intimidating concept. In
reality, it’s a way to ensure your team is on the same page from
the very beginning. Not only will their content production process
be smoother, but your audience will also appreciate the consistency
that follows.

                                       
                                   
  
                                                                       

Create content that positively impacts sales. Learn how to in
“Do More with Content Marketing.”


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Source: FS – Marketing 3
How to Create a Content Calendar in as Painless a Way as Possible