A content calendar helps you view and plan your editorial over a period of time and across different publishing and publishing platforms. It helps you plan the topics and formats of the content you plan to publish on your site, ensures that your overall publishing strategy is properly implemented while also giving you the ability to make a detailed content plan.
The start of the year is a great time to start this process! It allows you to make room for new ideas, build on the successes of previous years, and examine hot topics.
Why You Need a Content Calendar – Benefits
Holistic content strategy
When you have a content calendar, you can make sure you’re consistently posting interesting and engaging content that aligns with the mission of your site and social channels. It helps you stay focused, maintain consistency, and avoid getting distracted.
Marking of important dates and events
A content calendar also helps you plan important events, holidays, and milestones. Planning a lot in advance to align your content with these holidays and post trending topics for key dates and specific holidays gives your content time to gain traction in search and on platforms like Pinterest. It is also a way to make it more detectable. For example, if you want to post content on hot topics for a holiday like Valentine’s Day, post your stories at least a week or two before the actual holiday date.
Preparation can also include the ability to identify unique topics to help your content stand out in a crowded vacation space. You might want to showcase your new take on a recipe, craft, or personal story that your audience will relate to. This pre-preparation also gives you time to research any new trends that may appear in Google and Pinterest, so that you can create something new and exciting to drive new visitors to your beautiful new content.
It’s important to post consistently so your audience knows when to watch your news and increases your regular visitors over time. We recommend publication 3-4 new coins per week if you can! It can be a mix of new content and refresh older content which has become obsolete. Here is more best practices on a consistent publication on your site.
Avoid content gaps
If your blog covers multiple topics, without a content schedule, you could end up with gaps, where one or more sections of your website are lacking in new and fresh content. To avoid gaps in your content, map the different verticals and topic groups in your blog, then decide on the topics and frequency for each vertical. Research popular keywords and trends for each vertical and create blog posts and topics around them. This strategy will give your blog a rich and comprehensive content portfolio.
Tips for creating a great content calendar
Align your posting and social media calendars
It helps to align your social media calendar with your blog posting calendar. First, you need to define your social media goals. Do you want your social media to grab attention to your blog posts or do you want to increase your brand awareness? Whatever your goals, start small, plan a weekly cadence for your site’s posts, and tie your social promotion into the design elements. You can design social media posts using free tools like Cloth. Your social media calendar can help keep your overall posting and content strategy cohesive. Here are some great tips on social media strategy from maven content creators.
Prepare your schedule in advance, but not too much in advance! It’s usually a good idea to prepare a monthly or quarterly content calendar (if you have a more thoughtful strategy). It helps to chart the events of the whole year, holidays, or seasonal trends, but you don’t need to have your specific items in mind so far in advance. Manage your time according to your schedule and aim to stay focused on the foreseeable future. Always make room in your calendar for various articles, newsworthy trends, and branded partnerships.
Map content themes
Before you start filling your calendar, you should first define the content themes and topic groups for your blog. As I mentioned earlier, many blogs have multiple content verticals and topic groups which are all a subset of the overall blog theme. When you map them out, you can prioritize the most important ones and also make sure that you are posting content evenly across the different verticals and subtopics of your blog. A content calendar helps you distribute your time evenly across all clusters.
Iterate and make changes as needed
Your content calendar can be for a set period of time, but it’s also a living document that can continually change. Be flexible with your plan and make changes and adjustments as needed. Also, submit your future content ideas even if you don’t have a set date yet to publish them. Write down your ideas, then you can come back to them another time to implement them.
Types of content to include in your content calendar
Always make room for different content formats like photo galleries, videos, quizzes, etc. Mixing them up will give your site visitors a more engaging experience and help increase your site’s engagement. Your content calendar should include these different content formats.
Long blog posts can be 1,500 to 2,000 words or more. This content should be on a well researched topic that can live on as permanent content on your blog. Examples of long blog posts are case studies, how-to guides, and comprehensive guides. With this format, you can give your audience a complete and detailed view of a topic.
With abbreviated blog posts, you can post more frequently, which means you’ll always have fresh and new content on your blog. They can be around 500 to 800 words long and in an easily digestible format. Abbreviated blog posts can help improve your readership and increase the possibility of sharing.
Include images in your blog posts is blogging 101. Image galleries are a way to reap even more benefits and increase engagement. They also allow visitors to stay on your site longer. You can use image galleries as a form of visual storytelling and maximize communication with your readers.
Adding video content to your blog is a sure way to increase your engagement and add variety to your content. There are a number of ways to do this, from embedding Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram videos to creating your own videos and downloading them directly. Videos can also help improve your RPM.
Finally, make room in your calendar to repost updated content. Updated older articles to add new copy, more ideas and make them more relevant and optimized for SEO is a good way to keep your website content relevant.
Tools and Templates to Help You Create a Content Calendar
- Excel and Google Sheets are very simple / weak tools for you to organize your plan. You can also use offline planners if that’s what you prefer.
- Explore popular project and workflow management tools like Notion, Pneumatic table, and Monday.com.
- Explore social media posting tools that include calendar features, like the ones featured here.
Using the tips and tools I’ve shared with you, take the time to create a content calendar for your blog. Happy planning!
the SHE Media Partner Network helps content creators and entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses with dedicated support for managing ads, brand partnerships, and more. Apply now to join our mission-driven platform.