How Do I Create a Content Marketing Calendar?
From using Google News to pivoting from spreadsheets, here are six answers to the question, “What are your best tips for creating a content marketing calendar?”
- Research With Google News
- Simplify Your Stages and Fields
- Align With Your Overall Mission
- Audit of Your Existing Content
- Collaborate With All Internal Teams
- Stop Using Spreadsheets and Try a Better Tool
Research With Google News
When brainstorming editorial calendar topics, month after month, even the best content marketers run into dry spells. So I use Google News (Remember it?) as a research tool for every calendar I develop.
Simply typing in a keyword or phrase results in an aggregated list of industry pubs and news outlets covering similar topics. After scanning results, you’ll find inspiration here and there to trigger timely content ideas.Google News—a tool for everyone, including the pros!
Simplify Your Stages and Fields
To create an effective content calendar, think about what people, both inside and outside of the content team, need to see in order to understand the current status. There shouldn’t be over five stages and five fields that explain the status of each content piece in your calendar. Adding more will be overwhelming and hard to follow. The stages I recommend adding in a project management tool of your choice are:
- Planning (assignable)
For specific details (potential fields you can add), I recommend including:
- Due date (adjusted for each stage)
- Content type (blog post, blog update, roundup, etc)
- Topic cluster/Content theme
- Offer (your CTAs)
Organizing our content calendar intentionally helped us to keep our team on the same page, cultivate topics for future content, maintain a consistent message across different content channels and optimize content effectively.
Align With Your Overall Mission
When creating anything social media strategy related, I like to get my clients to think backward. Start with the goal in mind, and once we settle on a goal of what we’d like to achieve, then we create the content.
Your content should always have a purpose. Whether it be to inform, educate, inspire, or simply build brand awareness. Each piece of content is crucial and should always align with your goal and content pillars.
Once we finalize our goal(s), we create our content pillars. These themes help us stay aligned with the overall mission or goal of each social media platform. From those content pillars, we generate ideas that are on brand from market analysis and research that are sure to resonate with the client’s target market.
Audit Your Existing Content
Before you develop a larger-than-life content calendar for your various channels, you first need to understand your business’s current state—what is and isn’t working—and you can learn just that by conducting a social media audit.
A social media audit is exactly as it sounds. It’s a quick review and compilation of various social media metrics that help one better evaluate a business’s profiles and strategies.
Typically, the first step is to gather all the business’s social profiles and information. From there, you’ll want to comb through the various data that can be found within each channel and call out consistencies and outliers.
For example, maybe you learn your Instagram profile has the largest following but has the lowest engagement. Whatever findings you identify during your social media audit will help you build a stronger content calendar overall.
Kelsey Dech, Content Marketing Manager, John Fluevog
Collaborate With All Internal Teams
To create a content calendar that is really effective, one must have deep discussions with:
- the Account Based Marketing teams (for the clients/domains being pursued)
- the Events and PR teams (for promoting the events and PR)
- the Digital Marketing teams (for the campaigns that need to be run)
- and the Sales and BDM teams (for the collaterals needed).
All these need to be driven by dates. Only once you have all these in place can you create an all-inclusive content marketing calendar that tracks everything effectively.
Stop Using Spreadsheets and Try a Better Tool
The best content calendars are the ones that incorporate both editorial and social media calendars. Most marketing teams use spreadsheets to manage their content calendars. Now adding multiple sheets and involving multiple stakeholders on spreadsheets will make it cluttered.The best idea here is to use a specific tool, like ClickUp or Notion, to manage everything.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, What is one tip for creating a content marketing calendar?
- What should I include in a B2B content marketing strategy?
- How do I create amazing blog content?
- What are the best types of content marketing?