Create a content calendar

1. Decide what type of content to add to your calendar by gathering information from past content audits and brainstorming with your marketing, customer service, and sales teams.

Questions that are often asked in customer service phone calls or email messages can help pinpoint topics that your target audience wants to know more about, and your marketing team can create content around it, such as: How-to guides. Product demonstrations. Written product guides or videos. Topic-specific articles in your industry. FAQ blogs or videos. Infographics. Short explainer videos for social media. If your business is new and you have no previous content or customer feedback to reference, research your competitors’ content and industry leaders’ advice for a starting point. After you conduct your first content audit and begin to gain personal feedback from your web visitors and customers, you can adjust your content strategy to better fit your specific audience.

2. Set a publishing schedule for each of your brand’s marketing channels, like your business’s blog, podcast, email newsletters, and social media platforms.

If your brand is relatively new, start with industry research to find the best times to post and the recommended publishing frequency for each platform. As your team gains insight on your audience’s behavior and activity on each channel, you can adjust your posting schedule accordingly to better match your audience’s most active times on each platform.

3. Choose a platform to host your content calendar and maintain efficient task management across your team. Decide whether a spreadsheet or project management tool is more suitable for you.

Setting up a spreadsheet will be sufficient for most teams, especially when using a platform such as Google Sheets, which also offers easy-to-use features for sharing and collaborating.  Project management tools can also be helpful to larger organizations, since they make it easier to assign specific tasks or subtasks to a particular team member and track multiple deadlines or progress updates. Popular options include: Trello Asana ClickUp.  These types of platforms have the benefit of switching between multiple views of the same information, including lists, calendars, and Kanban boards to help your team visualize the content calendar in different ways.

4. Set up the content calendar by adding column headers to your spreadsheet or adding tags, labels, or task templates in your project management tool.

Some categories you can track include: Title Topic Type of Content Marketing Funnel Stage Deadline Assignee Progress/Status Edit Date Publish Date/Time Marketing Channel (Publication) Marketing Channel (Promotion) Campaign Supporting Media like videos, articles, ebooks, or case studies. Link to the piece of content for your team to access, such as a Google Doc. Add an extra sheet to your spreadsheet, or an extra list if you have opted for a project management tool, and use it to record and organize future content ideas. Color-code specific labels for easier organization. For example, your team could color-code your tasks based on the marketing channel the piece of content will be published on. Large teams, or those that include freelancers along with internal team members, can benefit from adding a section detailing the guidelines and protocols for using the content calendar efficiently, as well as any additional resources your team might need to reference.

5. Refer to your determined publishing frequency and schedule your content ideas in the calendar. Schedule each stage of production that is necessary to complete a piece of content.

For example, one blog post might be assigned to a number of different members on your team to write, proofread, edit, and publish the piece. When selecting dates for your content ideas, consider the season and upcoming holidays, events, or marketing campaigns that will be occurring at different points throughout the year to time your content accordingly.

6. Link your content library to your content calendar to make it easily accessible for collaborators.

Whether your team stores content files in Google Drive, Dropbox, or another collaborative cloud-based file storage platform, making it easy to navigate can help streamline the workflow for all of your content creators.

7. Connect your calendar to a publishing tool to streamline the publishing process.

Schedule your content for publication in batches where possible, to save time and reduce tedious manual publishing. Your business’s CRM will likely have the capability to schedule blog posts ahead of time.  For your social media platforms, consider a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer.

8. Share the content calendar with collaborators, including members of your internal team and any freelancers you have hired.

Remember to set the appropriate permissions on your platform for different types of collaborators.  For example, the head of your marketing team will likely be granted full admin permissions in the calendar spreadsheet or tool, while you might assign a freelance editor to only have the capability to view the calendar and open content links.

9. Identify areas for improvement and opportunities to repurpose content in your periodic content audit, and adjust your calendar accordingly to continue improving the process over time.

The frequency of your team’s content audits will depend on your industry and resources, however annual content audits are the most common. Pinpoint what types of content and topics work well with your audience to plan for more of that kind of content in the future. You can also use repurposing opportunities to fill out your calendar with previously created content that will be adapted to new mediums and marketing channels.