Create an original content calendar
1. Choose a platform to host your content calendar that will make it easy to collaborate with your team members.
Examples of platforms and options for content calendars: Spreadsheet-style content calendar, created with Google Sheets or Excel. Project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Coschedule.
2. Identify all publication channels you will be using in your content strategy, such as social media accounts, a blog on your website, or email.
Your team may choose to create separate editorial calendars or views for each format of content, for example, a separate email campaign calendar versus a social media content calendar. Alternatively, your team might prefer to keep track of all content in one place and create tags or color code to differentiate content types on your calendar.
3. Make a list of ideas for each content format you plan to produce, to act as a starting point for scheduling and strategizing content on your editorial calendar.
This list doesn’t need to be exhaustive. To organize and categorize your list: Separate ideas for different content types into separate columns or assign a specific symbol or color to each content format. For example, if your content list includes topics for both your blog and social media, mark blog ideas in red and social media content ideas in yellow. Break down content ideas based on the social media platforms your business uses.
4. Decide the posting frequency for each of your publication channels based on content strategy and size of your team.
Consider how many content creators are on your team and how much content they can realistically produce. Consider your brand’s content strategy for each platform, for example, your blog might need one to two posts per week, while your social media channels might warrant a post per day.
5. Structure your content calendar to include a section for Title, Assignee, Publication Date, Deadline, Status, and Notes.
If you are creating your calendar in a spreadsheet, you can add these as simple column headers. If you are using a project management tool, create a calendar, list, or kanban board for your editorial calendar. Most tools will have built in features to assign tasks to specific team members, set due dates, and allow team members to update their task progress. You can include the projected content publication date and other additional notes in the text box under each task.
6. Add the content ideas from your list to the content calendar and populate the other fields based on publication dates that align with your content strategy, team members responsible for creating content, and deadlines.
Consider setting deadlines ahead of time to make sure all of your content is completed, edited, reviewed, and ready to be published well in advance of the publication date. The specific amount of time that you’ll need will depend on the needs of your team. Some tasks may need to be broken down further if you have multiple team members responsible for completing different tasks within a single piece of content.
7. Add subtasks that are necessary to complete each piece of content on your calendar to track team progress during every stage of content creation.
For example, a blog post can be broken down further by researching, writing, editing, and adding images or CTAs. A video might be broken down into scripting, staging, filming, and post production.
8. Use your content calendar to analyze your content strategy over time and track that content provides value to your audience, and is optimized for increasing conversions.
In addition to keeping your team on track during the content creation process, it can also be helpful for your content strategist to review and organize your content plan several months in advance.