How to Create and Use a Content Calendar for Publishing Success

For a busy creator, consistently publishing a steady stream of fresh content via your website and social media accounts can seem nearly impossible. Yet, plenty of others manage to systematically post high-quality, relevant, and captivating content — and garner heaps of engagement in the process.

So, what’s their secret? No, they haven’t magically found more hours in the day. These brands merely use a well-planned content calendar.

Here’s everything you need to know to build your own.

What is a content calendar?

Content calendars are living, shareable documents that visually represent brands’ content strategies. They should include everything from the topics and names of the assets you’ll create to the times and dates you’ll schedule content to publish, the platforms you’ll use to deliver each asset, content to curate, and even the metrics you’ll use to measure success.

This helps you keep all of your content efforts organized in one accessible, standardized resource.

Why do you need one?

Here are just a few benefits of using a content calendar:

  • It helps you stay consistent. It’s easy to become sidetracked and neglect your blog or social media accounts, especially when so many other tasks demand your attention. A calendar helps you codify and simplify your content process, so you always know precisely when (and what) to publish.

  • It helps you monitor performance. It’s challenging to know how to optimize and improve without regularly measuring your content’s success. By recording all content efforts in one location, you can easily find previously published assets to see how well they’re performing. Then, you can use this insight to optimize performance and set benchmarks for future endeavors.

  • It helps ensure your efforts are aligned. Content calendars help you stay on top of everything you’re doing, ensure all efforts complement one another, and prevent any risk of duplication.

How to create your own content calendar

Here’s how to begin building a content calendar in four steps:

1. Choose where to make your calendar

There are many programs and tools you can use to create content calendars. Some creators build their calendars in a spreadsheet format using Google Sheets, whereas others prefer tools such as Trello, Airtable, Monday, or Asana.

2. Take stock of all your existing content

Review all the content you’ve created so far. Even if you’ve already published these assets, you can repurpose them in new ways or promote them further.

3. Make a list of all the content you want to create

Begin brainstorming and compiling all your ideas. This list will become a content repository, streamlining the process for you as you fill out your calendar.

4. Plan your content weeks or months in advance

Build out your calendar by adding topics and assets, the dates you plan to publish, and the promotional or distribution platforms you’ll use.

For example, you might plan to publish a blog post on your site and then promote that post on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

When creating a calendar for several months or a year, it can be helpful to develop key themes for each month or quarter.

Ultimately, content calendars are essential for maintaining a consistent publishing frequency that keeps your audience engaged. Visualizing your content strategy and keeping all your content planning efforts in one location will make it easier to post, promote, and drive more traffic to your site.

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Carrie Dagenhard

Carrie is an old school, gumshoe journalist trapped in a modern content marketer's body. She specializes in writing for the marketing, technology and healthcare industries, and loves helping bloggers and small business owners grow their presence online. Carrie resides in the "Silicon Hills" of Austin, TX with her husband and two adorable cats.

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