Why and How to Use a Content Calendar

Just as there are many topics to write about, there are various tools that can be used to schedule content once you’re ready to publish. Many bloggers, artists, influencers, and businesses rely on content calendars to help them bring ideas to life and develop consistent publishing schedules. You can even use a content calendar to generate post ideas based on seasonal happenings, holidays, and industry events.

Here’s how to get started with a content calendar.

Analog vs. digital content calendars

When it comes to organizing and planning, some creative types prefer using paper, pencil, and a large block-style calendar. Different colored pens and sticky notes also play their parts when differentiating between ideas or content types, and you can move them around as needed throughout the month or year.

Most of the organizational benefits of a physical content calendar can be reaped with digital tools as well. Additionally, digital calendar platforms can be easier for multiple team members to collaborate on. Cloud-based spreadsheets and project management tools, such as Google Suite, Asana, and Trello combine document creation with calendaring. They provide an overview of all your scheduled content with fields to detail the specifics of each article. To keep everyone on the same page about a particular project, updates can be made through comments or links. Some of these tools even provide personal scheduling options so that contributors can set individual deadlines that feed into the team’s overall goals.

Whichever type of calendar you choose, make sure to integrate WordPress.com into your planning efforts to give your team members the ability to upload drafts and send them for review, or schedule a publication date for each post.

Break it down and set realistic deadlines

Outlining and scheduling your content ahead of time helps you verify that the content you’re creating is in line with your brand’s audience and goals. It also permits you to build out your site’s internal structure by linking to your other posts.

Assuming that you’ve already determined your niche, you can break it down into specific topics. You might then divide those topics into individual components to help you generate ideas. The article topic, category, keyword, call to action, and the title of each piece of content can then be outlined, giving you a clear path to follow. As you write (or after a piece is completed), you can think of ways to differentiate your post. Perhaps you’ll use original photos, or will throw in some humor to strengthen your brand and further your user experience.

Plan for success

Regardless of how you choose to keep a calendar, it’s essential for efficient planning. A solid planning session can dictate your strategy throughout an entire year. You may want to consult the WordPress.com eBook, 365 Writing Prompts, for tips and ideas to use in your content planning. Oftentimes, you’ll find that a seemingly simple writing prompt becomes a series that defines your expertise.

Be very specific in your planning, yet allow for flexibility as trending world and industry events may require shifts in your timeline. Use a content calendar as a guide to guarantee consistent writing and publishing and you’ll find that creating content will be simpler and more organized than ever.

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