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Content Calendar Creation: The Ultimate Guide

Picture of Mo Shehu

Mo Shehu

content calendar

Discover how a content calendar can help you plan, organize, and schedule your content.

Table of contents

TL;DR – A content calendar helps you visualize your content marketing strategy, spot gaps, and maintain a steady posting schedule. With a content calendar, you can focus more on creating great content and less on planning.

Why you need a content calendar

A content calendar helps you plan and schedule upcoming content.

By organizing your content ahead of time, you ensure a steady flow of ideas and can allocate resources in advance. 

Secondly, content calendars improve team collaboration

A content calendar is a central place where everyone can see what content is planned and when it will be published. 

This helps prevent overlap and makes sure everyone knows what to do. 

Tools like Google Sheets or Asana are useful for sharing your content calendar with your team, assigning tasks, and tracking progress.

Thirdly, a content calendar helps you stay consistent

Consistency is important in content marketing because it builds trust with your audience and improves search engine rankings (if you’re targeting SEO). 

By planning your content in advance, you can stick to a regular publishing schedule. 

For instance, you might decide to publish a new blog every Monday and a social media post every day.

Over a year, that’s over 50 blog posts and close to 250 social media posts!

Let’s now look at how to create a content calendar.

6 steps to create a content calendar

1. Define your audience’s needs

Understand what your audience wants to achieve with your content.

The JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) framework can help you identify what your audience most cares about.

For example, if your audience is small business owners, they may need advice on marketing strategies, financial planning, and time management.

2. Decide on the main themes and formats for your content

This could include blog posts, social media updates, videos, and podcasts. 

Your marketing blog might focus on SEO tips, social media strategies, email marketing, and case studies.

3. Decide how far in advance you want to plan your content

You can plan monthly, quarterly, or annually. Try to plan at least a month or two ahead.

Take into account important events, holidays, and special occurrences that may impact your content plan. 

4. Set a publishing schedule

Determine how often you will publish content, whether it’s daily, weekly, or biweekly. 

Consistency is key to effective engagement. 

For example, you might publish a new blog post every Monday, a newsletter every Thursday, and daily social media updates.

5. Build out the calendar

Create the structure of your calendar using a spreadsheet, Trello board, or a tool like Asana. 

Include columns for dates, content types, topics, status, and responsible team members. 

In a Google Sheet, for instance, create columns for Date, Content Type, Topic, Author, Status, and Notes, then fill in the rows with planned content.

6. Assign tasks to your content team

Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and deadlines. 

For example, assign blog writing to your content marketer, social content to your social media manager, and graphic creation to your designer.

By following these steps, you can create a content calendar that helps you stay organized, maintain consistency, and effectively manage your content strategy.

content calendar

Editorial calendar vs. social media calendar: What’s the difference?

An editorial calendar and a social media calendar are both tools used to plan and organize content.

But they serve different purposes and cover different types of content.

Editorial calendar

An editorial calendar plans and manages long-form content production that impacts business results.

This includes blog posts, white papers, reports, newsletters, and any other substantial pieces of your content strategy.

For example, if you run a digital marketing blog, your editorial calendar might look like this:

  • Week 1: Blog post on “SEO Tips for Beginners”
  • Week 2: Case study on “Successful Social Media Campaigns”
  • Week 3: eBook release on “Content Marketing Strategies”
  • Week 4: Newsletter featuring the month’s top articles

An editorial calendar might also include aspects relevant to long-form content, such as target keywords, content length, and design considerations.

Social media calendar

A social media calendar, on the other hand, is specifically for planning and scheduling social media posts. 

This includes updates, tweets, images, videos, and stories across various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform you use. 

It helps you maintain a consistent presence on social media and engage with your audience regularly.

For example, for the same marketing blog, your social media calendar might look like this:

  • Monday: Share a link to the new blog post on “SEO Tips for Beginners” on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Tuesday: Post an infographic on Instagram about “Common SEO Mistakes”
  • Wednesday: Tweet a quick SEO tip
  • Thursday: Share a customer testimonial video on Facebook
  • Friday: Post a behind-the-scenes photo of your team working on the next eBook on Instagram Stories
  • Saturday: Share a link to your case study on “Successful Social Media Campaigns” on LinkedIn
  • Sunday: Engage with followers by responding to comments and messages

Social media content calendars ensure you have a consistent and engaging presence on all your social platforms.

Key differences:

  1. Content type:
    • Editorial calendar: Long-form content (blogs, articles, eBooks).
    • Social media content calendar: Short-form content (social posts, images, videos).
  2. Purpose:
    • Editorial calendar: Plan and manage substantial content pieces.
    • Social media calendar: Schedule and maintain social media presence.
  3. Frequency:
    • Editorial calendar: Less frequent, typically weekly or monthly.
    • Social media calendar: More frequent, often daily.

By using both an editorial calendar and a social media calendar, you can ensure a well-rounded content strategy.

content calendar

4 best practices for maintaining a content calendar

Regular updates and reviews are essential for keeping your content calendar effective. 

Set a weekly reminder to check your calendar and make any necessary changes. 

This helps ensure your content plans stay relevant and aligned with your goals.

Flexibility is also important. Be ready to adjust your calendar as needed. 

Sometimes unexpected events or new opportunities arise, and you’ll need to change your content schedule. 

For example, if a new content idea or trending topic emerges that’s relevant to your audience, update your calendar to include a blog post or social post about it.

Integrating analytics is key to measuring the success of your content. 

Use analytics tools to track how well your content is performing. 

Look at metrics like page views, engagement rates, and shares, and use this data to adjust your content strategy and improve future content.

Overloading your calendar can prove unsustainable. 

It’s important not to cram too much content into your schedule, as this can lead to burnout and lower quality. 

Focus on creating high-quality content at a pace you or your team’s content marketer can maintain. 

For instance, if daily posts are too much, consider scaling back to a few times a week.

By regularly updating your calendar, staying flexible, using analytics to guide your decisions, and not overloading your schedule, you can keep your content calendar running smoothly and effectively.

content calendar

Content calendar tools

Using the right tools can make managing your content calendar much easier. 

There are various types of tools available, including visual planning tools, scheduling tools, and writing tools. 

Here’s a look at each type and some examples.

Visual planning tools

Visual planning tools help you see your content schedule at a glance, making it easier to manage and adjust your calendar.

Here are a few I’ve personally used in the past:

  • Trello: Trello uses boards, lists, and cards to help you plan your content. You can create a board for your content calendar and use lists for different stages of content creation (e.g., ideas, in progress, published). Cards can represent individual content pieces, and you can add due dates, labels, and checklists.
  • Asana: Asana is a project management tool that allows you to create tasks, assign them to team members, and set deadlines. You can use its calendar view to see your content schedule visually. Asana also supports task dependencies, making it easy to manage complex content projects.
  • Later: Later is a visual planning tool ideal for Instagram content calendar creation. It allows you to schedule and preview your Instagram posts in a calendar format. You can drag and drop your images to create a visually appealing grid and plan relevant content ahead of time.
  • Planoly: Planoly is another tool for Instagram and Pinterest content planning. It offers a visual grid planner for Instagram, letting you see how your posts will look together. For Pinterest, it helps you schedule pins and manage your boards effectively.
  • Notion: Notion is a versatile tool that combines note-taking, task management, and content planning. You can create custom calendars, databases, and boards to organize your content. Notion’s flexibility makes it suitable for both individual use and team collaboration.

Scheduling tools

Scheduling tools automate the process of publishing your content, and are my favorite part of content management.

Here are a few content scheduling tools I’ve used in the past:

  • Publer: Publer is the social media scheduling tool we use. It lets you plan, schedule, and reuse timely and evergreen content across various social media platforms. It also offers a user-friendly interface and allows you to customize your posts for different platforms, schedule them in advance, and analyze their performance.
  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to schedule posts across multiple social media platforms. You can plan social media calendars in advance and set posts to publish automatically at specific times.
  • Buffer: Buffer is another social media scheduling tool. It lets you schedule and manage your social media posts from a single dashboard. You can also analyze the performance of your posts to optimize your social media strategy.

Writing tools

Writing tools help you create high-quality content collaboratively. 

They provide features like grammar checks, readability analysis, and content suggestions.

  • Google Docs: Google Docs is a versatile writing tool that allows you to collaborate with others in real time. You can write, edit, and comment on documents, making it ideal for team projects. It also integrates with other tools like Grammarly for a smoother writing process.
  • Grammarly: Grammarly is a writing assistant that helps you with grammar, punctuation, and style. It provides real-time feedback as you write, helping you create clear and error-free content.
  • Hemingway Editor: Hemingway Editor is a tool that improves your writing’s readability. It highlights complex sentences, passive voice, and other issues that can make your content hard to read. It helps you create concise and easy-to-read content.

By using these content calendar tools, you can streamline your content planning, scheduling, and writing processes. 

Final thoughts on content calendar creation

If you want a high quality content creation process as a content creator or business owner, you need a content calendar.

It helps ensure you publish consistently, which is key to engaging your audience and achieving your marketing goals.

Begin with a simple spreadsheet or use tools like Asana and adjust as you go.

Download a content calendar template to speed up this part of your content operations.

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