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What is a Content Calendar and How Do I Create One?

Content calendars are a useful tool for any blogger or business blogger. You might also call it an editorial calendar.

In short, a content calendar is a map of your content for the next several weeks or months. For many small business owners, that content is blog posts. (See How Often Should I Blog?) Your content may also include a quarterly white paper, a monthly infographic, or a weekly video.

Why Use a Content Calendar
If you only post one blog entry to your site each month, you may not feel you need a content calendar. You might be right. But even if you don’t create much content, calendars are useful. They help you:

● See what types of content (video, posts, slideshows, etc.) you have created.
● Remember what topics you have created.
● Map out your content strategy.
● Track due dates.
● Help you remain on deadline, so your publishing schedule is consistent.
● Gives you a clear picture of your plan, allowing you to identify gaps in the topics you cover.

Tracking your content this way also helps you plan out your posts around certain dates relating to your business or industry. Plus, if you work with a content writer or have team members who help, you can share a content calendar with everyone.

How to Create a Content Calendar
Content calendars don’t have to be fancy. You might use a paper calendar or a different color on your electronic calendar. On those, you can write down the post name and date it will post, or due date, depending on which you find more helpful.

Most people create a spreadsheet for this purpose. Spreadsheets are useful because you can search them easily and track the content topic, author, format, category, date posted, and include notes.

Regardless of how you create it, your calendar should include the category of each post. That way you can easily see if you are missing areas and topics your clients will find useful, or that relate to your content strategy. Your spreadsheet can also display content sources. For example, you might have old presentations, data, interviews, testimonials, or other information that could be used for a particular post.

Using Your Content Calendar
Start by planning out content for at least three months. This gives you time to get into the rhythm of creating and posting without having to brainstorm new ideas. At the end of the second month, you’ll need to plan for three (or more) months. Take a look at what content worked well. Did videos perform better than posts? Should you create more of those? Did a particular topic or word set seem to get more readers? You might also find you struggle to publish on Mondays. Seeing your calendar can help you adjust.

More questions about this? Contact us for help with your content strategy.

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