One of the biggest struggles facing brands like your own is how to refine and streamline the content creation process. How do you let the website content writing services you employ know what you want? What about timing considerations? Taking into account these concerns and adding in the myriad other questions regarding tone, direction, and style further clouds the picture.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to sift through these issues and promote proper communications with your team of professional article writers comes in the form of a content calendar. To help show you how to implement this tool, let’s spend some time covering the finer points of the content calendar approach, as well as how this asset fits into your content marketing plans moving forward.
Why a Content Calendar Matters
“A major part of staying organized is keeping to a schedule…” – Jonathan Gamble, Relevance
These words, from Relevance’s Jonathan Gamble, serve as the basis for why your brand needs a structured and organized approach to its content marketing strategy. Yes, simply “getting by” is okay in some scenarios, but to truly excel and generate content that matters to your audience, providing your experts with direction and guidance is the best way blend the talents of these marketers with your content vision.
A content calendar serves as the bridge between this ideal and its practical application. As a way to maintain constant and concrete communications, this tool ensures that nothing is left to chance as your brand and its website content writing services craft and mold selections that truly speak to the person on the other side of the screen.
Laying the Foundation with an Honest Evaluation
So where should you start with the creation of your very first content calendar? According to Shanna Mallon of the Content Marketing Institute, this process begins on two fronts. First, you’ll want to develop a strong plan regarding what this tool will cover, then decide upon an appropriate platform for hosting your content calendar.
In terms of planning, Mallon offers up three basic steps to serve as guidelines as you delve into the particulars of content calendar creation:
- Evaluate your sales cycle.
- Brainstorm and categorize content topics.
- Figure out the scheduling particulars.
The first step – evaluating your sales cycle – helps you and your website content writing services have a solid, factual foundation regarding the direction of content subject matter and scheduling. In fact, the experts at Website Magazine point out that this “reflection” period stands as one of the most important parts of the planning process.
From here, applying this newfound knowledge in the brainstorming and categorization phase helps keep your content marketing strategy organized and focused on the topics that truly resonate with your target audience. Finally, deciding on the appropriate media, from blog posts to eBooks, and the timing of your content releases wraps up the process.
Picking the Right Platform
When it comes to following up on the second half of Mallon’s outline and selecting the appropriate platform to host your content calendar, there isn’t quite as straightforward an answer to this decision. In fact, Forbes magazine’s Drew Hendricks explains that there’s a plethora of viable options that can fit your needs on this front. Some of the most highly regarded options from Hendricks’ review include:
- Editorial Calendar Plugin – This WordPress plug-in offers up a strong interface for those brands primarily focusing on blogging and website content management.
- Kapost – As a paid service, Kapost emphasizes customization and delegation between clients and website content writing services.
- Google Docs – Like anything else Google touches, Google Docs – specifically Google Sheets – offers a highly intuitive and free way to share work and ideas with your professional team via integrated Google Drive functionality.
Building the Framework with Google Docs
While there’s no wrong answer in terms of platform selection, for the sake of this example let’s focus on using Google Docs to dig into developing a content calendar on your own. This way, when it’s time to actually put this information to good use, you’ll at least know how use one of the most well-received and widely acclaimed platforms.
Naturally, you’ll need a Google account to get the ball rolling. From here, entering your own Drive and creating a new spreadsheet is the obvious first step.
As you start developing your spreadsheet, you’ll want to build categories based around key questions. When do you need the articles for posting? Are there specific directives or ideas that can help enhance the focus of the article? Creating an infrastructure that supports these questions is essential for a successful content calendar.
The next step involves creating periodic tabs (monthly, weekly, etc.) as a way to keep to organization your calendar. By doing this, you’ll be able to reference older content and ensure continuity as you continue to develop and optimize your content marketing strategy.
Finally, don’t forget to share this document with your content professionals. This way, everyone on the team can view and edit the upcoming schedule.
Going the Next Step
When you’ve got a content calendar you can commit to, social media marketing becomes a lot less daunting. – Olsy Sorokina, Hootsuite
Of course, there’s nothing in the content marketing rulebook that says you have to only have a calendar for upcoming content. As Olsy Sorkina of Hootsuite points out, the same principles can help enhance and refine your social media outreach strategy as well. In fact, pairing the two together can drastically improve the overlap between these mutually beneficial areas of your greater digital marketing initiative.
Additionally, Econsultancy’s David Moth offers up several content calendar templates if you’re looking for something a little more detailed or intricate than the basic outline we’ve covered in this post. Depending on your specific needs and desires, these templates can attack this process from a variety of different angles.
The basic notion here is that as long as you’re willing to invest some time and effort into truly improving your organization skills on the content marketing front, there’s no end to the resources and tools at your disposal. Regardless of what industry you call home, having these assets on your side can definitely make life easier as you continue to leverage the power of content marketing on behalf of your brand.