What Is a Content Calendar? How To Plan Your Content
Running a marketing campaign almost always involves simultaneously managing several tasks. One of the most important parts of a successful campaign is timing.
With a well-designed content calendar, you and your team will be able to plan every aspect of your upcoming content.
If you’ve ever wondered what a content calendar is, we’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to learn:
- What a content calendar is
- Why content calendars are essential for marketers
- What every content calendar needs
- How Welcome’s software can help you build the perfect content calendar
What Is a Content Calendar?
So, what is a content calendar? A content calendar is a calendar for marketers to use when planning their upcoming content output.
Whether your team is publishing content for a blog, social media, or even an editorial, the content calendar will help you track your team’s content creation workflows and monitor publishing dates.
Depending on the scale and complexity of your team’s marketing campaigns, your content calendar could be anything from a simple paper diary to a full-scale cloud-based calendar.
With Welcome’s marketing orchestration software, we offer an intelligent marketing content calendar feature designed to help marketing teams of all sizes manage and organize content timeframes.
What Is a Content Calendar’s Importance?
Content creation has become a vital part of developing a robust and effective marketing strategy.
Blog content has proven to be one of the best ways to increase organic traffic. As HubSpot notes, marketers who make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.
According to OptInMonster, 72% of digital marketers claim that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic.
Social media content creation is another vital part of any digital marketing campaign, with people spending an average of up to three hours on social media every day, according to GlobalWebIndex.
Just about every company these days has invested in content marketing. But without a smart calendar system, your content planning and publishing schedule can become hectic, disorganized, and ineffective.
Here are a few reasons why every content marketing team needs a powerful content calendar system like Welcome’s.
A Cloud-Based Content Calendar Empowers Collaboration
Regardless of how large your marketing team is, a cloud-based content calendar feature means your whole team can access the current campaign plan in real-time.
Gartner estimates that by 2022, 90% of companies will be using the cloud — it’s definitely the future of business processes. This means that if you wish to shift publishing times or draft due dates, your whole team will know instantly without the need for numerous emails or meetings.
Welcome’s content calendar feature makes it easy to shift and rearrange your plans as you go without disrupting the rest of your team.
With an Organized Content Calendar, You Can Integrate Workflows Into Your Content Planning
Content creation tends to involve multiple steps and numerous people. From SEO planning to writing to editing and publication, you may need to organize multiple professionals within a specific timeframe.
Welcome’s content calendar system makes it simple to create workflows with due dates for each of your team members. You can track every content project from start to finish and keep your marketing strategy healthy.
An Intelligent Content Calendar Can Make Visualizing Your Campaign Easy
As a marketing campaign grows, it can be difficult to maintain a grasp on what’s going on. A content calendar makes it easy to visualize the campaign in full.
With Welcome’s intelligent content calendar software, you will be able to physically and clearly see every aspect of your content campaign. Using our filters, you’ll also be able to narrow down what you see to hone in on specific elements of the campaign.
A Content Calendar Creates Shared Visibility
For stakeholders, a content calendar offers full visibility and accountability. Welcome’s content calendar system ensures your stakeholders can stay up to date with just a glance at your plans.
What Is Content Calendar Software? What You Should Look For
When looking for content calendar software, you should begin by asking yourself, “What are a content calendar’s essential features?” Here are a few things you should look out for.
Cloud-based software has become the norm in most industries. When it comes to creating team calendars, it’s the only logical option.
The cloud makes it possible to create up-to-date digital content that is fully accessible. With marketing teams that increasingly feature remote working, accessibility is vital for streamlined operations.
Welcome’s marketing orchestration software is entirely cloud-based, empowering simultaneous, smooth collaboration from any location.
Multiple User Profiles
Chances are, there is more than one person on your marketing team. With marketing content, there are often multiple creatives who will contribute.
Using software that accommodates multiple user profiles will make it easier for you to assign tasks to individuals and track their work throughout a project.
Welcome understands the importance of giving everyone on the marketing team their own unique account, so we offer unlimited user profiles.
Filtering and Visualization
Content calendars can quickly become chaotic, especially if you have a large company that publishes dozens of blog posts and hundreds of social media posts every month across multiple platforms.
It’s vital that you find a software system that can create a legible visualization of your planned time frame through filtering.
Welcome’s intelligent filtering system empowers you to filter your calendar view, including by project type, due date, and team member, so you can always visualize what is coming in your campaign.
Having a plan with set dates is only the first step of plotting the ongoing release of marketing content. Each piece of content will include multiple steps before it’s completed.
Welcome’s software includes workflow planning within the calendar view so you can plan and track detailed information about the workflow for each piece of content, from research to publication.
The Fundamentals of Content Calendar Building in Practice
Every content calendar will look different depending on your company’s size and approach to marketing. Nevertheless, there are a few things that nearly every content calendar should have.
Every content calendar should focus on clarifying and tracking the journey of each piece of content, from its inception to its publication.
The first stage in content creation is planning which pieces of content you are interested in creating. In this planning stage, you should sort out all of the key details about a piece of content:
- Type of content. Is it a blog post, a newsletter, a social media post? Where will it be published?
- Work required to complete this piece of content. Which members of your team will need to come together to create this piece of content? This might include writers, editors, SEO researchers, marketing executives, or graphic designers.
- Key dates. What are the milestones that need to be met throughout the creation of this piece of content? When is the publication date and the draft due date?
- Goals. This stage is a great opportunity to set specific goals for this piece of content. Are there certain SEO goals you have in mind with your keywords? Are you hoping to generate a conversation around a certain topic? Use these goals to make more specific decisions about your content.
Welcome’s software provides you with a digital space where all of this important planning can take place. When you create a new content deadline, you’ll be able to include vital details about your content that can be easily accessed from the calendar view.
Once you’ve decided your content creation plan within Welcome’s system, everything should flow pretty smoothly.
As the project manager, your main job will be to monitor your team’s progress and ensure tasks are completed by their deadlines so the final publication date can be met.
With our task drill downs, you can select pieces of content from the calendar to track their progress, add milestones, and monitor deadlines.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Different Types of Content Calendars With Welcome
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what a content calendar is and content calendar building, let’s get into more detail. Depending on what type of content calendar you’re creating, your process may be somewhat different.
Welcome’s software can support all types of digital marketing content planning. Here is a guide to using our software for various types of content.
Blog Content Calendar
A blog content calendar is the calendar you will use to plan and monitor your content marketing strategy. This calendar should outline all of your upcoming blog posts and include dated milestones, so you always meet your publication deadlines without compromising on quality.
With more and more bloggers in America, it’s vital that you create the best possible plan for your company’s blog in order to rise above your competition.
With Welcome’s content calendar tool, you’ll be able to organize an entire content marketing campaign from one dashboard. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a blogging content calendar using Welcome.
1. Plan Out Your Editorial Calendar
Most business blogs aim to publish a certain number of posts per month. Studies have shown that roughly 11 posts per month or more can boost your SEO performance and improve traffic.
Once you’ve decided on how many blog posts per month will feature in your content marketing strategy, plan out your editorial calendar using Welcome’s software.
With our content calendar software, you’ll be able to begin by plotting out your monthly publication dates. Once you’ve decided on your editorial calendar timings, you can plan other key dates within this content campaign.
We recommend adding in milestone dates for every blog post for each important stage. These milestones may include:
- Keyword research
- Outline draft
- First draft
- Final edits
By plotting out these dates a few weeks before the intended publication time, you’ll leave yourself some room for error or unexpected delays.
Using our software, you’ll be able to create individual pieces of content and track their full journey across multiple due dates in your calendar. The filtering feature and drill down tool will help you to visualize the content creation plan in full.
2. Research Potential Ideas and Make Blog Topic Decisions
Once you’ve plotted out your blog post due dates across your content calendar, you can begin to flesh out your content plan by determining what each of your blog posts will cover.
This stage of the process usually involves a mixture of SEO-based research along with collaboration with other employees about what some relevant content ideas might be.
All of this planning can be recorded within Welcome’s software. By integrating the individual blog post planning process within the content calendar, you’ll be able to keep everything in one place.
When you click on a planned piece of content within your calendar, you’ll see all of the relevant information about blog topic, length, and goal that you have finalized during this planning phase.
3. Monitor Your Team Throughout the Campaign
Once you’ve set your upcoming blog topics and laid out other relevant details about the content, you can assign upcoming tasks and milestones to your team members.
Because the process has been fully laid out by dates, the actual content creation portion of the process should ideally happen according to schedule. Your team members will use the software to track their individual assignments and complete them on time.
Once someone has completed their task, the next relevant team member will automatically be notified that it’s their turn to take over.
For instance, once your SEO expert has added their research to the platform, the writer can take over and complete a draft. The editor will then be notified that the draft is ready for review, and so on.
Using our software, you’ll be able to monitor the whole team as they complete the necessary assignments prior to publication. With our intuitive, easy-to-use platform, you’ll be able to check off tasks in the run up to the publication date.
Soon, you will establish a steady workflow and publication routine.
4. Make Blog Content Updates
Welcome’s software also makes it easy to keep track of old pieces of content. Set calendar alerts in the future to remind yourself to check on old posts.
As SEO and digital marketing expert Neil Patel notes, old content that is left un-updated becomes “stale” and performs less well over time.
Social Media Content Calendar
Social media content creation is slightly different to blog content creation. After all, most marketers use multiple social media platforms.
Here is a breakdown of the most popular social media platforms as of 2021, according to Statista, with Facebook and YouTube coming in first and second, respectively.
A content calendar is an equally important aspect of running a successful campaign.
Here are some tips on creating a social media content calendar with Welcome.
1. Plan Out Your Social Media Post Calendars for Each Channel
Begin by planning out your ideal social media marketing future content for each social media platform you use. Using our software, you’ll be able to clearly separate out each channel and use the filter view to focus on whichever channels you choose as you go.
Our software will take the place of a content calendar template. You’ll be able to easily add future post ideas and workflows to your team’s calendar as needed.
Be sure to include national holidays and special days into your calendar plans. For instance, around the December holidays, you may wish to increase your number of posts. Or you could set aside special posts on important dates such as International Women’s Day.
2. Brainstorm Post Topics
Once you’ve set out a rough calendar of when you intend to publish posts, begin to brainstorm content ideas.
This stage will likely involve research regarding relevant national holidays, collaboration with your product release team, and SEO research to ensure your topics will generate traffic.
Begin filling in blanks in your calendar by fleshing out each future post with details about what specific content you’ll be posting.
It’s also key to keep track of ongoing social media trends.
3. Set Deadlines for Post Copy Drafts, Images, and Edits
For social media posts, multiple creative tasks must take place before a post is ready for publication. Assign members of your team milestones, such as:
- Hashtag and SEO research
- Finishing written copy
- Editing copy
- Taking or choosing promo images or videos
- Saving draft versions of the post
4. Use a Content Library To Store Digital Assets
Most marketers don’t take new professional photos or videos for every social post. Using Welcome’s digital asset management functionality, you’ll be able to store and find useful digital content to use throughout your social media campaigns.
Once you’ve found content, you can attach it directly to your calendar items to streamline your content creation process.
5. Meet Deadlines and Get Into a Workflow
The final step is to monitor your team’s progress on new content throughout the campaign using the shared calendar. Make sure deadlines are met, and you should find that when publication day rolls around in your publishing schedule, your social media posts are ready for it.
Tips on Using Your Content Calendars To Improve Team Collaboration and Cohesion
Using a content calendar to plan, organize, and orchestrate your content team can take some getting used to. Here are a few tips on how you can use Welcome’s content calendar tool effectively.
- Train your content team with your software. Regardless of how good your content team may be at their jobs, without a good understanding of how our software works, they may find it difficult to adjust to the new processes. With software training, the whole team will be on the same page, and the transition towards working with Welcome’s content calendar software will be a much simpler one.
- Establish a consistent workflow. Once you begin using content calendars to track and plan your campaigns, try to stick with a consistent workflow. Don’t add or skip steps for any of your pieces of content. This will help the whole team perform their jobs without too many hiccups.
- Over-organize your calendar. The more organized your calendar is, the better. In a 2008 study, 91% of people claimed that they would be more efficient in an organized workspace. So, be sure to make the calendar as clear as possible. Use filters, tags, users, and colors to keep each item on the calendar well documented, easily retrievable, and instantly legible.
- Set aside time to monitor progress. Set aside time in your day to check that deadlines are being met and follow up with your team members who may be falling behind. If workloads need to be adjusted, Welcome’s software makes re-assigning tasks easy.
- Encourage over-communication. While Welcome’s software empowers your team members to wordlessly transfer documents and even allows for real-time collaboration, there is always a chance that something is a little unclear. Encourage your team to stay in direct contact with each other to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes.
- Don’t do away with team meetings. Whether your team is all working from one physical office space or you have remote team members, Welcome empowers everyone to collaborate on projects. Nevertheless, we recommend keeping just a few of your team meetings. Meeting over a video conference call or in a conference room can help the team to build a stronger rapport and can be an opportunity to develop a more nuanced understanding of the project as a team. You’ll find that you can not only meet deadlines, but also create high-quality content.
- Repurpose other material into blog or social media content. Remember, not all of your content needs to be entirely new. You can always repurpose studies, reviews, press releases, white papers, and webinars into other content. Welcome’s content calendar tool makes it easy for you to link older pieces of content to a task to streamline the repurposing process.
Final Thoughts: What Is a Content Calendar? How To Plan Your Content
By incorporating cloud-based content calendars into your marketing campaigns, your whole team will be able to work on the same publishing schedule and work towards the same marketing goals.
Welcome’s marketing orchestration software offers an all-in-one platform where your marketing team can collaborate, plan, and execute complex campaigns.
To see everything in action, sign up for complimentary access with Optimizely.