What is a content calendar?
Marketing departments use content calendars to plan and execute content output from blogs, social media, paid media, and/or any other editorial output. It is a living document that keeps track of all the marketing activities across an organization. A good content calendar will show all details and dates for past and upcoming content. It is intended to keep stakeholders organized and accountable to their upcoming marketing responsibilities as well as documenting what has been accomplished in the past.
How do I create one?
Creating a content calendar can be very simple. Deciding on the length (i.e., 6 months, 1 year) and format of the calendar is the first step. I’ve found Excel to be most useful as you can have multiple tabs within one document. The format can be whatever works best for your company/team to easily access and contribute.
Once the length/format is decided you can brainstorm content ideas with your team and organize messaging. Once messaging is organized you can plan the execution and resources for the content you plan to put into market. Simple as that!
Why is it important?
Having a calendar allows the team to set up a consistent process for copy and image creation, content and legal approval workflows, allow time for campaigns to be created and deployed in a way that all departments, product lines, and marketing teams can get their messages into the market without tiring your audience or risk sending inconsistent or conflicting messages. It also gives everyone in the organization the visibility to see what messaging is being promoted and how it aligns to business and departmental goals.
How should I execute on one?
A content marketing calendar should get very specific and include subject lines, blog post or asset titles, social copy, and resources responsible for delivery date. It should include upcoming pieces being created, planned promotional activity, status updates and updates to existing content. Documenting the message that will be in the marketplace, when it should deploy, and which marketing channels will be used makes it easy for the team to execute effectively. The team can then schedule photo/video shoots and copy/image needs based on these dates.
Who should manage?
Assigning one person to manage, keep up to date, maintain its structure, and ensuring that deadlines are not missed is the most efficient. This usually falls onto the project/program manager as they are able to drive the internal process and reschedule dates if workflows are delayed.
How do I start?
I’d recommend starting small and documenting your current state of messaging and process. This gives you a good idea of where you can improve/update. You will then need to decide where you need to add/delete content, and fill messaging and channel strategy.
A weekly standing meeting is recommended to keep all stakeholders on track and make sure roadblocks are cleared. The PM/project manager should structure these meetings as a sprint and focus on upcoming deadlines and any risks that may delay delivery dates.
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