A content calendar is an essential part of any Content Marketing campaign. It must receive special attention and always be up to date. It will greatly simplify the execution of the campaign throughout the quarter. Why, and more particularly how, should you proceed? We reveal all.
The objectives of a content calendar
Building a content calendar will allow you to fulfil certain goals that are critical to the successful execution of your Content Marketing.
1. Visualize clearly your campaign for the quarter
You have planned about thirty publications. What pace do you need to keep? By accurately determining a release date for each item, you make sure that you will have a steady pace of delivery.
Consequently, you may realize that the number of articles is too small and adapt your efforts accordingly. Typically, your blog should produce at the very least a new article per week. On the other hand, publishing every day could be too ambitious a goal, which could impact on the quality of each piece.
2. Enable coordination of stakeholders
Your content is certainly not the work of one person, especially if the nature of the content varies. Writers, story tellers, designers, a video team are often involved and must work hand in hand. And it’s not just about the content creators. As such, your community manager also has an interest in knowing in advance which content they will be responsible for posting on your social networks
A content calendar is even more useful if you rely on outside resources such as freelancers, or influential media figures writing a sponsored article for you (via a networking platform like getfluence.com). You will ensure that these external stakeholders are on the same track as your internal teams.
3. Synchronize your content with real life
Forecasting content posting during a quarter is a very abstract plan. Building a content calendar allows you to synchronize your articles with specific dates, seasons, and events. These can be related to everyday life (Halloween, Mardi Gras, the beginning of spring) or specific to your industry (such as holding a high-profile international trade show).
Your content will resonate a lot more if it’s related to real life. It will be more useful and shared more often on social networks.
How to get going
1. Best practices
For your calendar, do not use an “offline” file that you exchange by email with every update (very messy). Instead, host your calendar on the cloud, so that it’s always accessible to your entire team.
There are several approaches, but usually the columns represent days and weeks, while the lines are used to distribute the content. It is up to you to divide it up according to the themes, according to the types of content (article, video, visual), depending on the media, or depending on the teams involved.
One thing is certain: it must be possible to assign content on a specific date, with one-day accuracy. Lastly: a file works for a quarter, no more. Each new quarter has its new calendar.
2. Save time with these tools
The Google suite with Google Sheets (an Excel clone) on Google Drive (online storage) is ideally suited. You can even manage authorizations, some participants can edit the document, others can only comment on it. There are many calendar templates on Google Sheets that you can import.
Of course, there are also dedicated online tools, one of the best being the Percolate solution. A paid but more aesthetic and powerful application than Google Sheets. For example, the calendar display is optimized depending on whether you view it on a PC, tablet or smartphone.
3. Remain flexible
Ensure the content calendar remains flexible. Depending on the news related to your sector, you must be able to swap two posts or insert new unplanned content. The editorial calendar should not be set in stone, unlike the other elements of the Content Marketing strategy. This is also how you will make the difference vis-à-vis your competitors…