A guide to creating and managing your content calendar

A content marketing strategy is essential for small business owners today. Content marketing, as you probably know, means using your content as a marketing tool – but you can’t just share any piece of content on any platform without thought. This is where a content calendar comes in. 

Creating a content calendar from scratch may seem overwhelming – especially if you haven’t done it before. That’s why we’ve shared an easy-to-download template to use at the end of this article. 

Using content to find customers

When you build a website, the main aim is for your customers – and potential customers – to find you easily. Sadly, this won’t just happen automatically – you need to optimise your content for search engines, like Google, to find you. One way of doing this is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A fairly easy win in terms of SEO is publishing regular, fresh, high-quality content on your website or blog. You can also share these content pieces on social media to expand your reach and generate more traffic to your site.

In fact, blogging is one of the most effective ways to help grow your business. According to HubSpot, 82% of marketers who blog see a positive Return On Investment (ROI) from inbound marketing.

Benefits of a content calendar

Consistency is essential when building an audience: you want your readers to know what to expect from you, and when. A content calendar is a predetermined content plan that explains which content pieces you’ll post when, and why. In short, it’s an editorial schedule that helps you prepare in advance the type of content you’ll distribute.

You can decide how far in advance you’d like to plan your content according to your content strategy, but we’d recommend at least 6 months in advance. 

Using a content calendar will help with the following:  

  • Keep your posting schedule organised and consistent.
  • Reduce the risk of forgetting to post new content as planned.
  • Make it easier to plan content around important dates, like holidays or relevant events.
  • Provide a visual workflow for creating content on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Creating a content calendar

The most challenging aspect of creating your content calendar is lining it up with your content marketing key objectives. It’s a good idea to set aside some time to brainstorm a few ideas and from there, decide on the most relevant, helpful and interesting pieces. 

If you’re at a loss for ideas, don’t worry. Luckily, there are many platforms you can use to source content ideas most relevant to your audience. To help you feel inspired, consider:

  • Researching competitors or industry giants to see which topics their readers respond well to.
  • Analysing your analytics to determine which articles have performed the best or had the most engagement on your platforms.
  • Using a tool (like Buzzsumo) to source popular content related to your audience interests.
  • Browsing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) customers have submitted to you in the past and creating content around these answers

Once you’ve decided on the topics, start scheduling them into your content calendar so you can plan accordingly. There are even scheduling tools you can use if you don’t have time to do it manually.

Alternatively, we’ve provided an easy-to-use downloadable content calendar template which can be customised according to your brand. 

A simplified content calendar

Creating and managing your content marketing initiatives can be tricky. Planning and being organised will make this important task more manageable. 

A content calendar is a powerful and effective way of being proactive about your marketing goals. It can help you remain accountable to your content commitment and help you reassess – at any time – if your planned content is still relevant and consistent. Not sure where to start? Download this free content calendar template.

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