How to Build a Super-Organized Content Calendar

June 1, 2014 by

More and more brands are taking on content marketing as part of their strategy, but like any marketing tactic, it needs to be well organized. Marketing campaigns revolve around launch dates and flight schedules, but content marketing is different. It's not a campaign. It's not "one and done." Content marketing is a living, breathing, ongoing program. So how do you schedule something that sounds like a rampant monster wreaking havoc on your business? Don't worry; it's not as scary as you may think.

Align With Your Company Initiatives

This is where I always start. No matter how many years I've worked at a company, I always start fresh each year because, like you, our markets, audience, products, and people are constantly changing and growing.

What are your biggest initiatives for the year? Write them down. Consider product launches or updates, major holidays, events, marketing campaigns, etc. This doesn't just apply to your company, but to your market and your competitors. Start off big with this list and edit from there. It’s fine if you don't have the details for the entire year. Try to get as many details down as you can to kick off the calendar.

Related Class: Blueprint for Content Marketing Strategy

Establish Themes

Once you have the major events and initiatives secured, your content themes will come naturally. Themes are the major topics you'll be covering throughout the year with your content and they should align with your initiatives. For example, what are the main topics of the events you're attending? What are the educational messages that support your product launches? What type of content will you have around major holidays?

Create a Big Picture and Detailed View

Your calendar should not just be a guide for your marketing plan. It should be put to use every day. From 30,000 feet, your boss or boss' boss should clearly see the themes and major content launches, such as webinars or ebooks. At the same time, the calendar should include the nitty-gritty details that you or your content manager needs, such as blog post launch dates or upcoming Facebook posts.

Develop a Quarterly Schedule

While getting your themes and content topics down to the weekly level is great for organization and planning, it's not an easy starting point. Instead, start broad with quarterly or monthly themes and work on getting more detailed and focused as you execute your content and calendar. As long as you have a general direction to start, you'll be in good shape.

Share With the Entire Company

Your calendar is a valuable tool for your entire company. It lets other teams know what topics and content you're creating so they can be prepared to share it and even contribute. They may have ideas for themes or could use the content to start conversations, close deals, or grow relationships.

Use a content calendar tool that everyone can easily access. I like to use Smartsheet to house all of the content and then sync it automatically to a Google Calendar shared with the entire organization. I name the Google Calendar "Content Calendar" so everyone clearly knows what it is and can toggle it on and off as they choose.

Analyze Results and Refine

improve results

Content marketing is always morphing and changing as the market and your audience dictate what they find valuable. Keep this in mind as you refine and prepare your calendar. Remember that content marketing is about helping your audience, not your brand, so your calendar should always keep your audience in mind.

Get started on your calendar today and watch how it not only helps your content get organized, but also helps you get more organized, too. Suddenly that monster is tame, on a strong leash, and ready to be led wherever you want to go.

For 10 actionable strategies that can be implemented as soon as today to improve your content's impact, watch Amanda Nelson's Online Marketing Institute class, Advanced Strategies to Mobilize Your Content Marketing.

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