How To Create A Content Calendar You Can Stick To

by Frank Dale

If you’re a content marketer, you know that content calendars are a lot like New Years resolutions: hard to stick to.

In fact, both content calendars and resolutions tend to fail for many of the same reasons. Perhaps you committed to a goal that’s too big or your support group falls apart. Maybe you just don’t know where to begin.

Instead of giving up on your content marketing plans, as four out of five people do with their resolutions, make a plan that works for your company.

Start by mapping out all the content your organization produces. There’s probably more than you think. In addition to blogs, write down all forms of content, including videos, photos, presentations, webinars, social media posts, marketing materials, press releases, industry and business articles, white papers, FAQs and events.

Sort this content into categories or types. Creating content categories ensures that your organization covers a broad range of topics, not just marketing. Categories can include: events, best practices, company news and marketing, among others.

Identify who is creating this content. Your organization has content authors who don’t know they’re authors. Anyone with hands-on experience within the company has a story to tell and can contribute to your content marketing effort. This includes employees from different areas of your company (marketing, IT, legal) as well as external authors (customers, partners, industry thought leaders).

Determine how much and how often your authors can contribute. Some authors can easily provide a steady stream of content (social media managers, public relations, customers), while others may be more sporadic (event planners, video producers).

Once you’ve completed these steps, develop a simple spreadsheet that includes all this information.

From this document, you can begin to create a content calendar. I like using a traditional monthly calendar because I can easily see what content is planned and when.

Be realistic about what your organization can accomplish. It might be helpful to think about frequency using a method  content strategist Russell Sparkman calls the “1-7-30-4-2-1” method.

“1” represents the content your organization can commit to publishing daily. This might be something as easy as the sharing of industry news via Twitter or Facebook.

“7” refers to weekly content, such as a blog post.

“30” is what your organization can publish monthly. These might be more extensive content pieces, such as an e-newsletter or video.

“4” refers to a quarterly content commitment, such as a white paper, e-book or contest.

“2” is biannual content, such as an event, new brochure or webcast.

“1” is annual content, such as an event, conference or app.

Finally, it’s important to think of each of these content pieces as something that can be broken down into smaller bits and entered on the calendar. For example, a video of an event can be broken down into smaller videos that can be shared over time.

Approaching content marketing in these steps allows marketers to easily build a content calendar that’s sustainable. Heck, it’s easier than dieting, right?

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