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How to Create an Awesome Content Marketing Calendar

 

Let’s face it, creating a content marketing calendar may not be the sexiest topic in the world. But your content marketing calendar is in fact one of the most important tools you will use as part of your content marketing program. The problem with content marketing calendars is that one size does not fit all and what works for one team may not work for another. In my role at SocialNicole, I tend to be the originator of most content marketing calendars that we use for our clients. It’s true, I love sitting down and figuring out what the best way to organize a team is. It sounds boring, but there is a lot of thinking and strategy that goes behind content calendars. To create one you have to be looking at your team as a whole and also looking at individual roles. What I have found is that no two calendar systems are the same and there is a lot of trial and error to find a system that works. Yes you heard it – system. Did you think it was as easy as creating one calendar and you were done? Ok, maybe for smaller business clients one simple calendar will suffice for the entire content marketing program. But for companies with multiple content marketing components who are publishing multiple times in a week one simple calendar does not cut it.

Here is our approach creating marketing calendars:

  1. Setup a Master Marketing Calendar. We use a template that is based off of this free template from Brandeo.We customize our templates to fit our clients, but have found this template is a great place to start. What makes it great? It has all forms of marketing listed, it is broken up by weekly slots and it spans an entire year. For a small business who is not publishing very often, this may be all you will need. But for bigger clients this is simply to keep all our efforts moving ahead in the same direction.
  2. We use a Google spreadsheet as a master marketing calendar and create tabs for the additional calendars we may need to add. For our additional calendars we use Google Spreadsheets to create them based on what types of marketing we are doing. We typically create a spreadsheet for each newsletter and blog we publish. On the sheets, we create columns for information we need to include in the post or article, and columns for topic, title, date, notes/research, keywords, date published, etc. You can customize this spreadsheet to contain whatever information you need to track. Check out Kay Loire‘s recent guest post titled Creating a Content Calendar for Your Blog for an example of what a blog calendar may look like and see an example below!
  3. A final spreadsheet we like to include in our content marketing calendar dynasty is one that tracks keywords and topic ideas. We approach content marketing for our clients with a SEO focus, knowing that we want to balance creating useful content with searchable content. Part of our content strategy approach is to research and identify popular keyword phrases and topics that people are talking about in an industry. The art and science involved in creating awesome content that meets the needs of potential customers comes from building a strategy based on listening, research and planning. Once we have done that we prepare a spreadsheet with the ideas mapped out to guide clients in their creation. Including this research in the master calendar document means that at editorial meetings all staff can refer to the master calendar as well as topic ideas to come up with new content.

How To Keep Your Content Marketing Program Moving Ahead

Keeping an active content marketing program running is a challenge, especially on limited budgets with limited staff. As a premium content marketing company, SocialNicole offers full service solutions to companies to support their content marketing programs regardless of budgets. Some of the tools we use to run these programs include: Google Docs – A cloud based document sharing system that allows real-time updates and collaboration is essential. Typically content marketing is a collaboration among team members and having a calendar that any team member can access is essential. We love Google Docs because it works seamlessly with Microsoft Office products and it’s easy to learn and use. Basecamp – Choosing a project management software is another essential component. We like Basecamp at SocialNicole because it allows us to build collaborative teams that include our clients and customize permissions. Basecamp is simple to use and allows teams to share documents, setup to do’s and keep track of conversations. The “to do” funciton is essential to move content from creation to editing to approval and publishing. We use the calendar function in conjunction with our other calendar to keep track of things as we go forward. As you move ahead with a blog or newsletter for your company, it will become more and more apparent that a content marketing calendar is what you need. Content calendars are essential to make things run as smoothly as possible and keeping your team on track! Do you have a content marketing calendar already?  Ready to try one out?  Share your favorite resources below!  Photo Credit

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