In March of 2012, I joined Lawson Software, now Infor, and was tasked with creating, editing and managing a corporate blog. At first, since I had created a personal blog, Shareology, this seemed like a no-brainer.
While working on Shareology I was bemused by someone who suggested to map out a year’s worth of blogging topics on a content calendar. This was soooooooooooo not me. I wrote blog posts based on what I stumbled across or could take pictures of.
Fast forward to March of this year. In order to get corporate approval for the blog, my boss suggested I lay out a content calendar. Corporate approval hinged on proving we had enough content to sustain a blog; employees who started and abandoned blogs were not popular. A content calendar? From ME? Panic Time! Naturally, I emailed SocialNicole to see if she had any formats that worked for her. I also did some fast googling to see what was out in the blogosphere. After I jammed some headings together in excel, and ran them by Nicole, she said that was very similar to what she had seen and used.
I found using a color bar to separate the weeks made the content calendar look “as if I meant it.” I also thought I’d like check off columns by each post to prove I’d blown each out to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. The check off columns did not last. (I had more platforms for promotion than I had columns.)
For me, the key headings were Date, Author, and Title (see picture below). I also found that Category really helped to ensure I was putting each post in a spot it could be found as the content of the blog grew and it became harder to find specific posts. Finally, I added a column to number the posts, since I was getting asked how many we had written, and I was tired of trying to count them over and over.
- platforms on social media I used to promote the blog
- stats (another en
tire post in and of itself) and
- A list of my 20 potential writers. Some weeks we went wild with content and had six posts per week.
Some weeks we had as few as two posts. I’ve finally settled on doing a Monday, Wednesday and Friday post with the more serious topics earlier in the week. Since we use the blog to get news out, sometimes we hit more than three posts a week as we spontaneously add our news. As the blog matures, I predict we might move to fewer posts per week. A sample layout of the content calendar is at the end of this post.
I’d like to leave you with two thoughts:
Nicole was absolutely right that each person customizes a content calendar depending on their own needs and goals. “There is no right way – you have to be creative and flexible as you are!”
I still stand in total awe of those who can lay out a calendar for a year in advance. However, as I serve as editor for a collection of more than twenty authors, I am profoundly grateful for my content calendar.