A content calendar is a living, visual document, and it is used to plan and organize content creation and delivery deadlines in support of social media management and SEO content strategy. This resource is not only useful for assignment clarity and timeline relevance but also for ensuring SEO optimization. Best provided in a central and shared location, this plan includes the content ideas to be developed and when that content will be of greatest relevance to users (e.g. seasons, holidays) and business goals (e.g. driving traffic, increased ROI potential).
When building the content calendar, align it with marketing objectives and the platform sharing the content. Thus, as you develop a calendar or continue to build your calendar out into the next months or year, the calendar can include data evaluation, continued assessment of keyword performance, and current content to be refreshed or updated. As the calendar develops, be sure to include topics and angles suitable for various content types such as the company blog and social media channels. While those platforms should align with messaging, the specific content should differ. Those who are newer to SEO and digital marketing efforts typically begin with a reflection on business goals, a brainstorming of key topics, and initial keyword research, as they start to consider what new content to create and develop. Whether from assessment of ongoing data sources in relation to current content or starting to develop keyword-focused content for initial deployment, use of a content calendar helps individuals and teams manage the content creation and publishing process in a feasible and meaningful manner.
However you choose to display or share your content, the goal of that content calendar is that all involved know what actions or tasks are due, those that have been completed, and who is responsible for each component of the ongoing work. Those using the calendar should understand the trajectory of ongoing projects and past projects and be able to anticipate upcoming project needs.
Why Use a Content Calendar
- Clarity: To achieve goals, tasks, and deadlines, all parties involved need to understand how these threads unite and have enough time to complete their assignments. Since multiple parties may be involved in publishing even a single piece of content, most projects incorporate more than one deadline from inception to completion.
- Collaboration: Content calendars help ensure alignment for all collaborators and transparency in terms of accountability. Especially when negotiating multiple digital spaces and individual entities who may each be responsible for deploying content into that space, the calendar helps save time for all with its timeline clarity.
- Timeliness: For both content marketing efforts and intended audiences, a content calendar is beneficial for facilitating timely and relevant content. Taking advantage of seasonal relevance or holiday associations is essential in user relevance and engagement. To leverage these factors, the content must be available in advance of the actual day or months to which they relate. Thus, advanced planning is essential. Furthermore, consistency in the timeliness of content also helps establish a relationship with users and builds their confidence in your company or brand.
- Performance tracking: Including this information on the content calendar clearly illustrates what content is performing well and why, as well as content that is not performing well. Seeing the current performance can help with evaluating which content to revisit or discard, as well as generating new ideas or strategies.
Common Misconceptions about Content Calendars
Since research and SEO-driven topics are so essential to content development, the actual content calendar may seem less important, since individuals or teams are aware of their roles and assignments. However, the ability to collaborate and adjust timelines or content as needed ensures effective and positive engagement. Content calendars also include previous content, performance information, and brainstorming opportunities that are not limited to one particular type of content or role in content development but are important for aligning all work with the company’s growth goals.
Another common misconception about content calendars is that a simple calendar with only final deadlines is necessary. Although backwards mapping from an anticipated final deadline can be helpful in ensuring enough time for all involved parties to complete a project, a content calendar can be more effective and meaningful with additional functionality and communication access. For example, the option to select a view that includes published content during the month versus completed but yet unscheduled content assists in planning for the tasks for upcoming months. Instead of having multiple calendars that each have a designated function but don’t communicate with each other, a single shared calendar with all of the functions necessary and relevant to the marketing strategy is key.
Although some believe that a content calendar is most useful for content like blog posts, incorporating all tasks and even communications, like special offers or upcoming events, support alignment for all stakeholders and consistency for the users. For clear communication to all involved parties and purposeful delivery of any type of content, content calendars enable streamlining in relation to a marketing objective, as well as diversification in content creation and delivery.
Although you may have a planning calendar for your business or insight into significant seasons or holidays as appropriate to your brand, contact APD for additional support in optimizing your content marketing strategy and maximizing productivity and potential with a content calendar.