If you create content in any shape or form, you know how important it is to have a clear and documented plan for publishing and promoting your content. A content calendar enables you to turn your ideas into an organized plan so you can stick to your publishing schedule and keep your content strategy in sync.
We’ve created a free content calendar template so you can easily plan your own content schedule.
A content calendar is a high-level plan content strategists use to schedule and track content initiatives across marketing channels. Think of it as a roadmap for all the tactics you regularly employ in your content marketing strategy, such as blog posts, email newsletters, social media, webinars, videos, and more.
Looking for a more detailed plan to manage and track content development? Check out our blog content calendar template. You can use it to build out and assign the day-to-day tasks that go into content production.
Good content doesn’t happen by accident. It takes time and intention to create—and you’ve got goals to hit and deadlines to meet. If you want to keep your team aligned and your strategy on track, you need a plan of action.
That’s exactly what a content calendar helps you do. Let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits of using a content calendar to plan and manage your content strategy.
A content calendar makes it easy to:
Essentially, a content calendar enables you to stay organized and efficient so you can publish content right on schedule.
When you have a whole team producing different types of content, it can be tough to ensure everyone knows what’s happening when across multiple marketing channels.
Here’s how to build a simple content calendar that’s easy to share with your team and leaders so everyone can track content marketing initiatives throughout the year.
Every solid strategy needs objectives. Work with your team and leaders to determine what your content should accomplish, making sure these goals align with your overall marketing strategy. That way you know exactly what you’re aiming for and have a clear path to content success.
Get your team together to discuss all the creative ways you can engage your target audience through content. The frequency and cadence of these meetings will depend on the type of content you need to plan. For example, you might meet monthly to brainstorm topics for your blog, podcast, or webinar calendar and quarterly to generate ideas for your next white paper, video campaign, or email series.
You want to be sure the content you create meets people where they are. So determine which channels will be most effective at helping you reach your target audience and hit your content goals.
Don’t forget to consider how each channel will inform the format and frequency of the content you deliver. For instance, you might post short-format, visual content to your social media channels multiple times a day and publish long-format articles on your blog once a week.
Start by adding regularly scheduled content—like blog posts, newsletters, podcast episodes, and webinars—to the calendar. Then fill in major project and campaign launch dates to ensure they sync up with recurring content you may use to promote new initiatives.
Got great ideas that don’t have a place in the schedule right now? Don’t let them slip away! Keep a backlog of ideas so you can fit them into your content schedule, if and when it makes sense.
Be sure every piece of content you produce has an owner and everyone knows what they’re responsible for and when. Monitor your content calendar regularly so you can spot content that’s running behind before it gets too far off track.
While a content calendar runs on deadlines, it’s a living, breathing document. Your content schedule should be flexible enough to roll with the punches if plans change and timelines shift along the way.
Remember to keep your team updated as content moves through the process, and notify anyone responsible for promotion when content goes live.
There’s no single right tool for scheduling your content. You can successfully use an Excel or Google doc, Kanban board, online calendar, or any other planning tool and method out there. The most important thing is simply to document your content plan.
To help you build your plan faster, we created a free content calendar template that’s easy to update. While the primary view is a gantt chart, you can view your content schedule as a calendar too—whatever works best for you.
Now that you’ve got a template to get you started, let’s look at a few examples of how you can build and manage your content calendar in TeamGantt.
Before we dig into the details, let’s take a quick look at two different ways you can view and manage your content marketing calendar.
This is your core view for planning out your content schedule. Gantt charts give you a high-level view of what’s live and what’s coming down the content pipeline. The flexible drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to move things around on the schedule as needed. You can also see where content is in the process and ensure everything’s on track to publish on time.
Looking for a more traditional content calendar format? Simply toggle to Calendar view and your tasks will be calendarized. This is a great way to see how all of your content marketing initiatives align over time.
As an added bonus, you can access a lot of the same helpful tools found in Gantt view—such as rescheduling dates, assigning task owners, updating progress, and leaving comments. So feel free to make it your go-to format for viewing and managing your content schedule.
In this content calendar example, we organized our publication schedule into monthly task groups, with each task representing a piece of content that’s scheduled to go live that week.
Here’s how to build an organized calendar that makes it easy to see what’s done and what’s to come in your content schedule.
If you’re a super-organizer, subgroups may be your new best friend. Feel free to break your tasks down into as many subgroups as you like. For instance, you might want to create subgroups for each week of your content schedule so it’s easy to skim your gantt chart and see what’s on deck—and how things are progressing—from week to week.
Need to schedule a new week or month of content? You can duplicate task groups to save time on task setup. Simply plug in fresh labels for the new week or month of content, and drag and drop a group or task to reschedule it on your content calendar.
A content calendar serves as a tool to increase visibility and knowledge-sharing. So give each content type its very own task color to create a visual language for your calendar. That way your team can easily see what content types and topics are publishing when. It also makes it easy to filter your content schedule.
It’s also a good idea to assign each deliverable to its content owner. This keeps publication deadlines top of mind so the person responsible can monitor and follow up on content to ensure it gets delivered on time.
Once content production begins, you’ll want to track progress and keep your team informed as work evolves or gets checked off the list. These tips can help you out.
Bring clarity to the status of your content by updating the percent complete. You can do this directly from the Gantt view or click on an item in the Calendar view to update progress and any other task details.
You might want to assign certain percentages to stages of your content process. Here’s an example of how that might look:
Feel free to adapt percentages to your own team’s workflow. Just be sure everyone’s on the same page about what each progress marker means when it comes to content status.
Publishing an article on your blog or posting a new video to YouTube isn’t typically the end of the story. You want to promote your content across various channels to extend its reach.
That’s why it’s important to keep your editorial team in the loop when new content is ready to be shared on social or in your next newsletter.
Once you’ve updated the % Complete to 100%, make it easy for your team to access published content by adding the final link or uploading the final document in the Discussion tab. Be sure to tag your teammate(s) in the Comments to notify them when content is ready for promotion.
Ready to get started on your calendar? We’ve created a free content calendar template for you in TeamGantt so you can jump right in!
Customizing the template is quick and easy, thanks to TeamGantt’s drag and drop simplicity. And since everything’s online, your whole team can collaborate on activities in real time.
Sign up for a free TeamGantt account today, and plan your content projects better.