5 Reasons You Need A Content Marketing Calendar

It’s not the sexiest part of your digital strategy, but creating a content calendar is essential for marketing success. It sets you up for consistency internally, promotes flexibility and innovation when it comes to content, and helps your audience know what to expect from your brand and when.

You’ve already done the work of creating and adapting original content for distribution, and understanding which channels your content is appropriate for. The final step before your content reaches your audience is putting in place a plan for regular but varied ways to disperse it. It might take some time and resources, but it’s a worthwhile venture.

If you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons you should invest some time in finding a calendar template that works for your team.

Content marketing itself is a strategic venture. Decisions about content and its creation happen in terms of big-picture goals and small-scale pivots, which can get confusing. Having an editorial calendar is a place where you can see a panoramic view of your entire content marketing strategy.

In the sometimes scattershot world of social media and digital marketing, it’s easy to lose focus, especially if you don’t have a large, dedicated team. For many nonprofits, focus is the main challenge when it comes to digital marketing, but focus is often half the battle when it comes to reaching goals. There is something powerful that happens when you write down your plan: it becomes tangible for everyone, and something to ground yourself with when the strategy gets

As with your content strategy in general, consistency is the number one rule. Content marketing is all about consistency: providing useful content in a consistent manner helps you slowly but surely work your way into the loyal hearts of your customers. If you find your team is losing steam after the first push, a calendar is a great place to double-check you’re following through on promises.

There is a good chance that your team could benefit from better communication. Many teams use such a wide variety of tools that they often have a hard time staying on the same page. A good editorial calendar will bring them to a single place to visualize and execute their shared goals, and provide accountability.

One of the easiest ways to please your audience is to give them something that they’ll love on a regular basis. With a calendar, you’ll create better content that is more focused on what they need, and is always there at the same time in the same place. While it often seems like digital is all about speedy climbs to the top of viral charts, slow and steady is a strategy I’ve seen pay off time and time again. A content calendar helps you be strategic and steady in making sure quality content reaches the right audiences.

How to Get Started With a Calendar

Of course, how you design, share, and access your editorial calendar will ultimately depend on your particular marketing goals and available resources. But at the most fundamental level, I recommend that your editorial calendar include the following fields:

Depending on your organization's specific goals, your content team’s workflow, the formats, and platforms with which you plan to work, and the volume of content you will be creating, you may also want to track these elements to help you stay organized and on track over the long term:

Templates

Below are a few templates I found useful in researching content calendars, but really, anyone with simple Excel skills and an understanding of the brand’s bigger content picture can create a customized one.

Your calendar could be organized around timing during the day, as well as days of the week:

Source: Buffer

Or it could be organized around channel and platform:

Source: Hootsuite

Or it could be organized around theme and message:

Source: The Galvanizing Group

A digital content calendar gives you and your team a framework for being deliberate and intentional about how you are reaching and building trust with your audience. In part, it is a strategic marketing tool. In another way, it is a place to keep your team organized and on top of things. Both of these things are going to be very important if your digital strategy is to propel your brand forward.

This post originally appeared on the Ignite Digital Strategy blog. Main image via Shutterstock.

Source: Social Media Today