Steps to creating a content calendar and publication schedule

Planning comes before doing

When it comes to sending out a press release, a tweet, or even a blog post at the right time, balancing content can get overwhelming.

horses in a starting gate as a metaphor for content planning
Planning content and getting it organized to run when you want it to and where you want it to can feel like trying to get a bunch of thoroughbred racing horses into a starting gate.

Get organized with a content planner

Let’s face it – content is king. It can be the basis for a marketing strategy, the conversation starter for social media threads. Luckily, there are tools to help you plan and manage what you have to say and when you plan to put it out there.

Using digital marketing, or promotion of brands via any of the many forms of electronic media, can make or break that brand’s success. But, it requires a marketing strategy. No worries; there are plenty of templates for you to follow before you find the way that works perfectly for you and your business. (Click for our Charleston office’s overview of digital marketing.)

The plan: Plans typically stretch the span of 6 months or a year, or can be divided by the quarter.

Pre-planning Considerations

Before you sit down to draw up a plan, you need to know what you’re planning for. When you decide to create a content calendar, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What draws customers to buy your product?
  2. What are your goals for profit?
  3. What do you want to say?
  4. Who exactly are your customers?
  5. What questions can you answer? What problems can you solve by posting your content?
  6. What will your content commit you to? Is it a reasonable expectation?

Additional to these questions, it will be important for you to keep in mind logistical and basic concerns like where customers can find your product, making sure they know where to find your product and its specifications. Perhaps most important of all is taking into account why they should care about what you have to offer after reading the post.

What goes into a calendar

Starting on the calendar for your content publications can feel like a daunting task. But honestly, the first step, deciding what information goes where, is the hardest step. Whether you use a spreadsheet, a calendar template, or a Word document, an editorial calendar is simply a tool to keep yourself on-track. Simple calendars include the social media channel to use, the author of the post, the content if it’s something short like a tweet, and the corresponding date and time to post.

If you have multiple people working together to manage the company editorial calendar, make sure everyone knows what he or she is responsible for and include this in the logistics as well.

When thinking in terms of criteria, consider these tips:

  1. Space it out: you won’t necessarily need to post every day in every social stream, so decide on what frequency you want to plan for. If you need to make adjustments along the way, don’t worry. Having a basic idea is the best start.
  2. Make categories: Not all posts are created equal. Some will be blogs, tweets, etc. This means that their timing is going to vary. Color coding on your calendar will help you space out certain posts from one another, allowing you to differentiate between more urgent or weighty content releases. So, establish a system and stick with it.
  3. Plan around holidays and events: If a post needs to go out near a holiday to be relevant or eye-catching, make sure it goes there on your calendar. Otherwise, it could get pushed aside until long after its timeliness.

If you want some more tips or pointers on your calendar, check out these examples with CoSchedule, an online software used for planning editorial calendars with templates you can download, or at Top Rank Blog, a site that gives advice on content marketing, SEO, and more, including more downloadable editorial calendar templates.


Resources

   Additional Resources: If you want a few other helps for planning blog content, download our Charleston office’s blog checklist and blog planning worksheet.

 

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