KEEP TRACK OF YOUR BLOG POSTS WITH THIS CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE16 of February 2017
WHAT IS A CONTENT CALENDAR?
Whether you’re working with a group of freelancers or you’re going solo to produce content for your site, it’s easy to get bogged down with content. You can easily keep track of who is writing an article for you, on what subject and at what stage they are at in the writing process with a content calendar.
A content calendar is also known as an editorial calendar. Not only will it keep you and your content more organised, but it also creates accountability for yourself and other team members. Everyone knows their deadlines and responsibilities which in turn helps streamline your business. If you set dates for when you will publish your blog posts, you’re more likely to write and post on those days if they’re scheduled in your calendar.
HOW DO YOU USE A CONTENT CALENDAR?
My editorial calendar is often where I start my day. I know what content I need to work on or at what stage another article might be at. Although I use Google Docs and often use a filename to quick search a document, having all the links and information for every single piece of content allows me to quickly access documents for all our blog posts, podcast notes or video scripts all from one place.
In the beginning, it may be easy to remember what content that you have written about in your blog but consider that you may be running this blog for several years or even decades if you’re successful, so you may not remember all the topics that you’ve covered months or years down the line. A content calendar is a quick way to sift through all the content that you’ve already posted to make sure that you avoid duplicate posts on the same topic. You can do a quick search by using the ‘find’ tool in Google Docs.
Of course, you can always add other content as well as blog content, however, I like to keep my various different mediums in separate tabs of the same spreadsheet. You can easily add a new tab to the template by clicking the + button on the left-hand side. Some of my additional tabs include video, podcast and pages for the site. However, I keep my social media separated because it’s quite extensive and this is something I outsource to a freelancer using a Social Media Schedule.
I often use our editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas for future blog posts, podcasts etc. I may have a random idea and just add them to the calendar without including a publishing date or even started writing any content. It’s great to to go back through the the ideas that I’ve had as sometimes they can help prompt me in the future to write content for these ideas and titles.
Since this content calendar is a spreadsheet, it’s easy to move content around. So, even though I often use the editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas I can move my content easily so that all the content that I’m working on at present is altogether and easiest for me to view and work on.
There may be times when you have an idea for content that would be better published at a later date, especially if it is a keyword that might get a higher search during a certain holiday. For example, an idea about goal setting might be more relevant at New Year than during the summer. Some topics may have lost popularity by the time you come to write it, but there may be a chance to write something in the future, so keep these ideas for a later date.
ADDING NOTES FOR UPDATING BLOG POSTS
A content calendar is also good place to add notes about the posts that you’ve already published. For example, you may need to update images and content at a later date and you can this information to remind you in the future. You can also keep track on when your content was published, updated or may need updating again, especially if you have seasonal posts.
You might also want to use the editorial calendar as a way to highlight which posts are more popular. This will be extremely helpful for creating content that will more likely to engage your audience.
OUTSOURCING CONTENT CREATION
If you working with a team of people who are writing content for your blog, the editorial calendar is the perfect place to make sure everyone stays organised and knows when they are expected to post content. If you have freelancers who are researching or writing blog posts they can also add information so you can keep track of that progress.
You should make sure that your freelancers keep track of their work by filling in the content calendar where necessary. Forgetting to update the status of an article they are working on, this will slow down efficiency and create more work in the long run.
Even if you’re currently working as a ‘one-man band’, consider that as your blog expands you may want to add more content writers to your blog. Getting in the practice of using an editorial calendar is good exercise in staying organised and will greatly benefit any future writers who work on your blog. It is a small and easy way to look professional and make an easier transition from working on the blog by yourself to employing team members to help you. Retrospectively filling in this content is way harder than filling it in as you go. That’s why this template is extremely valuable even if you are working alone.
CUSTOMIZING YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE
Although there are many paid content calendars available now, using a content calendar spreadsheet is not only free but is also easily customizable to fit your own personal (or team’s) needs. In my own editorial calendar, I use colour coded tabs so that I can easily scan through my sheets and see which posts are in the research, writing or published phase. This also means that well researched and written content never gets forgotten!
If you’re using Google Drive you can easily add the links of all your content, so that you can easily access any blog posts that are currently being written, as well as view images, audio or video files that will be part of your content.
Although I have a main sheet that I use to schedule blog posts that I’ll publish or update during the week, I also have individual sheets for each type of content. For example, this spreadsheet includes sheets for blog post, reposts, videos, podcasts and any important social media campaigns we currently have running.
You can download our Content Calendar Template by entering your email in the box above and having it send to your inbox. You can start using the content calendar immediately to organise and streamline your content creation.