Your complete guide to content calendars
Content calendars are your key to organizing content successfully. The tools help you plan your content strategy and use content to grow your business quickly. Without a content calendar, you can't effectively put your content strategy into action. It's as simple as that.
This blog post takes you through how content calendars work and explores some of the best practices to get the most out of your content calendar.
What is a content calendar?
Simply put, a content calendar is the framework that allows you to put your content strategy into an actionable plan. It’s a calendar, yes, but also a source of truth for yourself and your team to know when, how, and where you are publishing content. It’s the official record of everything your marketing team puts out into the world.
Who should use a content calendar?
In their simplest form, content calendars have been used by publishers for decades. Magazines and newspapers keep editorial calendars recorded stories, news, or articles that are in progress or ready for publication.
Modern content publication requires a myriad of complex considerations—all which need to be logged in a content calendar. Businesses use multiple channels to publish content from websites, landing pages, and blogs to any number of social media accounts. Nowadays, every business should be trying to publish content like they're a media outlet.
If you use content as part of your marketing strategy, then you need a content calendar to keep you focused. This applies whether you post the odd social media status, keep a blog, or regularly publish videos to YouTube.
Why is it important to have a content calendar?
We've already touched on some of the key business benefits of content calendars, but let's dive into some more details around the specifics.
Planning requires intentionality and front work. Sometimes, it may not seem worth it to spend a ton of time planning your content and instead just focus on execution. However, if you don’t spend time on planning, you’ll end up wasting time and enduring inefficiencies. A content calendar helps you keep track of what content is coming up, what’s needed to complete the content production, who is responsible for the content, and the aim of the individual content piece. Documenting this information is particularly valuable if you have a complex content strategy that you need to bring to life. A content calendar enables you to plan out the steps your business needs to take to pull off your content strategy. In short, a content calendar keeps you organized.
Your audience loves consistency. Staying constant in tone, publication cadence, and subject matter helps give people an idea of what they can expect and prompt them to keep coming back to your content for more. Unfortunately, you can’t drive this level of consistency when you’re flying by the seat of your pants.
You need to be consistent across each of your marketing channels. You need to show up when and how your audience hopes and expects that you will. If you publish or post content/ in an ad hoc manner, your audience doesn’t know what to expect and will pretty much always be surprised to hear from you. They could lose interest, or worse, lose trust in your brand.
Achieving consistency is easier said than done. Adobe Express can help. The app’s Content Scheduler lets you schedule set times to push your content live across multiple social media platforms. This way, even though you’re nowhere near your desk your content will reliably go live when you want it to. Scheduling also means that if new priorities come up and you’re under time pressure, your content is already prepped to go live without taking up more of your precious time.
Content calendars help eliminate errors. Set up your calendar to accurately keep track of dates, which content has already been used, and manage approval workflows. A content calendar helps you make sure that all typos are corrected, proof-reading takes place, and the approval process goes down without a hitch.
A content calendar will help you keep track of important holidays and events. For example, put International Women’s Day, Earth Day, and Mother’s Day in your content calendar so that the days don’t pass by your business unmarked.
Monitoring and measuring
Lastly, your content calendar makes it easier to monitor and measure success. You can see when you posted, updated, or phased out content — and use the information in conjunction with your analytics to make powerful insight-driven decisions. Your content calendar can help you run tests to see which type of content works best for your business and when your should post this optimized content. A content calendar isn’t just a planning tool. In conjunction with analytics, a content calendar becomes a powerful business tool.
When should you post content on social media?
Now that you know the benefits of keeping a current and robust content calendar, you’re probably wondering about what days and times are best to schedule your posts. Check out the following guides to learn the best and worst days and times to post on social media: