If you’re a digital marketer, a content writer, or any other type of communications professional, then you have probably heard of a content calendar!
Whether you’re using a platform like CoSchedule, HubSpot, Airtable, GSuite, or even a traditional notebook, a content calendar is a sure-fire way to take the reins on your content marketing strategy.
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is basically anything you use to plan, schedule, manage, organize, and create online content. This includes content for editorial blogs, social media channels, YouTube videos, and more.
Content calendars come in a variety of different formats too.
As mentioned above, sometimes you’ll see different online apps used to manage them, other times it might be a traditional printed calendar, and still others you might use something as simple as a spreadsheet.
Why do I need a content calendar?
A content calendar puts everything in one place to help you and your writing team crank out content efficiently and effectively.
For example, let’s say you’re working on a blog series this quarter to teach your target audience how to use your app. You have six different contributors and 18 different deadlines.
A content calendar will help you organize those 18 different deadlines, assign writers to each piece of content, update the status of each project, color-code your content, share notes, and so much more!
As a project manager, using this tool seriously takes away the stress of trying to stay on top of multiple writers and deadlines.
[Case study] How I use a calendar to manage online content for a church community
One of my clients is a faith community located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It wanted to ramp up its activity online, especially as its congregation grew more comfortable engaging in digital ministry.
To get them started, I created a simple content calendar alternating between devotions and prayers. These would be short digestible posts that their members could read in less than five minutes, but that would also encourage readers in their faith.
The pastoral team thought observing the liturgical calendar was an easy way to stay on the same page, so I added made sure to integrate the day’s assigned readings into the content calendar.
Initially, the team wasn’t too concerned about SEO rankings because they just wanted to connect with their immediate community. However, as this project has evolved, it’s a new priority as they enter into a new year.
The content calendar’s features are:
- Name of the writer
- The type of post (prayer, devotion, or blog article)
- Status (unassigned, drafting, submitted, scheduled, published)
- File (so they could submit posts directly to the calendar)
- Draft due date
- Publish date
- Lectionary passage
- Notes (from the editor/writer)
- Email Reminder checkbox
At the beginning of each month, I send out a link for the content calendar to the pastoral staff and writing team.
Each person visits the spreadsheet, assigns themselves content to write, and submits it by the due date (… usually, haha).
I’ll edit the content, format it into their Squarespace website, schedule it for publication, and queue up alerts for email subscribers.
The above example is from Airtable. We used a content calendar in Google Sheets for about six months before moving to the new platform, which the church is using for other internal projects.
Other content management tools:
Looking for other useful content management tools? I recommend you check out the following platforms. Most have either a free version or a free trial.
- CoSchedule (Free trial)
- Airtable (Free version; affiliate link)
- HubSpot (Free trial)
- Asana (Free version)*
*In my opinion, Asana is better used for managing projects as opposed to every aspect of a content calendar, especially if you’re only using the free version.
Free content calendar template
If you’re a church or nonprofit content manager looking for a template to help you get started, I’m giving away mine that I’ve used religiously (pun intended) to effectively manage my teams of writers.
Included with it is a user-guide that will help you get your content calendar off the ground in less than 30-minutes.
Not a church or nonprofit? No worries. This template can be adapted to suit the needs of your industry and your writing team.
Need help producing content? I help socially-conscious businesses build better relationships with their customers using purpose-driven email and engaging online content. Fill your content marketing pipeline here.