When you’re planning content for the next week, month, or quarter, use content calendar templates to help you organise what you’ll be posting, when, and where.
Why use a template?
The simplest way to plan content is a list of topics and dates. But if that was really all anyone needed, then we wouldn’t all be searching ‘content calendar’ like it’s going out of fashion!
You probably know that the hard part of blogging is promoting your content to drive traffic to your website. HubSpot recommend you spend 1.5x as much time on promotion compared with creating content, if you want to see a good return on your investment.
Keeping track of those promotional efforts is a key reason most people need to get organised, so using content calendar templates will make it much easier to:
- corral the information you need about each post in one place
- balance different content types, topics and themes
- integrate with your other task-tracking and workflow arrangements.
Arranging the dates
How you arrange the dates in your calendar will depend on your typical content creation strategy.
If you like to tackle content creation a little at a time, use a traditional day-to-day calendar. This is easy to organise in Google Calendar, or iCal, or even in a paper diary with plenty of space. You add your main content items on relevant dates, then fill in all your promotional posts. You can then read up on the day’s publishing list when you sit down to write.
On the other hand, if you batch-produce your content, a weekly structure is easier. Create a row for each week, and add a column for each channel. Within each box you can then list all those posts for the week, along with the day, time, and topic. As you’re ticking off content tasks, it’ll be easy to get everything scheduled up for each channel, and avoid missing a key post.
We’ve put together two content calendar templates, so you can choose the layout you prefer.
There’s lots of ways you can add colour-coding to your content calendar templates. You can vary fonts, styles or textures, if you’re colour blind, or saving on printing costs.
Try using colour, or font, to indicate:
- channels, or post types, on a daily calendar
- status of each item – drafted, edited, images complete, posted, etc.
- promotional posts that belong to each key content item.
Have a think about what information is most important to you, and prioritise that when you’re choosing one or more colour codes. And don’t forget to include a key!
When to post
There are three aspects of timing to consider here.
First, you can find lots of research online about the most effective time and frequency of posting for each social media channel. These articles are a great starting point if you’re new to producing content on a regular basis.
Over time, make sure to track your engagement and reach for different days and times. Not every audience is identical, so this will help you optimise your own schedule.
Second, tools like HootSuite and Buffer can help you increase the number of posts you put out, without a huge increase in work. There are lots of other scheduling tools as well. Use them to create duplicates of promotional tweets, or other posts, to sprinkle throughout your up-to-the-minute content. Use the same text in each, or add variety with quotes from your content.
There’s space at the end of each of our content calendar templates to mark in these scheduled posts. Then it’s simple to add them into the next month when you start planning again. If you’re using a digital calendar or diary, this is even easier. Create a content that will stay relevant for a long time, so you can also schedule out promotional posts way in advance – you could tweet a link to the same article once a month for 6 months, for example, without overloading your feed with repeated content.
Finally, the biggest influence on your posting schedule will be your availability. There’s no point in planning to blog 3 times a week if you only have time to write for an hour or two per month. If you’re determined to keep up a busy stream of content when you’re short on time, it’s worth hiring a freelancer to work with you. A professional writer or virtual assistant can come up with ideas, write drafts, do research, and edit posts for you, so you can focus on your business.
Content calendar templates
Once you’ve considered these three elements, you’ll be able to go about creating your own calendar. We have a couple of templates for you to download – a weekly one with columns for all your channels, and a daily one where you can colour code to your heart’s content.