Using content to draw in customers via search results is a great way to market your business. This method has been used effectively by many large and small businesses in the last few years, and you can do it too.
All it takes is great planning and consistency. To ensure you can meet both of these requirements, you should use a content calendar. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this tool. You’ll learn how to plan a content calendar, why it’s necessary to have one, and we’ll include some useful tips too! Read on to find out more.
What Is A Content Calendar?
Essentially, a content calendar, otherwise known as an editorial calendar, is a tool that you’ll use to manage, plan, and organize all the content that you will publish to your website. The content can include articles, videos, promotional posts, and company updates. This, however, is not an exhaustive list – you can add content in any form that you prefer.
Here’s an example:
Generally, organizations plan separate content calendars for their different platforms. For example, if you’re using social media, a company blog, and you’re distributing a newsletter, then it would be best to have separate content calendars for each. This ensures that none of your posts gets mixed up, published in the wrong place, and so on. That could be a disaster!
The content calendar is a plan for a specific time frame, say 6 months or a year. On the calendar, you will include topics, keywords, and publish dates. This allows you to stay on track. You’ll always know what you need to work on next, when the deadline is, and when to publish. Running your content platforms will be easier than ever once you know how to plan a content calendar.
Why Do You Need One?
It may sound like you’re just giving yourself additional work to do. But trust us, it’s worth the effort and it will streamline your content management tasks significantly. In fact, it’s quite important to have a content calendar. Below are just some of the reasons why you should have one.
Systematizes The Growth Of Traffic
The benefits of content marketing are truly great. Producing high-quality content on a consistent basis can better your reputation, increase sales, build trust, and, most importantly, increase traffic to your site.
The important thing to note here is that you must have high-quality, consistent, content. To do this, you need a system for content creation. You can’t haphazardly choose keywords and create posts. If you’re researching content for individual posts once a week, you’re going to be extremely inconsistent and inefficient. And what does that lead to? Inconsistent traffic and inconsistent growth.
For steady and stable growth, you need to plan ahead so you can get posts out on a regular schedule. The uniformity of it all will generate better results in traffic. Therefore, by having a content calendar at hand, with everything planned out for the next year or so, you can ensure consistency and grow your traffic.
Betters Collaboration and Teamwork
If you have a few people on your content team, then you definitely need a content calendar. The tool ensures that everyone is on the same page about what the plan is. Every member of your team will know what the upcoming themes are and who is covering what.
As the manager, you can add notes, instructions, references, and deadlines onto the content calendar. This means nobody will be in the dark about what they have due. And, since every member of the team has access to the calendar, they can easily share knowledge or ideas they have about each other’s upcoming content. Once you know how to plan a content calendar, your team will run like a well-oiled machine.
Allows For More Efficient Management
The calendar should allow each team member to update the status of their tasks. So, at a glance, you’ll know whether the task is in progress, if it’s being reviewed, or if it is finished and finalized. You can even add links to the finalized content in the calendar for easy access.
This saves content managers a lot of time. You won’t have to go back and forth with team members for updates and you can easily get access to the content if you want to review or edit it.
Gives You An Overview Of Content
An important aspect of running a great blog is ensuring that content does not get repeated. This can be difficult to do, especially if you plan to have many posts a month.
With a content calendar, you have an overview of everything that’s already been done, and everything that is still to come. If you have a new idea that you want to add to the content plan, or you’ve found a new keyword you want to take advantage of, you can simply search it in the calendar to see if it’s already on the plan.
In addition, the calendar gives you a big picture perspective – so that you don’t go off track with your efforts.
How To Plan A Content Calendar
Now that you can see all the benefits that you can leverage by making use of a content calendar, we’re sure you’re eager to know how to make one. There are quite a few steps, but follow them carefully and you’ll be good to go!
Here’s how to plan a content calendar:
Identify Your Goals
The most important thing to do when you begin any endeavor is to set your goals. This ensures that you can track your progress as you can and determine how effective your plan is in the long run.
Your goal can be anything from generating traffic and increasing sales, to broadening your audience and strengthening your brand name in your industry. Whatever goal you decide on, you need to ensure that it is measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Knowing your goals beforehand also allows you to be more specific in the planning stage. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic, you have to ensure that you’re ranking well in search results. And, to do this, you need to use the best keywords. So, knowing your goal can allow you to plan the use of keywords better.
Decide On The Type Of Content You Want
Next, you need to focus on the form of your content. There are many content types to choose from. For example, you could do
- blog posts
- case studies
- and many others
The type of goals that you set will determine the type of content that you want to produce.
For instance, if your goal is to increase traffic and better your ranking in search results, then your best bet is to opt for blog posts that target specific keywords. However, if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader, then opinion pieces or podcasts night be a better choice.
Conduct Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
This is one of the most important steps in the “how to plan a content calendar” guide. Finding keywords helps you to determine what your audience is looking for – which allows you to tailor your content to answer their questions. You need a fairly extensive list of phrases and words that people in your industry might search for online. Based on your results here, you can come up with topics for your content.
There are several ways to find relevant keywords. Google has a tool called Google Keyword Planner, where you can search for great keywords to use. You could also use Google Trends to see how different phrases performed over time. Alternatively, you could outsource keyword research to freelancers right here on Legiit.
You should also analyze your competitors’ content to understand what you need to do to be better than them.
Perform A Content Audit
To do a content audit, you have to analyze all the content on your site and keep an inventory of it. This gives you insight into the content assets that you have so that you can understand what you need to improve.
In other words, a content audit tells you how your current content impacts your audience. If it’s having little impact, then you’ll have to change up your strategy. That being said, your content audit should include an SEO audit.
You can find SEO optimization services on Legiit to help you identify where your areas of improvement are. This information will help you shape your strategy for how to plan a content calendar for your site.
Identify and Monitor Trends
Your website analytics should give you some insight into trends. For instance, it can show you the times that your posts did well, which platforms your posts performed the best on, and the day of the week that is best to post. You can use all of this information to structure your content calendar.
For instance, if you found that your content performed best when you posted on a Monday evening, then you should ensure that your publishing dates are on Mondays in your new content calendar.
Decide On A Publishing Schedule
Using all of the information above, you can create a schedule for when you will publish posts. You should decide on a few things there. First, you need to decide how many times a month you’ll post, then which day of the week you’ll post, and then what time of the day you will post.
While these things seem trivial, they can have a huge impact on the success of your content.
Publishing at the perfect time can significantly increase both engagement and traffic, which in turn will bring you several other benefits.
Organize Your Calendar
You’re almost at the end as you know most of how to plan a content calendar by this point. What follows is essentially putting it all together, and putting it into action. So what’s next? You need to organize your content calendar.
Using the publishing schedule, the topics and keywords that you researched, and the other trends that you found, you’ll put your calendar together in one document. You could use something as simple as a Google Spreadsheet to organize all of the information by adding columns or each factor (topic, keyword, writer, publish date, etc.). Or, you could use a tool like Trello, to help you with your content calendar organization.
Create The Content And Put It Into Your Content Library
Now that everything is set up, you can allow your writers to start creating the content. Sometimes this part of the process can take very long, so you have to ensure that they begin early and perhaps even work ahead of the schedule, so that everything is ready on time.
If you decided to write the content on your own, but are now finding that it’s way too much work for one person to do, then you can always get help from freelancers. There are so many freelance content creators on Legiit so you’ll find one very easily! They can help you with any content you may need – whether it’s blog writing, social media post content creation, and even press releases.
Once you have some content ready, you’ll need somewhere to store it. This is where a content library comes in. You can use Google Drive, Dropbox, or even an internal server to store your content. What’s important is that the documents are easily accessible to anybody on the team. This makes preparing for publication easier, and it also ensures that your hard work is safe and secure.
Every piece of content that you create (or that somebody else creates for you) needs to be stored in the content library.
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Make Sure You Have Some Evergreen Content
While you’re figuring out how to plan a content calendar, you also need to consider evergreen content. Basically, this is content that will never go out of date. In other words, you can publish this content at any point in time – it will always be relevant.
Creating this type of content and keeping it in storage will prove to be extremely useful in the long run.
We’ve all experienced delays before. Perhaps somebody got sick, or there was some internal confusion. As a result, the scheduled content was not done in time and now you have nothing to post. Well, if you have some evergreen content in storage, then this will be a much smaller problem. You can simply publish the pre-written evergreen content instead!
Remember To Include Guest Posts
It’s easy to get caught up in how to plan a content calendar. But, it’s important to remember any guest posts that you had planned too. This should be included in your content calendar, and should not overlap with other posts so as to ensure that it gets the right amount of attention.
Guest posts are quite valuable. They can draw in new audience members, attract more traffic, and even boost domain authority in the long run, if you do it frequently enough. As such, you should plan for guest posts to be included in your content calendar every so often.
To find guest posters, you can approach people in your industry, or you can outsource them to freelancers on Legiit.
You’re now at the finish line, the very last step of how to plan a content calendar. There are a few things to remember here.
First, remember to stick to the dates that you decided on previously. In addition, before you publish anything, you need to ensure that you have double-checked every post. The images need to be high quality, the content needs to add value to the reader’s life, and the grammar needs to be perfect.
Once you have done that, you can start publishing your content. Of course, you have the option of doing it manually if you want to. However, if there is a lot to do, and you have other work to get to, then you may want to consider scheduling your posts.
There are several tools you can use to automatically publish your posts. For example, HootSuite allows you to schedule all of your social media posts, and content management systems like WordPress give you the option of scheduling your blog posts.
Tips For Outsourcing On Legiit
Now that you know how to plan a content calendar, you probably have realized that you might have to do a bit of outsourcing. If your team is small, or if you’re just a one-person content team, then you’ll definitely need some external help to get you off the ground.
This is not something you need to worry about at all. Legiit has an extensive list of freelancers, with a wide variety of skills, for you to choose from. Whether you need help with SEO, content writing, keyword research, backlinks, video, or anything in between, you’ll find somebody who can assist on Legiit. You can practically outsource your entire business from here if you want to.
Here are some tips for outsourcing on Legiit, to ensure that you get exactly what you need:
Determine Your Budget
Each freelancer will have their own specific price for the work that you request. Therefore, you should set a budget before you start searching for freelancers. You may need more than one freelancer to help you, so you need to ensure that you can pay them all.
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Narrow Down A List Of Freelancers For Each Task
Draw up a list of all the tasks that you would like to outsource. Then have a look through the freelancers on Legiit and select a few of them for each task. Be sure to note their rates as well! From there you can select the one that you think is the best fit (and the best for your budget).
Test With Small Projects
It’s best to give the freelancers work in small portions so that you can decide if you want to continue with them or if you want to try a different freelancer. For example, if you have 10 posts that you want to be written, ask a freelancer to do only 1 at first. If you’re happy with the work, you can ask them to do more, and if it doesn’t turn out well you can always change it up. This way, you don’t waste all your funds.
Provide As Much Detail And Instruction As Possible
To get the most out of the outsourcing that you’re doing, and to get real value for your money, you need to be as specific as possible when outlining the work that needs to be done. For instance, if you’re having somebody write an article for you then give them extensive detail on the target audience, the tone, the keywords, and everything in between. This will help the freelancer to write the most valuable content possible.
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Check Reviews And Use The Feedback System
Of course, it’s way more efficient to make the best decision on your first try – right? A great way to ensure you’re choosing the right freelancers is by reading the reviews that people have written about them. Each freelancer also has a star rating that can show you whether other people were happy with their work.
Content calendars are extremely important since they ensure that you’re consistent and that your content is done well and on time. This is why you absolutely must know how to plan a content calendar. It isn’t as difficult as you’d expect it to be – you simply need to follow the steps in this guide and you will be ready to go.
You don’t even have to do it all on your own! Legiit is home to a variety of highly skilled freelancers, who you can hire to help you with many of the key steps in the “how to plan a content calendar” guide. You can find people to help with writing, keyword research, SEO, and more. Be sure to also check out our blog for helpful business tips and advice. Now, get moving and start planning your content calendar today!
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