In content marketing, a content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) is crucial part of your strategy. It serves as a road map for the months ahead to ensure your content is optimized to meet business goals, capably targeting the right audience, and that your contributors, stakeholders and distribution channels are working in concert. A well-planned content calendar will allow you to:
- Coordinate publication with relevant events and business milestones
- Manage production and promotion resources
- Improve brainstorming, research and optimization
- Build on and cross-promote existing or future content
- Identify important metrics and track your content’s results
Vertical Measures has created a content calendar template to help get you started in your planning for the year. Click the link below to download, then read on for instructions and tips!Download the Free Content Editorial Calendar Template (Excel Format)
The spreadsheet template contains two calendars: a year view and a month view, described below. It also contains an example calendar that has been filled out to illustrate how a hypothetical business might use it.
The purpose of this template is to look out over the year and identify important dates and business milestones that your content can reinforce or integrate. For example, if you know you have a new product or service rolling out in June, then you can start planning supporting content in March. This long view lets you plan well in advance so you can identify opportunities and have plenty of time to take advantage of them.
- Business Quarters: Identify quarterly goals, resources, and budget.
- Selling Cycles: Business cycles or trends to consider throughout the year.
- Seasons: Natural seasons or other conceptual business periods for seasonal businesses — e.g. education, tourism.
- Holidays: Holidays to consider for thematic inspiration and publication scheduling.
- Events: Industry events and other — e.g. conferences, .
- Product Launches: Client will focus on content around their specific product launches throughout the year.
- Deadlines: The current production deadlines for content that the client has set to meet.
- Company Goals: The client’s specific goals based on various content projects.
- Metrics: The overall metrics — e.g. links, traffic, conversions — will try to target and track with content.
This template is your monthly map of specific content pieces. With your overall goals and timely considerations laid out in the year view, you can now start planning the production of individual content. By identifying all the moving parts in production, publication and measurement, your content marketing can be painless and effectively comprehensive.
- Title/Description: The handle for the content piece, like a blog post title or video concept description.
- Status: Where the content project stands — e.g. in production, on hold, published.
- Due Date: When the project is due from the producer/designer.
- Publish Date: When the content piece goes live.
- Type of Content: The format for the content — e.g. onsite article, blog post, infographic, whitepaper.
- Producer/Designer: Who will be producing/designing this piece of content.
- Editor: Who will be editing and formatting this piece of content.
- Target Audience: The audience, industry or other segment you are looking to reach.
- Distribution Channels: Where this content will be published — e.g. blog, resource articles, offsite.
- Promotion: The promotion and/or social media channels that will be leveraged for this specific content piece.
- Metadata Tags: The meta title, description, and/or keywords for this piece of content.
- Metrics: The specific metrics — e.g. links, traffic, conversions — the client will try to target and track with the content piece.
Now that you’ve got a start on a road map for 2014, learn more about content marketing and strategy to drive your content smartly and effectively.