If you want to take your content marketing strategy to the next level in 2021, you’ll need a plan.
A key part of any content marketing plan is a content calendar. This tool helps your business manage all its content marketing efforts.
Using a content calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need it to contain the information necessary to put your strategy into action.
To help, we have produced a completely free content calendar template that you can use to organize your content marketing throughout 2021. You can download it here.
In this article, we’ll look at what a content calendar is, as well as how you can use our free template.
First Up, What Is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar (or editorial calendar) is the place where you plan and organize your business’s content marketing strategy.
It contains all the basic details about each piece of content you will create, including how the content fits into your content marketing plan, and practical information like deadlines and who will write, edit, and publish the content.
This helps your content marketing effort in several ways:
- Your content calendar helps you implement your content strategy. By having all the content you will produce clearly laid out, you can see where any gaps in publication may occur and ensure all your content is working towards your business goals.
- A content calendar also helps keep everyone organized. You can include deadlines, so you know when tasks need to be done by and what stage they are currently at. It can be a good idea to share your content calendar with your team so everyone knows exactly what they have to do and when.
- Planning your content in advance and making a record of what needs to be done can also help you stay more consistent in your content marketing efforts. You are far less likely to be late with a piece of content, or worse—completely give up—if you have everything laid out and planned weeks or months in advance.
How to Use Your Free Content Calendar Template
Before creating your content calendar, you should create your content marketing plan. We have an article about how you can do that here.
When you create a content marketing plan, you’ll define why you want to produce content as well as what your goals are. This will help when it comes to deciding what type of content you want to produce.
Once you have your plan, you should begin to populate your content calendar with the content you will create. This can be everything from social media and blog posts, to videos, case studies, and more.
Our content calendar contains the following sections. Here is what you should include in each section:
- Date: The calendar is split into weeks with a separate entry for each day. This is the due date for the content. We have also included a section for the content publication date. There should be enough time between these two days for you to make any edits or changes and ensure the content is publishable. You don’t need to release content every day. Producing one great piece of content every week is better than publishing below par content every day.
- Title: Here you can fill in the title or working title you’ll use for your content.
- Content Type: This is the form of the content. Types of content you can create include blog posts, white paper, and videos.
- Status: The status section helps you keep an eye on where in the production stage you are at; from planning all the way through to published. Be sure to keep this section up to date.
- Media entity: Write down where you will publish your content.
- Writer, author, and owner: Who is in charge of each section of the content creation process? Share your content calendar with your team if possible so they can all see what they need to do.
- Persona: Each piece of content should be created with a specific customer persona in mind. You can read more about creating customer personas in our content marketing strategy article.
- Funnel stage: Which stage of your customer acquisition funnel is the content designed to help with. This helps ensure everyone knows the goal of the specific piece of content.
Our content calendar covers the entire of 2021. Download it here and begin planning your content marketing strategy now.