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It’s All About Timing: Creating a Useful Content Calendar

Timing is important in every aspect of life, from knowing when it’s the right time to talk to landing the punchline of a joke. Timing is also key when it comes to posting because publishers need to know what events are coming up and when is the most effective time to post about them.

However, planning and distributing all that content can be daunting, especially when working with multiple platforms. But how can you ensure that you won’t be tearing your hair out over missed deadlines and content opportunities? Say hello to the content calendar. This tool will help you plan all your content ahead of time to keep everything organized and up to date.

Wondering how you can develop a content calendar that will work for you? Keep reading to learn all about this amazing tool and why it is an essential part of successful content.

What Is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar,  sometimes called an editorial calendar, is a timeline of the content you plan to publish, usually organized on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. It answers all the “W” questions of content marketing: who, what, where, why, and when.

Why Is It Important?

As with most things in life, planning is an essential part of publishing. If you don’t plan what you’re going to do and when you will do it, you’ll likely run out of time and miss the opportunity to write a relevant article. That’s why a content calendar is so important because it guarantees you have a plan.

Getting Started

A content calendar is much like a regular calendar, just without pictures of shirtless firemen or kittens.

When developing a content calendar, start by using a planner such as an excel sheet or a shareable calendar that is readily accessible and editable for any updates or changes. It should be strategic and align with your brand/company, target audience, and goals.

A content specialist preparing an editorial calendar

Photo by Georgijevic / Getty images

The calendar is organized by the type of content, who is writing it, and includes holidays/events relevant to the month for publishing. You can keep a color-coded system to make everything clear and orderly.

What Goes on the Calendar?

Now that you know how to set up the calendar, the next step is to fill it in.

It’s best to have a brainstorming session to develop content ideas. Think about upcoming events, holidays, or trending topics relevant to your target audience and brand. You can also repurpose existing content if it is topical again.

Mark all the holidays and newsworthy dates. If an event is relevant to your target audience, it should be on the calendar. For example, if you think your audience will read Olympic-related or Christmas-related articles, add that to your calendar.

The content ideas should be planned between one and six months in advance. It is also important to note who is responsible for creating the content to ensure everyone is on the same page. Also, add a status menu to show what stage the content is in (not started, in progress, submitted, checked, and published).

Timing Is Everything

If topics are written about too early, people won’t remember them. If they are written about too late, users will probably have already read about the topic elsewhere. According to SocialMediaToday, it’s best to write about an upcoming event/holiday two to three weeks in advance.

A writer and en editor creating an editorial calendar

Photo by Thomas Barwick / Getty images

The beauty of a content calendar is that it’s always evolving. If a topic is suddenly trending, it can be added to the calendar, and other things can be moved.

A content calendar will make everything less stressful because there is a clear plan to follow. It makes your company fully capable of managing high-quality, relevant content and delivering it on schedule in a timely manner.