Content Calendar Templates: What is it and How to Create one
The roller-coaster ride that was 2020 is over. 2021 offers a chance for a new beginning. For that to happen, you need plans because, you know, failing to plan is planning to fail. Enough of overused quotes; what you need is a solid content calendar template.
A well-thought content plan will help you beat deadlines, keep you laser-focused, and increase productivity throughout the year. Still have doubts? Content Marketing Institute found that 53% of the best marketers had documented their content marketing strategies. Meanwhile, 40% of the least effective marketers had no strategy.
If you intend to improve your social media marketing strategy or you’re just starting out, you need a content schedule. It will help you cover all the marketing bases from planning, creating, publishing, and measuring your content’s impact.
This guide will cover all the bases involving a content calendar template, its management, and how to create one. Before you go further…
It’s a master guide that can help you keep tabs on plans, schedules, and organize content and marketing projects. According to CopyPress, you want to be organized because a content calendar can help a business be 60% more effective. Additionally, a content calendar is important because it provides:
They set out dates, what needs doing, the system of workflows, approval procedures, all aimed at enhancing accuracy.
To achieve your content marketing goals, your social media content has to be consistent across all channels. A content calendar with content scheduling capabilities can save you a ton by making posts when it’s most appropriate.
You should post whenever your audience is ready to engage. For example, if your audience is a former president, he is most active between 7 and 8 am ET. You may not be at the office yet, but the scheduler will publish the posts.
3. Schedule and Organization
Without planning, there is plenty of inefficiency and time-wasting. As content marketers look to add one more marketing platform to their marketing efforts, workload and job complexity increases. A content calendar in such situations is vital as the complexities of each task require that you plan every detail.
A content calendar will map out upcoming events, what’s needed, the aim of the piece of content, and whoever is responsible.
A calendar will improve teamwork as it shows the goals of a project. Additionally, the head of the project can choose the best personnel to ensure its success. Share topic ideas with team members, follow up on notes and comments, and keep track of approvals. One nifty app that can help you out is the WordPress plugin, Edit Flow.
Types of content calendars
Content calendars fall under three basic categories, namely:
- Printed calendars: old-school solution where you layout your schedule on a hardcopy, printed calendar.
- Spreadsheets: made from common software solutions like Google Sheets or Excel spreadsheet.
- Apps: you can install these into a compatible device.
From these, you can create:
- Social media calendars
- Editorial calendars
- Publishing calendar
- Blog post calendar
How to create a content calendar template
Whichever calendar you choose, you need a content calendar template to start. However, every content calendar is different, so you would have to adjust it to fit your needs. If you decide to go the electronic calendar way, it should contain the schedule, monthly planning calendar, and content repository.
It’s best to purchase or install plugins of digital calendars as they can be complex to develop. For a software-based calendar, you can create a simple but comprehensive one from a spreadsheet, but a standalone app or plugin has more features. For instance, with the WordPress Editorial Content Calendar, you can:
- View all your posts plus the dates and times they will be posted
- Manage and edit titles, keywords, and content of drafts
- Drag and drop to change posting dates
- See the status of posts
- Publish posts
- Manage multiple authors posts
For more examples on what the Editorial Calendar looks like, check out WordPress’s calendar article.
Writing an editorial calendar
Editorial content involves material you will use for publishing during your marketing campaigns, including blog posts, newsletters, and email campaigns. In other words, the editorial calendar will include all the resources needed to ensure the success of that content marketing strategy.
Much like when you make a good content calendar, you ideally want your editorial calendar to include:
a. Editorial roadmap: the monthly view lists key activities, promotions, and events important to your audience.
b. Editorial calendar: contains key status, creative information and lists all the deliverables. It contains a listing of all your creations, including videos, images, advertisements, case studies, emails, blog posts, and press releases.
c. Content tracker: the first port of call for all ideas created that are not on the schedule. Acts as a pool for capturing new ideas and requests that have arisen.
d. Completed content: just because the content is published does not mean that’s the end of their management. If anything, published content can provide a more assured way of planning. After tracking your published content, you will know what works and try to reproduce similar content.
Managing content calendar
For best results, plan your content calendar ahead of time and leave it to a single person to manage. The best way to manage the calendar is to consider seasonal events, the audience’s preferences, holidays, and other known events.
This is the most crucial part of any marketing campaign. To nail it, you must create engaging content that your audience will love.
Types of content
First, you must find out the most potent types of content you can use, and they include:
- Blog posts: one of the best ways to promote your business through online content is blog posts. Create rich content targeted at your audience, post it to your blog, do a little bit of promotion, and you have a winner.
- Newsletters: this is another way to create online content, but it is more in line with reporting news about your business.
- Guest posts: sometimes, you need a different perspective, and that’s where guest posts come in. They contain in-depth information from authority figures that you think would be useful for your audience.
- Emails: Campaign Monitor suggests that it is 40 times more effective than social media at acquiring new customers.
- Videos: audiences love videos, with 79% of them saying videos have convinced them to buy an app or software. Additionally, you don’t need professional-grade equipment or breathtaking scenery to make an interesting video. All you need is creativity and a decent camera, and soon, you will be driving traffic to your site.
- Podcasts: it is digital content in an audio format that your audience can download or stream and listen to. Make sure you record it clearly. You can keep it fresh and interesting by inviting subject-matter experts to give advice.
What is a content template?
When drafting your content calendar, you set the goals of every campaign. The easiest way to achieve this when creating content is by including a content template for your writers. It outlines the information and images you want them to include in the article or blog post.
Writing unique and creative content
There may be nothing new under the sun, but that is not an excuse to create content that is not unique or creative.
Firstly, identify your target audience. You might craft a stonking piece of content, but if it lands on the wrong audience, it will fall flat. Therefore, keep it simple, and find humorous and interesting ways to express content. Thorough research and useful information will go a long way in keeping your audience glued to your content.
Sometimes, writing the best content means not fixing what isn’t broken. That means repurposing content that has worked for your audience. LookBookHQ, as reported by Neil Patel, found that close to 60% of marketers will reuse their content two to five times. Speaking of, stats are also a good way of creating unique and creative content.
With a content calendar, it becomes easier to implement your content strategy. To assemble an effective content strategy, you should know your audience then set your goals and mission. After that, you can assess your best content channels, establish key performance indicators (KPIs), and allocate resources. When you are done, you can get down to writing your content calendar.
Your content calendar will contain your aims, goals, objectives, schedule, and project leaders, which will help you organize content ideas.
You can’t always be relied on to publish content on time. Life happens and it can mess up your publishing strategy. Therefore, an alternative to publishing is content scheduling, where an app will post content on your behalf at a preset time.
Combine that with analytics, and you can find the optimum time to publish a post for maximum engagement. It also offers the chance to experiment and optimize your posting times.
Create a content calendar using Microsoft Office (Excel and Word)
1. Creating content calendar using Excel spreadsheet
Excel has close to 750 million users, according to a report on Excel with Business. It is a nice place to start your content calendar journey as it is simple, effective, and easy to edit. Further, it has autofill and formula capabilities, which would make filling information easy. With the formula, you can automatically refer to values in other cells, filling those cells automatically. Excel worksheets have one-click coloring functionality, making color-coding your tasks easy. Finally, Excel has several calendar templates, which makes creating content calendars easy.
Making monthly Excel calendars
You can make a monthly calendar by opening Excel and scrolling down to the “any year one-month template.” You can then rename the worksheet to whichever month you need.
Alternatively, you can create a monthly excel calendar manually.
Creating yearly Excel content calendars
One quick way of creating a yearly content calendar is by opening Excel and searching for online templates. Microsoft also has templates for yearly content calendars in one or separate worksheets. Results on the welcome page show Microsoft has yearly Excel templates for:
- Social media content calendar
- Yearly overview editorial calendar
- Social media platform editorial calendar
If that does not work for you, create the whole content calendar on one page. The trick is to create one calendar right after the other, making a content calendar from January to December.
Perhaps a dynamic annual calendar in Excel is more to your taste. It is the best option as it keeps changing, but you need a working knowledge of Excel and its formulas. The functions create variables that make it look like a real calendar. It utilizes the Today, Month, Weekday, Weeknum, and other functions to achieve that.
Creating 6 month Excel content calendars
Apparently, there’s no template for six months, so you might have to create one manually. One quick way is to create a single month calendar as illustrated above and copy-pasting it. You can paste it below the first if you want the whole presentation on a single page. If you need it on multiple pages, open other worksheets and paste it there.
2. Create a yearly calendar in Word
As with Excel, there are calendar templates on Microsoft Word, which you can access on the welcome page. On the search bar, type “content calendar” and enter. There is at least one small business content calendar, but you can edit plenty of other calendars.
Creating a manual calendar on Word is tricky, but you are halfway there if you know how to create tables.
Creating contents calendar in Google Sheets
Google Sheets lacks a dedicated content calendar. However, there is a calendar template in Google Sheets, which you can customize. You will find the Google Sheets templates at the top of the start page labeled “Template Gallery.” Scroll through them to find what you need.
The beauty of Google Sheets is that you can create a template with your finished document once you’re done. Create a copy of that file, which you can use as a template. Next time you have a similar calendar project, you won’t have to start from scratch.
Moreover, you can share your created calendar on Google. Meanwhile, all you have to do is click on the share button and make it visible to anyone with the link.
You can automatically add a calendar schedule in Google Sheets, but it involves a bit of coding. Although that sounds intimidating, Google has provided a step-by-step guide, including a YouTube video, that should simplify the process.
Social media calendar template
A social media content calendar template contains the publishing schedule, manages your content, content creation team, and beat deadlines. Additionally, it should contain your monthly planning calendar, updates of your social media platforms, and a repository for your content.
The best way to create social media content is by following your social media template. It’s a guide that shows your content creators what they should include in the content when they’re making it. Therefore, create social media content after researching your audience’s needs, and provide useful deeply-researched content.
Planning content for Instagram
You cannot upload bulk content to your social inbox on Instagram as you do on Twitter. Moreover, even though it allows you to write 2,200 characters captions, Instagram only displays the first three lines. There is no exact length of the three lines; it depends on the length of your caption. Therefore, you had better make them epic.
You can plan content on Instagram by scheduling when the posts will appear on your Instagram content calendar.
If you aim for 1,000 followers on Instagram, it helps to keep your content fresh and engaging. Identify your target audience and be consistent in your publishing. Remember, the best type of content for Instagram is pictures and short videos.
Content calendar for Facebook
Twitter social publishing
Just like Facebook and Instagram, you can use the HubSpot software to publish content to your Twitter handle. However, unlike the two, it allows bulk uploading of images for a richer experience.
Making a content calendar in Asana
Astana provides a pain-free way of creating a content calendar. In short, you can either use their provided content calendar template or you can import an existing spreadsheet.
Content calendar for digital signage
After creating such awesome content, what better way to display it than by using digital signage? It is a flashy way of streaming videos, social media feeds, and important announcements onto screens. 80% of brands that use digital signage see a sales increase of up to 33% when using digital signage.
Besides, you can use digital signage to content calendar information to employees and thereby streamline information.