If content is king in the realm of online marketing then the content calendar is chancellor. Content calendars are like the wise advisors that direct the king’s attention and monitor what matters are those things that are most pressing and need urgent attention. Simply put, a content calendar is crucial for establishing and maintaining content regularity. A site’s amazing piece of content may attract visitors, but it is the content regularity – managed by a content calendar – that will keep visitors coming back and allow the relationship to develop and blossom.
What Is a Content Calendar?
As the name implies, a content calendar is a calendar delineating the content that will be published in a given time, typically a month. The particular aspects of the content calendar often vary from blog to blog, but will generally include the titles of the content pieces, dates they will be published, authors or designers, and the dates the pieces are due. Often they will also include draft due dates, subject or keywords, media type, target audience, objectives, or whatever other principal metrics matter most to the particular blog or site.
How Content Calendars Improve Content Regularity
Content calendars improve content regularity in each of the following ways:
Creates a Schedule – The most basic and obvious benefit of a content calendar is that it creates a content schedule. This prevents a more haphazard approach that flies in the face of content regularity and ensures that content is not accidentally, or intentionally, forgotten or procrastinated.
Set Benchmarks – The content calendar also provides important benchmarks for the progress of the content. If the content calendar also includes draft due dates then very clear progress benchmarks are in place. Even without draft due dates, however, it will be obvious that the project requires immediate attention if the desired publication date is looming.
Improves Time Management – Having a content calendar improves time management by making it clear how many days are remaining to complete a content piece, or a particular phase of that piece. By remaining clear on when the piece is due those working on it can adjust their other priorities accordingly.
Tracks Content Type – Content calendars also make it easy to track the types of content that have been published, or that will be published, at a quick glance. This allows a company or blog to shift the makeup of that composition as needed. For example they may wish to include more How-To articles, infographics, sales pieces, news articles, etc., and may not realize without the content calendar that pieces are skewing too far in one particular category.
Focuses Content Tone – Just as the content calendar allows users to track their content type they can also easily track and focus the tone of their blog by scheduling more pieces on a particular topic or written in a particular style.
Sets Audience Expectations – One of the most important aspects of the content calendar is that it helps set audience expectations. Many blogs post particular types of pieces on fairly set schedules. For example, company news on the first of every month, or technical pieces every other Wednesday. Even without such a pre-set schedule readers can begin to anticipate the frequency of updates.
The bottom line is that it is not enough for most sites just to publish occasional high quality content; instead they need to have a larger content strategy in place. Content calendars are a crucial part of just about any content strategy and they can easily be tailored and adjusted to fit the needs and resources of the company or blog doing the content.