Last week, we talked about why it’s important for your business to create a content calendar. Now, it’s time to get started.
Creating an editorial calendar is one of those things that sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. For individuals, small businesses, and startups, editorial calendars can be simple and straightforward.
The first thing you need to do is to decide how much time you can realistically commit to creating content. From personal experience, I suggest starting slowly – get a feel for how quickly you can create content and adjust your schedule to make room. Whatever you decide, just get started.
Let’s Do This
Creating a content calendar doesn’t have to be a painful process at all. Here are seven easy steps to get you started:
Start with your business objectives and your audience
Knowing why you’re creating content and for whom will help you decide what pieces of content you will need to create.
Decide what a realistic publishing plan looks like for you
You’ll need to decide what types of content you need to create and how much you want to create. Content comes in many forms – blogs, podcasts, videos, emails, social media posts, white papers, e-books, etc. The question is what can you realistically accomplish? Do you need additional resources to make this happen?
Break out a calendar
Any calendar will do. While some people prefer to use an actual physical calendar, Google Docs, or even an Excel spreadsheet, I like to do mine in my Bullet Journal. On each month’s content calendar spread, I include my content goals for the month, in addition to any topic ideas that come to mind. But that’s just me. Find the calendar that works best for you.
In your calendar, you’ll want to make note of any upcoming relevant events or dates, such as holidays, cultural or historic events, national days, conferences, competitions, industry awards, etc. I cannot stress enough the importance of only highlighting events that matter to your audience or business. Sure, National If Pets Had Thumbs Day is fun, if it has nothing to do with your company or your audience, why are you spending time creating content for it?
Look at the big picture
When planning out your content, start with the bigger projects you’re working on in the next quarter or two. Maybe you want to publish a blog series or host an online class or webinar. Knowing what your priorities are will help you to fill in the rest of your calendar with additional material. Make sure you’re creating content that your audience wants in the format they want it in.
How much content are you going to publish?
This is where it gets tricky – you’re going to have to create a weekly, monthly, and quarterly plan to help focus your efforts to ensure that you hit your goals. Think about how many blog posts you want to publish each week, how many podcasts you want to record each month, etc.
How is all of this getting done?
Putting together your workflow will ensure that completed, consistent messages are being delivered so that you accomplish your content marketing goals. So, for example, let’s say you are planning to record a podcast each month. You will need to allot time to plan out the podcast and record it. Then, you will need time to edit and review the content before distributing and promoting it. These steps all have one thing in common – time – so make sure you plan out enough time to do them well.
It’s go time
Now, it’s time to execute on your plan, so start slowly and build up. First, focus on creating high-quality content. Once you have established a comfortable cadence that works for you, build on the work you’re doing by adding whatever will benefit your audience and business the most.
And that’s it! Creating a content calendar is an easy and effective way to plan in advance what you will publish and when you will create your deliverables. Don’t allow the idea of an editorial calendar to stop you from creating content – just go for it.
Still intimidated by the process of creating great content? Contact me today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.