5 Content Calendar Best Practices
June 5, 2015
The content calendar is one of the most powerful tools in a brand’s content playbook. Even though it’s just…well, a calendar, it is the heart of a brand’s external presence. The content calendar shows you what the topic of the week is, what days blog posts go out, and who’s writing or producing what. Without a content calendar, keeping track of who writes what would get confusing fast, especially if you have more than one person at your company. There isn’t a reason to not have a content calendar, so if you don’t have one, it’s time to create one. Remember, no two content calendars are the same, but I’m going to break down my five best practices for a content calendar below.
- Set up your calendar in an actual calendar.
This may sound silly, but I recommend using an actual calendar, such as iCal or Google Calendar. You can create all day events, but at least it’s tied to a date. Furthermore, you can assign people to posts or tasks they need to complete by just inviting them to the event.
- Use sub-calendar for the types of content.
For my content calendars, I have sub-calendars for each type of content (videos, blog posts, social themes, etc). This is for two reasons:
- If you only want to view the activity of one type of content, you can choose to just view that type by only making that calendar visible.
- It just makes everything more readable. Different content types can have different colors, making it easy to see.
- Setup a common system. Be standardized.
You want to make sure everything has a set process. For example, calendar items should always be setup as DATE – CONTENT TYPE – NAME – ASSIGNEE. In this system, a blog post due Friday for me would be set up as “6/5 – Blogpost – 5 Content Calendar Best Practices – Michael.” With that setup, anyone who views that calendar will instantly understand what’s going on.
- Be flexible.
Just because something is or is not in the calendar doesn’t mean that’s how it has to stay. Make adjustments as needed, and feel free to shift things around a day or two if need be. However, you shouldn’t be abandoning your calendar for weeks on end, though, which leads to the final point.
- Stick with it.
The biggest issue you’ll run into with a content calendar is the want to not use it. Either you’re too busy, or you think you can work faster out of the loop. Stop that thought. Getting into a rhythm and using it consistently is the best way to learn the habit, and you and your team will be better for it.
Remember, your content calendar should be easy to read and understand, as multiple people will be using and interacting with it. But if you follow the best practices above, you should be in a good place to get a good content calendar started! Do you already have a content calendar? If so, feel free to share your best practices below!