A man enjoying life after starting his content calendar

You’ve decided that this is the year that you’re going to be active on social media.

(Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.)

The idea is grand: Maybe a blog post every week. No, two blog posts every week!

This time it’s going to be different – no getting off track, no disappearing off the social radar for months at a time. No starting every post with “I know it’s been a while since I last wrote here but…”

So you strike out with starry-eyed optimism — only to come crashing back to reality a month later.

You’ve got tasks whirling through your head. You forgot that you were supposed to post on Instagram every Monday and Thursday. And you didn’t have a blog post ready for Tuesday. And then you were supposed to have something ready for Twitter on Wednesday and Saturday. Or was it Sunday?

Aaaaaaand here comes the stress.

Consistently preparing and publishing content across multiple channels is no small task. That’s why your hair is falling out in lumps as you get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content and the criss-cross of channels and strategies.

But the potential payoff of building a loyal audience base is worth its weight in dollars.

Introducing “The Content Calendar”, saviour of blogs, reducer of stress and the unsung hero of successful content strategy.

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is a tool for keeping track of the what, when and why of all the content you publish on your website and across other platforms.

Its purpose is to keep you productive and focused by giving you a quick overview of what needs to be done, rather than having it all bounce around in your head.

You can use a content calendar to plan an entire year’s worth of content. Of course, there is flexibility and room for spontaneity, depending on how your organization intends to manage the different public communication channels.

A content calendar may also be used to track when a draft version of the content needs to be ready for approval. This ensures that everything is 100% ready to go once the deadline strikes—rather than sparking a mad dash to get second opinions and sign-offs in the eleventh hour.

What should your content calendar look like?

It depends.

Ultimately, your content calendar has to capture the requirements you are looking for. This can mean as many or as few details as you want.

It may take the form of a physical calendar on the wall where you scribble items in with a pen. It could be a Google Spreadsheet, which allows real-time edits from multiple users. Or it could be a complex, integrated platform like CoSchedule which is created for the purpose and can handle scheduling, communication between departments and more.

Most calendars use different colours to distinguish between different channels, so you can get as much information as possible with just a glance.

The right calendar for you is the one that will make sure your content is purposeful and delivered on time.

So good luck! Your audience is out there, hungry for content. Best not to keep them waiting too long…