What is it about content calendars that’s so difficult to stick with? They’re so helpful and make your work much more efficient. You are able to think ahead and plan out content that corresponds to seasonal themes, holidays, and sales cycles. You’re able to easily identify where weak spots in your content strategies are and find ways to fill them in.
There are a list of reasons well-maintained content calendars are worth the trouble, but the work of maintaining a content calendar is sometimes more than you’re expecting. You’d rather just plan a few days or a week in advance and be done with it.
But the benefits of planning a little more long-term are so numerous, it just doesn’t make sense to plan content short-term.
If you want to build a content calendar for your business that is easy to stick to and won’t overwhelm you, this is the guide for you.
Build a Content Calendar in 4 Steps
1. Grab a dry-erase board or large desktop calendar.
Get a calendar that has enough space to fill in with your daily content and to-do items. You can find boards that have a calendar template printed on them, or simply draw your own calendar grid on a blank dry erase board.
That’s right, you’ll be building a traditional calendar, not an online calendar. It’s more visible than an online calendar would be when you put the calendar somewhere you’ll see it daily – in your office, home office, or living room. Plus, the action of writing content topics into your calendar is an additional memory-building exercise that helps you memorize the content you have planned better than you would if you just typed the words into a calendar.
2. Brainstorm topics that answer your audiences’ questions
Make a list of topics that will serve to answer questions that your audience might have at every stage during the buying process. You can find our post about writing blog posts for every stage of the buying process here. These are the topics you will pull from to fill your amazing content calendar. Don’t be stingy – you’ll always need more ideas, so brainstorm until you’ve got writer’s block.
Do some research in similar blogs to find other topics you might not have considered. Do a search on BuzzSumo to look for the most-shared blog posts in your industry or about a specific keyword.
3. Write titles or headlines for your topics for the month
Now that you’ve got a big list of topics to pull from, you can start finessing. Create actionable post copy, titles, and headlines for the topics you plan to cover on your blog, email marketing lists, and social campaigns this month.
These are what you will physically load into your calendar – “4 Ways to Write Better Headlines”, “The Real Reason Your Clients Prefer Phone Calls”, etc.
Check out this article for excellent tips on crafting click-worthy titles and headlines.
4. Load them all into your content calendar
Now, you get to sit down with your dry erase board and manually write in each blog post, video, email, social media post, etc. that you’ll be sharing and when. The best part about a dry erase board for this purpose is being able to leave your “template” calendar grid on the board and easily change the content within the calendar whenever you need to.
When the month ends, you’ll be able to look back on the topics you selected that month, note the ones that did well, and re-purpose them to use again in next month’s calendar. Consider taking a photo of your completed content calendar each month in case anything should happen to it – like your cat brushing against it and accidentally erasing a large part of your hours of hard work (true story).
Did these steps help you build a content calendar you’ll be able to stick to? We’d love to see your examples of content calendars – they aren’t always pretty, but they help you get things done!