Plan ahead with a content calendar
Here’s why you need a content calendar
Contrary to what one might think, a content calendar isn’t just for social media. It’s a tool that will help you implement your digital marketing strategy by planning all your upcoming content for months, whether it’s for your landing pages, your blog, your newsletter, your different social media and even promotional SMS.
Global business or SME, setting up this tool is crucial no matter the size of your company. It also applies to freelancers, bloggers and influencers. If you haven’t created your content calendar yet, we advise you to start working on it as soon as you finish reading this article. And if you need any help, feel free to give us a call!
What’s a content calendar?
A content calendar is a document, often a spreadsheet, that lists all the content you’re going to produce and publish, across all your different channels of communication, for a set period of time, usually several months and up to one year. Of course, you don’t have to include the copy in your calendar. You can if you want to, but no one’s asking you to write everything months in advance. The idea here is to be able to see at a glance what type of content you’ll need and what it’ll be about.
Once it’s done, you need to keep updating your content calendar and review it regularly to make sure it’s still aligned with your brand guidelines and your business’s priorities. You might be tempted to change your plans because something’s happened and you want to modify the focus of your content, or sometimes because you’re no longer in the mood to write about what you had planned. The difficulty is to find the right balance between being able to adapt quickly to implement changes and sticking to a plan that you’ve carefully crafted.
What are the benefits of a content calendar?
The goal of this tool is to give you an overview of the content to come so you can make sure it remains consistent with your strategy and your brand guidelines. It also allows you to create synergies between your different channels of communication. For example, if you’re planning to launch a competition on Instagram, you can talk about it in your newsletter and create a dedicated landing page to increase your customers’ engagement.
You can also plan the workload in advance and give yourself or your copywriters enough time to work on each piece of content. If different people work on your emails, your website and your social media, you should share your content calendar with all of them so they can see the big picture and take what others are doing into consideration.
Evergreen versus topical content
Your content is “evergreen” if it stays relevant through time, like the pine tree not being affected by the different seasons. For example, a blog post about five ways to deal with stress is likely to be evergreen. This type of content is particularly interesting from an SEO perspective. People might still land on this blog page months or even years after you’ve published it.
On the other hand, an article about stress induced by preparing Christmas in lockdown should no longer be relevant in 2021. Therefore, it’s topical. But even this type of content can – and should – be planned in advance. If you sell jewellery, for example, you won’t wait until February to start working on your campaign for Valentine’s day.
How do you create a content calendar?
Start by making a list of all the upcoming events that are relevant to your brand. Christmas and Mother’s Day are the obvious ones, but there can be many more. For example, if you’re selling sports equipment, you’ll probably want to talk about the Olympic games. If you work for a brewery, you might want to plan something special for International Beer Day – the first Friday of August.
You never know what might come up. So always give yourself some wiggle room and the chance to react to what’s happening in the world, whether it’s something in the news that’s linked to your industry or a chance to respond to a competitor on social media. Don’t leave empty spaces in your spreadsheet, but be ready in case you have to face a last-minute change of plan.
Finally, keep in mind that you cannot simply “translate” a content calendar. You’ll have to create a new one for each market you work on. We mentioned Mother’s Day earlier. Did you know that the date is different in France and in the UK? That’s definitely something you should take into account.
At Cam’s Writing, we are used to working with content calendars. We have our own and we regularly help our clients create theirs – or adapt them for the French or the British market.
If you have any questions about content calendars or need any help with yours, give us a shout. We’ll be happy to help.