We’ve seen the numbers.
In a Welcome-Sirkin study, marketers named the lack of a single unified calendar to visualize content development and campaigns as their second-largest issue.
You’ve probably been in a situation where you wanted to learn more about creating a marketing calendar.
You run a search and it’s not long before you find a blog.
You have no issues with the tutorial. It’s brief and actionable, just the way you like it.
The only problem? It requires you to create your marketing calendar using Google Sheets.
The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Content Calendar with Google Sheets
One of the first steps to joining the ranks of the 33% of marketers with a documented strategy is creating a content marketing calendar. There are many software options, including Welcome, that are here to help you through this process, but today we’ll be talking about Google Sheets. Creating a marketing calendar with any of the Google products can be demanding, so it’s best to go in with a clear picture of your objectives.
Rename Your Google Sheet
Renaming your spreadsheet is probably the most crucial step in this guide. You never know how many editorial calendars you may end up having, and making them gets addictive fast.
The name you choose is what will distinguish them from each other. Make it as descriptive and brief as possible. e.g., “Social Media Editorial Calendar.”
Other naming tips include:
- Make everything as brief as possible
- Maintain a consistent naming convention for all your file names
- Use distinctive emojis in the names
- Use hashtags to distinguish names that may be similar
Find the name “untitled spreadsheet.” It’s at the top right-hand side corner of the screen.
That “untitled spreadsheet” is a placeholder. The text disappears once you click it and start typing your desired title. You can then save it by clicking enter.
You can go with the “hottest editorial calendar.” For now.
Reformat The Cells To Create Calendar Days
Depending on your marketing strategy, you can format your marketing calendar to include as many workdays as you need.
Note that your Spreadsheet is horizontally formatted with columns titled A to Z. What you want is to create the space for your days. You can either do this by changing the width of the cells or merging these rows and renaming them to fit your preferred calendar days.
You can do this with the following steps:
- Put your cursor on the line which you want to expand
- Notice the counter turn into a double-sided pointer
- Drag it horizontally to your desired cell-size
- Ensure you leave a few lines of space above for labeling
- Use your cursor to highlight two or more cells
- Find the “merge cells” icon at the top toolbar right beside the color icon
- Click on the icon and merge the two cells.
- Repeat this step for multiple cells until you have the correct number of calendar days
Add A Title Cell For Your Editorial Calendar Template
Now that you have your merged formats, it’s time to create labeling for the weekdays. You are free to use any order, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you’ll be going from Monday to Friday.
Different content types will require different days, and you can use the following steps to rename your cells.
- Highlight any two cells above each larger cell
- Merge the two cells into one
- Type “Monday” in the first cell
- Use the space bar to center the text at the middle of the large bar
- Repeat for each other day of the week
- Highlight all the days of the week and bold them
Adding a Month Title Cell for Your Content Calendar Template
Hold on just a bit longer, your content plan is almost there. What’s left is adding a monthly title cell that will sit above the days. What use is a monthly calendar without a labeled month in the first place?
Similarly, for simplicity purposes, it’s best to use the order from January to December. You can do this using the following simple steps:
- Highlight the entire length of one cell from Monday to Friday
- Merge these cells to create one lengthy cell
- Click “ENTER” and type the name of the month
- Center the text — it will probably now appear below Wednesday
- For aesthetic reasons, you may want to make the month font relatively larger
Duplicate This for An Entire Month
The large cells that you’ve created from Monday to Friday only cover one week of your digital marketing calendar. You need to duplicate this for an entire month.
You can do this with the following steps:
- Highlight the large cells
- Copy and paste
Adding Each Day Of The Month on Your Monthly Calendar
Still there? Don’t worry, you’re almost done. What’s left is labeling each of the larger cells with a number that specifies the specific calendar date.
You can do this manually by following these steps:
- Put your cursor over a specific cell and press ENTER
- Type in the specific calendar date you want
- Press ENTER
- Replicate this for the number of days of that month
Similarly, you can use the auto-fill feature to add dates with the following steps:
- Enter the first two dates in two adjacent cells
- Highlight those two cells
- Look for a small blue box in the lower right corner
- Drag that blue box on any box either horizontally or vertically
Make Your Calendar Aesthetically Pleasing
At this point, you have a functional content marketing calendar that you can fit into your marketing plan. However, you might find that still looks unfinished, or just not that appealing.
Why make it appealing in the first place? Well, high-quality infographics are 30% more likely to be read than plain text.
What’s left is to make your content calendar aesthetically pleasing, which can be just as demanding as creating the calendar itself.
One of the simplest Google Sheets tricks to make your content calendar appealing is adding borders. You can follow these steps:
- Highlight the entire template
- Click on the border icon on the toolbar — it’s close to the paint icon
- Choose the “all borders” option
Color Code Your Google Calendar
The art of color coding is one of the most critical skills in the creation of content calendars. Color coding will have two primary uses in your Google sheets calendar, which are:
Colors go a long way in making your content calendar more appealing. By showing your team that you’re willing to put in the work with simple things like the calendar, they too will up their marketing efforts.
You can color-code your newly created publishing schedule with the following steps:
- Highlight the year cell, click on the paint icon, and choose a color
- Highlight each of the five-weekday title cells, click on the paint icon, and choose a color
Pro tip: use lighter color coding instead of that dark red or blue; they are naturally more relaxing and appealing.
Color coding also comes in handy to ensure the functionality and effectiveness of your content calendar.
You can ensure functionality by:
Using Different Colors to Represent Urgency
Each piece of content has its own urgency, and keeping track of deadlines in a marketing campaign can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, you can use colors to help your team visualize that urgency better. You could:
- Use the lightest shade of red for the least urgent initiatives
- Use a moderate shade of red for content types with approaching deadlines
- Use bright red for deadlines and important dates that are approaching
Using Color Coding For Different Types Of Content
In today’s day and age, any marketing strategy is bound to have different types of content that appeal to various target audiences.
Think about it — there are SEO-optimized blogs, podcasts, social media posts, and email marketing all in need of an optimized content creation and development process.
Color coding goes a long way to help bring some order to this chaos. Your team can:
- Use different colors for long-form content and short-form content
- Use other color codes for podcasts vs. webinars
- Assign a color for special dates such as product launches
- Assign different colors for cells that deal with social media marketing
Adding People To Your Editorial Calendar
The eventual goal of a content calendar is to create a tool that can update your teams and help them keep in touch with your workflows.
Fortunately, unlike Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets has the required functionality to share your editorial calendar. You can do this by:
- Clicking on the share icon on the right-hand-side corner of the screen
- Input the email (or emails) of the people you want to add
- Click add
How To Communicate With Your Teammates
One other leg up Google Sheets has over Microsoft Excel is the potential for real-time communication using the comment and the link functionalities.
You can use the comment functionality with these steps:
- Highlight any cell in your content calendar
- Click “Ctrl+Alt+M” to open the comment section
Alternatively, you can:
- Right-click on a cell and choose the comment action
- Type your comment
- Click “Add”
You can also tag your team members by typing “@” preceded by their Gmail accounts.
These comments can be used to encourage brainstorming of content ideas and communication within your team
How To Leverage Links In Your Editorial Calendar
Picture this. There’s this impressive HubSpot article about Keyword research you think might help your team of writers. How will you go about sharing it with them?
There’s email, text, and Slack, but why add the extra step? You can add links to your Google editorial calendar by:
- Clicking on any text or number in your desired cell
- Highlighting that text or number
- Right-clicking and scroll to the “Add Link” option or entering “Ctrl K”
- Copying and pasting the link of that HubSpot or LinkedIn blog
Now you’re done. Congratulations!
We Can Help
You may have noticed there are a lot of steps involved in creating a Google Sheets marketing calendar. Why put yourself or your teams through all this, especially with the availability of solutions like Welcome?
According to a Welcome-Sirkin study, 78% of Marketers use more than 5 tools to plan and manage their software campaign. We’re here to hopefully help you get that number down. Use our products to develop creative workflows with tools and templates that go beyond the basic functionalities of Google Sheets.
Keeping track of your marketing campaigns can be overwhelming. Marketers don’t have enough time to be creating these templates and running entire marketing campaigns at the same time.
Welcome can help do the heavy lifting on behalf of your team by bringing all the moving wheels in your campaign under a single dashboard. Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account today!