Every marketer has heard about content calendars. They’re in your favorite marketing blogs, YouTube ads, and in your email feed.
It’s always calendar template this, calendar template that…templates everywhere.
By now you’ve read all the blogs about marketing calendars. You’re probably tired of hearing endless rambling about templates.
What you want are actionable steps of how to implement them in your marketing strategy.
If only there was an article that would put these questions to rest…
This piece will cover:
- What makes a good content calendar template?
- Why do you need a content calendar template?
- Creating the ultimate content calendar template for your marketing
There are many content marketing tools in any marketer’s strategy. Some like “random email lists” are just a half-hearted attempt at separating you from your hard-earned money.
Others like the content calendars and editorial calendars are proven and effective. They streamline workflows, remove conflicts, reduce redundancies, and effect marketing strategies.
Who wouldn’t want that? Spoiler alert, no marketer ever.
What Makes A Good Content Calendar Template
There’s a thin difference between a good calendar template and a great marketing calendar.
That said, marketers who document their strategies are 313% more likely to succeed.
An editorial calendar is the logical foundation of your content strategy. That’s why you need an effective content calendar.
Some of its qualities include:
- Customer-Centricity in an Editorial Calendar
- A Calendar Template That Is Goal Defined
- A Calendar That Qualifies and Categorizes Leads
- Research and Metrics in a Content Calendar
- Capacity Planning Goes A Long Way
Customer-Centricity in an Editorial Calendar
What was the reason behind that decision to have social media posts each Friday, or similarly the sending of emails each morning?
It could be because your team members are burnt out, your customers show more social media engagement on weekends, or that you just like posting on Fridays?
An effective editorial calendar should always have the customer at the center. If you’re posting on Fridays, it should be because the customer is more active on Fridays.
Instances in the calendar should use metrics to discover:
- When the customers are more active for a particular medium
- Seasons and holidays when the prospect favors a specific medium
- Feedback on the pieces of content the audience likes
A Calendar Template That Is Goal Defined
Goal definition is one of the most crucial aspects of an effective marketing strategy.
What are your marketing efforts set to achieve? It could be:
- Lead generation and conversion
- Customer retention and brand loyalty
- Brand awareness of a product launch
- Thought leadership and brand awareness
For lead generation, a marketing campaign calendar will mostly lean on blogs and email marketing. For thought leadership, on the other hand, long-form content such as white papers should have more prominence.
An occasional podcast on the content marketing strategy will be great for building a knowledge base, brand loyalty, and customer retention.
A Calendar That Qualifies and Categorizes Leads
One thing we can all agree on is that all leads and prospects are not the same. That said, the journey of conversion should reflect on your content calendar since the development of leads is not linear but an arc.
Your content marketing strategy should map out the top-funnel lead, middle funnel, and bottom-funnel lead. Always see to it that:
- Content creation is at all levels of lead qualification
- The start of your marketing campaign should leverage top-funnel marketing strategies
- The types of content should become more intensive as the marketing strategy progresses
- Content should not leave out loyal and existing customers
Research and Metrics in a Content Calendar
Content ideas and planning should happen in the context of a lot of research and metrics. There should be a statistic or metric behind each instance in your content calendar.
While creating your integrated marketing calendar, ensure to:
- Leverage feedback on already existing blogs
- Get guiding statistics from Google Analytics
- Perform a content audit
Capacity Planning Goes A Long Way
Your content calendar should also consider the amount of workload your team members can handle at a time.
To streamline workflows, it should also equally distribute tasks across teams, departments, and stakeholders to ensure that no single person is overburdened by the work.
The following welcome tools come in handy:
- Progress tracking
- Time management
- Productivity management
That’s A Lot Of Trouble: Why Go Through It All In The First Place?
Well, why spend time on a marketing calendar template?
Marketers have better things to do on Fridays, beer included. Excel spreadsheets are also cheap, and your marketing is probably doing fine.
Benefits of content calendars include:
- To Effect Your Marketing Strategy
- Creating Your Marketing Crystal Ball
- Empowering Your Marketing Teams
1. To Effect Your Marketing Strategy
Though many marketers may not admit it initially, content marketing is hard. Subsequently, many large and small businesses run on almost ineffective marketing strategies.
Social media posts go unnoticed, public relations are in dire straits, and email campaigns are a disaster where prospects unsubscribe unceremoniously.
This is often due to the lack of a plan in marketing activities, something a content marketing template is here to fix.
2. Creating Your Marketing Crystal Ball
A well-documented marketing plan will enable you to strategize on tomorrow’s marketing today. No shocks and surprises again.
You don’t want a situation where it’s the 4th of July, when prospects always respond best to your marketing efforts, but you already spent your budget on other marketing activities.
3. Empowering Your Marketing Teams
Show me your marketing team, and I’ll tell you how successful your marketing strategy is. Is your team running around with ancient and outdated marketing tools?
Do they use sticky notes and spreadsheets with no plan whatsoever while missing due dates and deadlines?
If so, then, Houston, we have more than a problem.
A marketing calendar template empowers your marketing team. It takes their productivity and marketing efforts and puts it to the best use.
Eventually, you end up with:
- More productive team members.
Creating the Ultimate Editorial Calendar Template
A content calendar template is a marketing tool that helps you outline your marketing plans in a logical and chronological manner.
There is no perfect way to create an editorial calendar. However, the following steps are a constant in almost all effective calendar templates:
- Choose A Content Marketing Calendar Tool
- Perform Some Role Definition In Your Content Calendar
- Single Out Your Social Media Target Audience
- Content Ideation For Your Content Marketing
- Choose Your KPIs and Metrics
- Come Up With A Publishing Schedule For Your Marketing Plan
- Calendarize Your Publishing Schedule
1. Choose A Content Marketing Calendar Tool
Before you begin, you have to choose a content marketing calendar tool. Some marketing management software like Welcome offer free marketing calendar templates that you can customize to your functionality.
However, for a simple and non-complex marketing plan, you can use free tools like:
- Google Sheets
- Microsoft Excel templates
- Free download marketing templates
2. Perform Some Role Definition In Your Content Calendar
Role definition goes a long way to streamline the workflows in your marketing campaign. This is something that should spill even into your content calendar.
In so doing, each instance of your marketing template should answer the question “by who?” Ensure to:
- Assign roles such as head of email marketing and head of social media
- Assign a team leader to each team
- Assign each task to a team member
- Assign different pieces of content to content creators
- Cluster social media platforms and put someone in charge
3. Single Out Your Social Media Target Audience
Now that all stakeholders have defined roles, what’s left is to define your audiences. Remember, you can attract different audiences for different marketing channels.
Your elderly prospects are not likely to be on Instagram. Similarly, your teenage leads are probably now discovering LinkedIn.
Customers like relevant and personalized content. That’s why vague and non-personalized content has 88% lower response rates than personalized content. For successful content mapping, ensure you have:
- A target audience for each social media platform
- Buyer personas for an effective marketing strategy
- A separate tab for email marketing target audiences
4. Content Ideation For Your Content Marketing
After defining your target audience, what your content calendar template needs is content ideas. At this stage, your stakeholders not only brainstorm the content creation and ideation but also:
- The marketing channels for the content, i.e., social media and email marketing
- The types of content, i.e., blogs, podcasts, email
- The social media platforms for each type of content
With this vision in mind, a marketing team can then go ahead and plan current and future content for their marketing strategy. Ensure to:
- Brainstorm on keywords for search engine optimization
- Come up with topics that are relevant to the target audience
- Ensure to have a healthy balance between recent news and evergreen content
5. Choose Your KPIs and Metrics
What good is a marketing plan if you can’t tell whether it’s working? This is where the key performance indicators (KPIs) come in.
These are metrics that help you measure your marketing campaign’s progress and discover whether your marketing efforts are paying off. Key marketing metrics include ROI, SEO, engagement, and time on site, among others. Ensure to:
- Leverage progress tracking tools on platforms like Welcome
- Utilize free analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Perform content audits every once in a while
6. Come Up With A Publishing Schedule For Your Marketing Plan
With all that as a foundation, what’s left and probably the most crucial is scheduling. This is determining when to disseminate the content to your target audience.
Remember, content creation is nothing without timely content distribution. To achieve your marketing goals, you have to ensure:
- You appreciate seasonality (engagement spikes) in your marketing schedule
- Your publishing schedule is at the prospect’s convenience
- Your social media marketing can be automated
- Your publishing schedule respects special marketing days for your small business
7. Calendarize Your Publishing Schedule
With the wealth of insight and information, the second last step before content creation is filing your content marketing template. If it was a social media calendar, fill it with the social media content relevant to your marketing plan.
Before You Leave…You Forgot Something
Fourteen percent of people who set goals are 10 times more likely to succeed. To be one of them, you have to start somewhere, and for many marketers, those baby steps were taken with Welcome.
Welcome is your one-stop shop for all things marketing management. From free templates to Kanban boards, we have it all.
Why wait when you can start today? Get started with a free Welcome account today!