How to Create a Content and Promotion Calendar (with Templates)
This post is part of a 9-step guide to creating a Content Strategy. To return to the landing page for this guide, click here.
Now that you know what type of content to create, it’s time to decide who will do what and when.
For some companies, this may be as simple as having your one writer produce an article every week. For others, you may have multiple writers working on articles, set to publish at different times throughout the week or month, with different people promoting it from there and so on.
In either case, it’s a good idea to write all this down so everyone knows their responsibilities and when everything needs to get done.
Also, when it comes to creating content specifically aimed to bring in search traffic, don’t get caught up into the idea that you need to publish every day or every week.
While publishing content consistently is great, I believe making sure you are spending time promoting and evaluating your efforts are more important.
A lot of marketers have the idea that they need to publish content on a consistent basis, or that the more they produce, the more traffic they will gain. But that’s just not true. Google does not automatically reward you for producing a lot of content or doing so on a consistent basis.
What Google wants to see, is that your content is actually valuable. One of the best ways to do that is by creating really amazing and valuable content that people will link to. That’s why it’s so important that you are promoting effectively, rather than merely focusing on updating your blog every week.
So when developing your content calendar keep that in mind.
Also, many content calendars only include what content is going to be created, by who, and when. But, I think it’s a good idea to incorporate how you’re going to spend time promoting your content as well.
On top of that, I think it’s a good idea to include when you might revisit that content. You don’t want to just publish your content and be done with it forever. Most content is going to need to be updated at some point.
So with all that said, you really need to think about how you are going to split your time (or your team’s time). For instance, maybe you decide that you should spend 25% of your time producing content, 50% promoting it, and 25 % evaluating and updating it over time.
You also want to think about how that time breaks down to the different personas you created earlier. Let’s say you have three personas. How are they going to work into this content calendar? How much time do you want to spend on each?
You might again want to decide how you split your time on each. For instance, 50% to Persona A, 25% to Persona B, and 25% to Persona C.
I know that is a lot to think about and work out. It can be a bit overwhelmingly. Especially, if you have multiple personas and a whole marketing team to account for. Take your time and make sure everyone is on the same page. Use the template or develop your own that fits your needs.
Like with any template, there will be sections that you may not use or ones that are missing based on your specific needs. The content calendar template that I have included is based on a Google Sheet. But that is just my preference.
Some companies use different formats, like Google Calendar, or even SaaS companies that have calendars specific for this purpose.
Here are some things to include in your content calendar:
The letters correspond with the column letters in the template.
- Content Title. The title of the article, landing page, video, etc.
- Content Type. What type of content is it? Blog post, landing page, product page, signup page, content upgrade/lead magnet (ebook, PDF, course, whitepaper), video, etc.
- Content Category. What category does the content fit into? For instance, you may have a time management category, marketing category, etc.
- Keyword. What is the target keyword?
- Goal. What would you like visitors/readers to do after viewing the content (head to a product page, signup for an email newsletter, read another article, etc.)
- Buying Stage. At what point in the buying stage would a reader/visitor of this content be in? You might classify them in a certain point of your sales funnel. For instance, Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU), or Bottom of Funnel (BOFU). You could also classify them as Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, or Advocacy. However you decide to label them, this will help decide what kind of lead magnet or content upgrades you might offer. It will also help to decide where you should lead them next.
- New or Revised. Is this a completely new piece of content or are you revising a past of piece of content (like a blog post)?
- Status. Where is the content right now? Not started, work in progress, pitching, submitted, accepted, scheduled, published, etc.
- Persona. What persona is this content being produced for?
- Author. Who is actually producing this content?
- Editor. If your operation allows, who is editing the content?
- Owner. Finally, who has final say over the content? And who is going to track metrics and revisit it when the time comes?
- Content Upgrade. Are you going to offer some sort of content upgrade or lead magnet? If so, what? Remember, that the more specific the content upgrade is to that specific piece of content, the higher chance of signup success.
- Draft Due Date. When should the first draft be due?
- Publish Date. When should the content finally be published?
- Promoter. Who will spend time promoting the article (sending out email blasts, email outreach for link building opportunities, etc).
- Email Blast Date. Include what date your email newsletter, corresponding to your latest piece of content, will go out.
- Social Media Date. Include what date your social media posts, corresponding to your latest piece of content, will be posted.
- Link Building Date. Include when you are going to spend time reaching out for link building opportunities.
Part of the reason for doing all this is to make sure you hold yourself (or your team) accountable to getting everything in the content process done. That means not only producing the content but promoting and evaluating too.
Again, these questions may not cover everything you want to include or it may bit overboard for your operation. Consider each point and make adjustments as needed.
For more information on creating a content calendar, I recommend checking out the following resources: