A content calendar is a systemfor executing your team’s content, editorial, and social media strategies.
Whether you’re a solo operation or working with a team of writers, producers, and editors, a content calendar helps you stay on track. How many pieces of content are in the “approved” stage? Which campaign does a piece of content belong to? What are the distribution channels for a piece of content? These are all questions a content calendar can help answer.
Whether you use a Google Sheet or some other online tool as your content calendar, the most important part of your content calendar is that it stays up to date and it aids your team with moving content from the idea stage to production.
I’ve been creating content (blog posts, videos, social media) for my own businesses and for Coda. I created this content calendar template based on my experience using other content calendars and put the best features from these tools into this template. This template can be used by agencies, in-house content teams, and solopreneurs who have made content a key component of their marketing strategy. Get started with this template and
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Tutorial on how to use this template:
1. How to use a content calendar
I asked a few content experts about how they use their content calendars. The first theme I found is that everyone has their own unique processes for maintaining and updating their content calendars. The reasons for this variability in process results from two things: 1) content strategy might dictate certain types of content over others and 2) certain types of content do work better in the content expert’s industry.
Scheduling when content gets published is another key consideration in a content calendar. Dates will inevitably get shifted around as your colleagues might spend more time on a piece of content than originally planned. The content marketing manager at
explains how their team relies on creative to deliver assets to move content through their calendar:
The content operation is mostly a 1-person show (me). The biggest bottleneck/unknown is design, which means we have to plan and work around in a way that gives the creative team enough time to create any materials we need for content.
, a freelance content marketing strategist, said that proper research ensures your content calendar operates smoothly:
Strategy - it’s part of the basis of an editorial calendar. It involves research - even if it’s just secondary (news outlets, Quora, etc). Your editorial calendar should be based on customer research and research with the company (e.g, what questions does the customer service team get asked and how can you use this info for content development?).
Your content calendar might live in a spreadsheet or some other tool, but where does the actual work happen? You’re writing drafts in Google Docs, Wordpress, or some other CMS. Social media posts might be created in Buffer or Hootsuite. You’re then copying and pasting links to these tools into a spreadsheet.
Instead of having a sea of browser tabs open with drafts of all the blog posts you’re working on or editing, they should be “stored” in the same place as your calendar.
This template allows you to see your content drafts (see
) in your content repository and you can do all the writing, editing, and proofreading in one place. In the gif below, you’ll see the draft for the Behind the “Wheel” content is hyperlinked in the row. When you click on that draft, it goes straight to another page where you can do all the planning and writing for that content:
for 2021 is all set. The most difficult part is tracking and executing to that strategy given all the moving parts of your strategy. Your content calendar should be flexible enough to handle all the nuances of your strategy whether you work at an agency with multiple clients or you’re working in-house for NASA.
What issues specifically should your content calendar solve? It should account for the variety of content types that your target audience wants to read and watch. While blog posts are still a great way to tell stories and good for SEO, your content calendar for 2021 should also include:
, you’ll see the traditional calendar layout as well as a kanban layout of your content by the “estimated publish month.” While it’s important to have an exact publish date for your content in 2021, I think visualizing your content calendar for all of 2021 helps you find gaps in your campaigns or
6. Conclusion: manage content calendar and drafts in one place
While you can replicate many parts of this template in a Google Sheet or another tool, the main advantage this template offers is the ability to manage your content calendar and content drafts in one place. Along the left-hand side, you can create multiple nested pages of your campaigns, drafts, and other work needed to execute on your content strategy:
I hope this content calendar template will set your team up for success in 2021 and beyond! 🚀
Get started with this template:
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⏩ Quick start
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folder which will contain the actual draft for the content (include images, videos, etc.) You can hyperlink to any of these “draft” pages by hitting CMD+K (Mac) or CTRL+K (PC) in this template. The “Draft/Outline” column in the