3 Characteristics of an Effective Content Calendar

By now, you realize how important content marketing is for your company. It helps you bring personality and credibility to your brand, and it’s an effective way to get potential customers to come to you without pushing an obvious sales pitch. As you may have discovered, a content calendar is necessary for organizing your thoughts and building an effective strategy for your content marketing campaigns. However, depending on how a marketing director or manager designs the resource, it can either be a team’s best friend or worst enemy. Here are some characteristics of the best content calendars that encourage adoption and define a sound strategy for your team.

1. Highly organized

When you have a slew of creative ideas and metrics to cram into one document, things can get messy pretty quickly. Copyblogger, a content marketing resource, suggested keeping one spreadsheet for the year with one tab for each month. Within each tab, include columns like topics, metrics, publish dates, and team members assigned to edit them. It may be helpful to keep a separate brainstorming list of ideas that can strike editors and writers while working on a piece. But whatever you do, don’t just throw them in a “notes” field. Including them in the calendar, especially in a miscellaneous column, can over-complicate things and make you less likely to use it. For this same reason, it’s best to keep notes within the calendar to a minimum.

2. Very flexible

In an ideal world, a marketing analyst would collaborate with a team of copywriters to devise topics for the year according to what performs best. From there, the calendar would be the main resource for all writers to reference before generating their weekly articles. But since most companies don’t typically experience ideal situations often, you’ll have to make certain adjustments. Unbounce, a company that helps marketers build landing pages, suggested viewing your calendar as a living resource and keeping it flexible. Oftentimes, a new trend in the industry or an important news item will completely throw off your schedule and take priority. In this case, it’s important to shift around your calendar to accommodate to it – otherwise, it will be out of sync with production and inaccurate. Once employees deem a spreadsheet unreliable, the chances that they’ll consistently refer back to it are slim.

3. Super simple

For those who like to keep everything in one place, it may be tempting to include as much information as possible in each of the tabs of your calendar. However, that doesn’t always make it user friendly. In fact, a calendar loaded with columns and notes can discourage employees from using it. Content marketing blog Cursive advised keeping things as basic as possible to encourage adoption and use among your entire team. Start by building each tab with as few fields as possible. Identify which columns are absolutely necessary for your calendar to make sense, and don’t include anything more.

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