Researching, testing, and improving are parts of the game in digital marketing. Juggling multiple projects, collaborating with multiple teams, and managing multiple deadlines for it all demands a structured schedule. While I’m not the best at structuring my content plans for my personal platforms (sorrrrry, I’ll get better here), I’m meticulous about how I organize and manage my flow at work.
Several content calendars later, and I’ve started asking myself, should I make one for my personal content? If you’re on the fence about organizing your content creation process in a calendar, just take the leap over and dive in. Because if you’re asking if you should have a content calendar, the answer is likely a resounding YES. Here’s why.
What To Consider Before Creating a Content Calendar
If you’re only publishing the occasional blog post or you’re more of a hobby scroller on social media, you probably don’t need the structure of a content calendar. That’s not to say that it can’t help, though. Creating and keeping a content calendar updated requires a ton of consistency.
I’m not the most consistent with posting on my personal digital marketing blog, but my workday is a whole different story. I use a few separate content calendars during my day-to-day workflow, and I would have more, but I’ve combined content types together under specific calendars to keep my brain from exploding.
In all seriousness, if you’re publishing content regularly a content calendar can be an amazing tool to have. This is especially true if you’re creating and distributing content with the end goal of landing clients and making money. But if you’re still on the fence about adding an extra layer to your workflow, consider some of the reasons you might want to stick to a content schedule:
- Lots of content – High volumes of content get challenging to manage, so if you’re scaling up your efforts, schedule your projects on a calendar.
- Working with a team – Are you working with a team of other creators? A content calendar ensures everyone stays on track.
- Multiple content types – Blog posts, Instagram Reels, videos, podcasts … Whatever the content type, scheduling projects on your calendar will help you keep everything organized.
- Multiple deadlines – Tracking a ton of project deadlines? Due dates for drafts, editing, and publishing can be a headache without a structured schedule.
- Multiple platforms – A content calendar is extremely useful for managing all the content you publish across different channels.
What To Plan for in a Content Calendar
Ultimately, it’s up to you what you plan out in a content calendar. I use a couple of calendars for tracking the content my team distributes across different channels, including web/social, email promos, and newsletters. Depending on your projects, you might use your calendar to plan and track:
- Content goals to clarify objectives and key metrics you’ll track to measure success.
- Content strategies that include the overarching content plan and break it down daily, weekly, and monthly as needed.
- Content types you’ll use in your strategy, like blog posts, newsletters, emails, videos, or podcasts.
- Deadlines and short-term milestones for completing each content project, including time for drafting, editing, and publishing.
- Content distribution schedules outlining the pieces you plan to publicize with the types and platforms you’ll publish to.
- Outreach and engagement times each week or month for communicating and engaging with your audience.
You could even keep separate calendars for each of your clients, projects, or career milestones. The most important thing about this tool is that you use it to keep yourself on top of your goals.
Using a Content Calendar
Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are two of the most common tools to use for creating schedules. But you can check out some of the online applications like Notion or Asana. What you use to create your calendar is a matter of preference, but if you’ve yet to create a content calendar, Sheets is an excellent starting place. For an online workspace, Notion’s free plan is enough to track multiple content projects.
Once you have a blank space at your fingertips, plug in the projects on your agenda. For reference, these are some of the content projects I plan across my content calendar:
Are you blogging on the regular? A content calendar is the perfect tool to keep everything organized. Use your calendar to schedule your posts, jot down notes on content types, and list external and internal links. Use your calendar to keep track of posts across multiple blogs, or keep one calendar for each blog you manage.
Social Media Posts
A calendar makes it easier to keep track of social media posts, too. Manage everything from post schedules to specific text for each of your channels. Tools like Notion make it simple to organize your posts by whatever criteria you set. For social media, I use Notion to differentiate the platform, message, and publishing date of each post I plan. I can toggle between views and see things at a month’s glance or by priority. But having the calendar makes it so much easier to plan and stay consistent.
Emails and Newsletters
What better way is there to keep track of when you send emails and newsletters? If you use email or newsletter marketing, a content calendar is necessary at some point, if you don’t already have one. Schedule sending dates, time-bound series, and promo campaigns. Or, if you don’t dabble in the email, disregard this entirely.
If you’re thinking about publishing an eBook, a content calendar is your best friend. Break down each chapter or section of your content and set these as milestones with clear deadlines within your calendar. Use it to track important correspondences, research, or source materials you’ll need for your book. Whether you’re creating fiction or a deep dive into a practical concept, organizing each task within a content calendar will make your life far easier. Trust me.
Video marketing is one of the most successful tactics for engaging with audiences. We’re such visual creatures, it’s hard to scroll past a video without watching. But the processes of shooting, editing, splicing, and formatting can be tough to organize without a content calendar. So set schedules for recording, editing, and publishing your videos. Use your calendar to plan the dates of distribution to different channels. No matter how you plan you calendar, just do it. It’ll help you stay organized and productive.
Are you thinking of hosting a podcast? Content calendars are the perfect tool for outlining each episode or series. Tracking dates, air time, and content topics all in one place makes it easier to organize a consistent schedule. If you plan to have guests on your podcast, keep notes in your calendar on who appears and when.
Your podcast content calendar doesn’t have to stop there, either. Plan a whole series and note the details, like topics, interview questions, and the platforms you plan to distribute it to. The uses are endless — it’s all in how to make your calendar work best for your purposes.
Paid Ad Campaigns
If you’re running paid ads for social, search, or on your site, a content calendar is a must for keeping track of timelines and payment schedules. Depending on how many ad campaigns you launch within a month, you might use your calendar to track which platforms you advertise on, how long each cycle runs, and the goals and average performance of each ad. Seeing a layout this way can even show you at a glance, which campaigns work best and which you might cut for the next period.
Outreach strategies are essential to large-scale content creation. If you’re working in-house or collaborating with a team on large content projects, an outreach plan might be on your list of promotional approaches. Organize your outreach in a calendar to make it easier for yourself—and your team—to see where you’ve gone and where you have yet to go. Track brands or influencers, platforms, promoted content, and won backlinks in your calendar. Note outreach partners you’re working with and others you’ve been unsuccessful at reaching.
Content calendars go beyond planning an article. With the tools and tech we have these days, there are so many ways to create and customize schedules and workflows to support your content development.
Looking for Calendar Templates?
For Notion users: Grab a copy of my free editorial calendar template to track your blog content. Toggle between multiple views, including timelines, monthly overviews, and tables.
For Google users: Grab a copy of my free template for Google Sheets. Once in, make a copy to your Drive and customize it to fit your needs.
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