What’s your favourite type of pie? Apple? Blueberry? Strawberry Rhubarb? They’re all made in slightly different ways, but you come up with the same tasty result: a yummy pie!
There are many ways to publish content (like blogs, lead-magnets, e-books, social media…etc) in your business but when done right, they all end up with the same end result: you becoming an authority in your niche and getting more clients.
But, when you’re busy, it can be difficult to publish the right content at the right time, in the right format, or even remember to publish something in the first place! That’s where a content calendar comes in. Your content calendar is a calendar or list of topics and dates and content formats. It helps you plan for the future and stay accountable to your deadlines.
No two content calendar formats are the same, but here are 4 of my favourite ways to create a content calendar for your blog or other content marketing pieces:
1. Colourful Sticky Notes
I’m going to kick things off with an offline format. Go to your local stationery store and buy a bunch of coloured sticky notes (the more colourful the better). Then just start writing your content ideas on stickies. One idea per sticky. Peel them off and place them on the wall. Keep going until you run out of ideas…but keep the sticky note handy in case inspiration strikes again.
Next, organize your ideas into categories or themes. For example, if you have a photography business, you could make a pile of corporate photography, family photography, and branding photography topics. Then, take these themes and assign them to a date period (monthly is usually good).
Now, put a date next to each article so they fit within that themed time period. Do this until you run out of ideas. Add new stickies as you come up with new ideas to fill in the holes.
Then transfer the dates and titles over to paper or an electronic format if that’s your preference.
2. Use Trello
Trello is like a virtual sticky note app on your phone and computer. With their easy drag-and-drop interface, you can assign cards to columns to quickly and easily organize your ideas.
Open a new Trello board and give it 13 Columns (known as “lists”). Label List #1 as “Ideas.” Then label the following lists one for each month (January through December). The idea is you create 1 card for each topic idea you have (similar to 1 sticky note per topic). Then you can drag that card into the month you want to create that piece.
You can assign dates and subtasks under each one to take it a step further. There are even integrations with Google calendar so you can add cards to your calendar when you give them a date.
I use Trello for my business a lot and highly recommend it if you like the colourfulness of sticky notes, without the paper waste!
3. Good ol’ Spreadsheet
This is a format I use for my business and clients too. It’s a basic spreadsheet with 1 row per content idea. I have a column for monthly themes, publishing date, what format the content piece will be created in, and all the other information I need.
4. A Paper or Digital Calendar App
You can also get a physical calendar or planner and write your topics in there. Perhaps you want to bullet journal some ideas? If it’s a paper calendar, think about highlighting it or writing in coloured pens to make it stand out (and make it look pretty). You can also use your digital calendar and put topics and dates in there. If you use project management software, you may be able to add them to your processes and calendar there.
There are many ways to create a content calendar to help you publish your blog, podcast, or any other content marketing projects you have on the go. Many can also act as an idea repository where you can save your ideas as you get inspired.
No matter how you do it a content calendar is the most important step to a successful content marketing plan. No matter how you do it, you’re still aiming for the same end result…that delicious strawberry rhubarb pie…err, I mean getting more clients!
What’s your favourite online (or offline) tool to plan your business marketing?
Ashley “WriterGal” Doan inspires entrepreneurs and women to action through humour and authenticity. She helps entrepreneurs and businesses show the world that they are the niche expert to know and trust. Her signature systems help you use content marketing in a way that is easy, sustainable, and profitable, so you attract your ideal client with less effort.
Through her business WriterGal Marketing, Ashley provides ghostwriting services, has a suite of online programs and courses, hosts a content marketing mastermind, and offers VIP days to help clients plan every aspect of their content marketing for 6-12 months.
She is also an acclaimed speaker, international best selling author, the mother of toddlers, and also has a deadly addition to coffee!