How to make a content calendar that actually works
Is this familiar to you? You have read 100’s of posts on making a content calendar. You know how to make them. But for some reason yours never sticks. You miss posts, you never have social media scheduled and for some reason promotions never work?
So how do people get a content calendar that just not looks great on paper but actually works? What is the secret of these great bloggers?
The ultimate post on content calendars that actually work
What is a content calendar?
The place to plan out your blog posts and other content. It creates an overview and helps you plan ahead.
More advance usage of a content calendar can help you grow your blog and business and help prepare for promotions months ahead.
There are many different ways to shape content calendars.
Most people have one big content calendar for Social media, blog posts and promotions.
Do I need to be a big company with a team to have a content calendar?
No, certainly not.
While you might be a one-man business, all the different kinds of content and posts are probably still a lot of work.
The only feature you might not need is the assign this tasks to someone else button.
Some examples here or posts linked to might talk about editorial calendars and how to use them as a team, but this does not stop you from learning from their techniques.
What defines a working calendar?
- It Helps you stay organised and inspired
- Helps you create content that helps you sell
- Helps you stay on track
If you content calendar is not working for you, you need to change that! It is no use having a content calendar if it is just working against you!
What goes wrong?
You don’t have a clear vision
This is So me! If you don’t know what you are doing with your content it is hard to know what you want your content to do in the future and how it can help you!
Planning and filling in future projects and subjects are harder and it is super unclear what you are supposed to do.
First get a clear vision of what you want your content to do!
You don’t work and think ahead
You need to make posts that fit you now and in the future. They help you with big dates and they are planned around your life as well.
Some things that should be on your calendar;
- Major holidays
- Your breaks
- Big launches
I actually said this in one of my very first blog posts, but I am guilty of this too!
Apart from thinking ahead, you need to actually work ahead!
You fail to repurpose
Nothing is as hard as coming up with new content all the time. A part of a successful content calendar is to save time. And repurposing content saves you loads of time.
Some of my favourite repurpose ideas are;
- Combining blog posts for an ebook
- Taking top-10-tip posts and create 10 tweets
- Re-using graphics.
Automate your business!
Automation is a big part of this all. Without the ability to automate some parts of your business it is almost impossible to do it all.
Think of scheduling in advance and such.
Top tips for having a working content calendar
Having a theme for a month or a week is super useful!
- Helps you come up with related content Ideas
- Helps you get important launches and such on track
You can use them to promote ebooks or to promote a course. Maybe you have a Freebie for a particular subject that could really help you grow your email list!
(Hey, if you can guess what the theme was for this month in the comments, let me know!)
You know what almost all big bloggers do? They work ahead. And not just a day, but most of them are weeks or even months ahead.
And more importantly they don’t let their content calendars catch up with them. Ever wrote some weeks of blog posts ahead. Then just sat down until all of the sudden you had to scramble again to get that blog post written before the next morning?
You need to always have more content than you need so you can easily fill in blanks or to have back-up when something goes wrong!
Apps and Help
- Calendar plugin for WordPress
Super easy to install and super easy to use! I have this one because it helps me schedule my actual blog posts and help me have a overview of them!
But this is not the only option for you so if you are looking for something else why not read this post on 6 free content calendars for WordPress!
- Coschedule or other content calendar help
Of course, you can also invest in these but they can be quite pricey for people like me and you!
- Trello as a content calendar
Trello is what I use as a content calendar! Super easy and totally free, but it requires a little bit more work since it is not automated like co-schedule or flipchart! And with a small amount of possible integrations you need to copy paste a lot by hand!
You can also always use a great paper variation to make a good content calendar! Even if you are using an app, a paper version can really help you think it all out first!
Content calendars can get a little bit messy. Keeping the overview is super important!
Some great ways to do this is with good coloured tags and categories!
Recommended Scheduled times vs You
There are a lot of recommended scheduling times and scheduling amounts for different platforms. But at the End of the day you just need to do something that works for you and what you can do for a long time!
So instead of chasing behind those official numbers, find out what works for your schedule!
Filling it up
Now about how you can fill you content calendar. For blog posts topics and research there are lots of options.
Most likely you will find it easy to fill in the first few weeks. Just as a reminder though; Some bigger bloggers and agencies have their content calendar ready up to 6 months ahead!
First I want to share a blog post I wrote some time ago;
Secondly; Researching the competition gives you both a clear view of what is going on and helps you avoid topics that are already covered loads.
This is also a great way to find good content to share and to include in your own blog posts in the future!
Have multiple titles ready
This is a super easy way to fill your twitter planning and to have better introductions for your post. For every post that you write, write multiple titles.
This also helps you write better headlines in general.
This also helps with writing extra descriptions and targeting multiple keywords. I would just generally really advice this one.
The number of titles I have for this posts; 12.
I mentioned this one earlier bit this is super easy to help you fill up that content calendar!
1 blogpost = 2-3 videos + 5-10 tweets + 2-3 Images
Don’t forget to make space for promoting older content. If done right this can drive loads more traffic and really help you fill up that content calendar!
Also this is great for repeat launches when you save the content and the graphics! You can easily repeat the promotion plan with just a small adjustment here and there. If you want to keep it fresh, you can just add some personal email etc.
And I always say this specifically for artists;
You can definitely share your art work more than once!
So what do you think? How far in advance is your content calendar running? And do you have any tips to share?
This post and many other amazing posts can also be found here;