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Content Calendar Template

Overview

Managing content, especially within larger teams and organizations, can be a daunting task, but professional marketers know how rewarding it can be when done right. Strategizing and planning ahead is essential for effective content marketing, and using a content calendar is one of the best tools to serve this purpose.

If you are new to editorial management or looking for a way to keep all your content well organized, this page offers you a series of resources, from definitions and purposes to a free downloadable template that you can use to build your very own.
 

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar (also known as editorial calendar) is a written schedule of when and where your upcoming content is to be published. It provides a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators to plan their work over a given period of time and track content types, promotional channels, authors and publish dates.
 

What should a content calendar include?

Content or editorial calendars typically include the following elements:

  • Upcoming pieces and content owners;
  • Important dates (events, seasonality);
  • Themes/Topics (subtopics may be relevant as well);
  • Publishing cadence (weekly, monthly, etc.);
  • Key distribution channels (website, social media, blog);
  • Status updates;
  • Planned promotional activity;
  • Partnerships;
  • Updates to existing content.
     

Why is a content calendar important?

Providing a mutually-agreed system for planning, writing and scheduling content over a specific period of time, content calendars ensure structure, clarity and consistence, as well as accountability. Categorizing content and showing the corresponding calendar timeline, they ensure transparency on upcoming material.

Using an editorial calendar bolsters your content marketing strategy because it:

  • Ensures that all your content-related tasks are actually happening;
  • Improves delivery rate and saves time by setting deadlines which hold teams accountable;
  • Makes it easier to collaborate with your team and outside partners since it keeps everyone on the same page;
  • Gives you a big-picture overview of your upcoming material which acts as the reference point and foundation for your content planning; it directs the content that will be published by setting a high-level theme over a long period of time.
     

What is a social media editorial calendar?

Social media editorial calendars are organizational tools for strategically planning all the content you’ll create and share on social media platforms. Apart from scheduling when and which social posts will be shared, a content calendar for social media is also used to manage campaigns and track deadlines.
 

How do you build a good content calendar?

Here are 5 of the most important steps you need to take in order to create powerful and efficient editorial calendar templates for your business:

  1. Set your content marketing objectives – think of the ways in which content marketing can help your business goals. Among the most common ones are:

    • driving more traffic to your business website;
    • improving your search engine optimization, and thus brand awareness and reach;
    • generating more leads and conversions.
  2. Research possible topics to underline your strategy – this stage is not about coming up with exact headlines, but rather with rough ideas of content types that would help you reach your marketing objectives. For example:

    • If you want to generate more leads, creating more downloadable content is recommended;
    • To drive more traffic to your website, creating how-to guides and listicles are known to attract readers;
    • Improved search engine optimization usually relies on content which brings value to target audiences and uses specific keywords.
  3. Content research and understanding your analytics – to create more strategic content, you need to take a closer look at your audience and the types of content they prefer. Use analytics tools to determine:

    • What type of content generates the most shares?
    • Which topics are most popular?
    • What content format works best for your audience (short form or long form, infographics, e-books, how-to guides)?
  4. Coming up with content ideas – once you’re clear on your marketing objectives and the key details on your target audience and their preferences, you and your team should brainstorm content ideas to support this input.

  5. Continuously monitor your results and adjust your strategy – no editorial calendar should be set in stone; once you’ve put a certain type of content out there, it’s great practice to monitor its results and use the information to optimize your calendar and, consequently, your content marketing strategy.
     

How do you choose the best content calendar format?

There is no such thing as a universal editorial calendar model – it all depends on the needs of your team. However, there are a few standard questions you should ask yourself to decide on the ideal format of your content marketing calendar. These include:

  • How frequently are you publishing content? Determining how often you publish helps you visualize your editorial calendar on a regular basis.
  • Do you create more than one type of content? If so, the editorial calendar needs to make a distinction among these types.
  • How many people will be using the editorial calendar? The more on board, the more comprehensive the solution should be to allow these participants to brainstorm, collaborate, and provide feedback on assignments in real time.
  • What are the stages through which content goes before being published? You need to clearly delineate your content pipeline (submission, review and approval processes) so your editorial calendar can distinguish between two similar tasks that are in different stages of creation.
  • What format will you use to organize it? You should choose the system that best aligns with your team’s workflow and overall goals. The most commonly used options are printed format, spreadsheets, software services.
     

Why use the content calendar template?

This downloadable editorial calendar template was created to help those responsible for content creation within an organization to plan and lay out publishing schedules in a simple, straightforward format. It enables marketers to present and coordinate content marketing initiatives in a manner that builds alignment between teams, keeps writers accountable for their work, and is easy to communicate to high-level audiences such as clients and executives.

To build trust and create a long-term relationship with the target audience, content marketing requires strategic planning and consistency. Professionals can use the example content calendar to outline their team’s plan over a 3-month period and to track progress more easily.

Built as a visual Gantt chart slide, the template can help marketers to:

  • easily show key marketing tasks and deliverables, as well as their due dates;
  • establish a publishing schedule that helps keep a consistent presence;
  • encourage post idea and key topic generation;
  • illustrate the general marketing strategy in a way that everyone can understand;
  • quickly make adjustments whenever plans change.
     

Updating the template

The free content calendar template was designed as a native PowerPoint slide with all objects editable, so it can be easily modified to reflect the specifics of individual publishing schedules. For instance, users can change the current color-coding or task shapes to group initiatives by content type - e.g. website content, blog, Knowledge Base etc. – or show which tasks are assigned to which team member. Any texts, dates, shapes, fonts, colors and positions can be changed manually using PowerPoint's controls, or they can be updated automatically with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in.

An intuitive tool that plugs right into PowerPoint, Office Timeline allows users to quickly generate, customize and manage timelines, Gantt charts and project schedules. Content marketers can use the timeline maker to update the editorial calendar template effortlessly or to create other similar visuals that are easy to share with team members, department heads and other executives.

The add-in’s familiar interface, gallery of Gantt chart templates and productivity features such as the ability to import data from Excel or to add indicators like task duration and percentage complete will enable content marketing professionals to create impressive visuals fast and effectively highlight their team's progress.

Updating your template is simple and fast.

Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly customize any of the Gantt chart templates above or create your own. Easily change the texts, colors and shapes of your Gantt chart and update dates instantly by drag & drop, all within PowerPoint.

Free PowerPoint Gantt chart and Swimlane Maker