Content calendars – why you need one (and a free template)

How can one simple spreadsheet get you a raise? Let’s have a look.

You may have worked hard to create a content strategy. Brilliant, well done, kudos all round. But now comes the challenge of making your strategy come to life.

That’s where a content calendar can really help. It can be the glue that fixes your tactics together, as well as making you super organised and totally in control. Impressively so.

What's a content calendar?

It's an easy-to-use, sharable plan, tailored to your content requirements. That means the details will vary, but there's also a lot in common. For example, any content calendar will always need to show dates, responsibilities and some kind of content outline as the bare minimum. That's because it has to give you the answers to the following questions:

  • Where is your content being published? (corporate site / blog / YouTube etc.)
  • What is it? (a title and summary is usually enough here)
  • Who is responsible?
  • How is it getting done? (if it isn’t obvious)
  • When is it happening? 

You might also want to note how and where your content has been consumed (yum), as well as showing what is working – i.e. how you're measuring success. (This is where you can show that your hard work is making things happen.)

So, how’s this going to get me a raise?

No matter how complex your organisation, there’s always room to bring a little more order. A clear plan for delivering your content is a surefire way to show the world you’re smarter than Sherlock. If competency in chaos isn’t enough to convince them, you can show how this thinking is translating into real-world wins. Why not experiment with content on different channels? (For example, your video might work better on Facebook if it has captions.)

A lovely side effect of a content calendar is teamwork. By joining up the content process, you'll be getting other departments to work together – giving you the figures you need or promoting the content you’re creating. So not only do you know everything, you’re making things happen across the organisation. Everyone loves you. Well, we love you.

I’m sold, how do I get one?

Drum roll please. We’ve done some of the hard work for you and created a free to download template for a 2017 content calendar right here (if you use it and like it, we'd be chuffed if you share and give us a shout out @larkingly).

As every content calendar is personal, you’ll need to change it to match your content needs. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add in a target audience and track whether you’re getting through to them
  • Put ‘due by…’ dates in for workflow elements
  • Add in some social media figures – likes, shares, retweets, number of comments etc.

The main thing is to begin filling it out. Start simply and work in more complexity if and when you need it. 

Happy content managing!