At this point, you’ve considered how to develop personas for your content marketing program, how to generate winning content ideas, and how to narrow down your channels to those that will deliver most efficiently. Now you need to think about how you might organize and execute your content program so that it effectively delivers on your strategy and for that, we develop a content calendar. Your content calendar will serve to keep you on track towards a well-balanced content marketing program.
In the calendar you should be tracking the following 13 items:
- 1. Publish Date: The date you’ve assigned for that piece of content to be published.
- 2. Headline: A topical descriptor for each piece of content. That could be as simple as the headline you’re using or something a little more elaborate.
- 3. Author: The name of the content author—of course, if you’re a one-person show this is one you can skip until needed.
- 4. Owner: The “owner” is the person in charge of ensuring that the content gets produced. That is, whoever is responsible for stewarding that piece of content from idea to a publish-ready state and promoting it after publishing. Again, if you’re a one-person show, you can skip this one until applicable.
- 5. Status: Status is essential for keeping track of your publishing pipeline. What it does is tell you where a given piece of content stands as it moves through your publishing process and should be mandatory, even if you are a one-person show. There are a lot of moving parts when you run a content marketing program and, even if you do it by yourself, you must be disciplined about tracking your production pipeline.
- 6. Channels: This is where you list all the publishing and promotional channels you’ll be publishing that piece of content, including:
- Your blog and/or website
- Your email marketing program
- Your social media presences. For this one, you should note whether you will be publishing and promoting via organic and/or paid social.
- Brand Identity: Define upfront a brand identity and stick to it.
- Uniformity: Graphics and images need to have a uniform look and feel.
- Naming Convention: Name your image and graphic files according to SEO best practices that dictate the name be something relevant to the material covered.
For the above, you can use a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel or Google Sheet), with each of the above thirteen items tracked in a different column. Set up your sheet by labeling columns moving left to right. If you’d rather use an online tool, we’ve included a list of recommendations below but keep in mind all of the following tracking items should be included in whichever tool you end up choosing.
There are a handful of tools out there that can do a lot for you. Check them out and see if they might work for you, here are some recommendations to get you started: