We all want to produce more content, especially well-written content that leads to more conversions. Making this goal a reality is easier than you might think when you use the right tools. One of my favorite resources to use for publishing blog posts on a regular basis is a blog content calendar.
What Is a Content Calendar?
Simply put, a content calendar is a handy list of blog post topics, keywords for optimization, assigned writers, and projected publication dates.
I recommend these resources to everyone, no matter the size of your business or how often you publish articles on your blog.
Don’t have a blog yet? Your company needs one. Here’s why.
Why I Use a Content Calendar for Our Blog (and Client Blogs)
When writing blog posts, I won’t tell you to do anything that I don’t practice myself for our company’s website, our client sites, or any of my own sites.
If you’re already convinced you need a content calendar, feel free to skip ahead. Still on the fence? Read on.
Create a Roadmap
I build content calendars because they’re a great way to streamline communication with my team and clients alike. Anyone can visit the calendar and tell where we’re at – and where we’re going – at a glance. We’re in a new age of content publishing, and we rarely have the team together in one place to brainstorm a strategy. A content calendar creates a roadmap that people can edit from anywhere.
Consistently Improve SEO and Engagement
While blogs offer terrific SEO benefits and are a great way to connect with your audience, publishing posts on a regular basis often falls to the wayside. Sticking to a regular schedule is tough when you have other (often more pressing) responsibilities like constant meetings, answering customer questions, and following up with leads.
A blog content calendar helps free up some of your time by providing direction and guidance. With one in your marketing arsenal, you don’t need to waste time deciding who will write what and when.
Offer Accountability to Your Team
Your team members are busy people – I know ours are! A content calendar makes their lives easier and helps keep everyone accountable. One of the best things you can do for your team members is offer a clear path forward, complete with deadlines and expectations.
Keep Track of Future Ideas
If you’re anything like me, inspiration for blog posts strikes at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes I’ll be deep in a rabbit hole of keyword research and strike gold in Ahrefs, but that research may not actually be relevant at the time. If that’s the case, I put the keyword I found (along with keyword difficulty and search volume) into a tab I have in my content calendar for future ideas. If a niche blog topic comes to me, or if I find a longtail keyword that would make for a great article, I’ll slot it into the blog content calendar to write in the future.
Another reason I like having a content calendar? It’s just hard to force creativity. In the ever-relevant wisdom of Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame), you “can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet.” Unlike Calvin, however, you don’t have to wait for last minute panic to set in if you have a list of topics handy – or maybe you still do. No judgment; I’m not your English teacher.
Monitor Progress Easily
A content calendar lets you see evidence of quick progress. This resource keeps track of all your content in a single place, so you have URLs you can easily plug into tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to track keywords, rankings, and more. Having everything in one sheet makes reporting easier, too.
Check Out Our Content Calendar
Interested in seeing what this actually looks like in action? I’ll give you an inside look at what 5K | Formerly Conklin Media’s content calendar looks like, and then go through how we use each one of these sections.
Blog Content Calendar Section Breakdown
Blog content calendars are an important part of our digital content strategy. Our content calendar has several different sections. When you create your own content calendar, you can use as few or as many sections as you want. Here are the ones we include and how we use them.
In this section, you just list the projected post date (or month). Once you have the piece published, you can update it. Since our team has responsibilities for clients that aren’t content creation, we normally just list the month instead of an exact day so they have the flexibility they need.
This section is simple; you just list the person responsible for writing the article. I normally tag them in a comment on the sheet, too, to help keep them accountable.
If you have a title or potential title, put it here. Even if it’s just a general topic, this is a great way to make sure your team is informed about what you have on the docket.
This column may or may not be relevant, but it allows you to note the type of blog post. For example, we have options for videos, testimonials, tutorials, and more. Most of ours end up being blog articles, but having the flexibility to adapt to new forms of content can be helpful.
Your company’s blog is one of the best tools when it comes to improving the number of keywords you rank for. As you write blog posts, I recommend you choose one keyword to focus on during optimization for each blog post. I like to plan these in advance so I can create content clusters if the opportunity presents itself.
This section is pretty self explanatory. We add a link to the Google Doc of finished post drafts or a link to the published product once it’s live on our site.
Notes and Questions
This section is just more of a catch all for any questions I may have for whoever is writing the blog post, as well as any notes I’ve made before or after publication.
I like to test out new optimization techniques all the time, and our company blog is a great place to do so since I like to prove concepts before recommending them to our clients. So, as an example, I noted what I’m calling my “reverse optimization” technique (a bit of a spin on traditional SEO. If you’re curious, I’ll chat your ear off about it).
Our Blog Content Calendar Template
If you’re not sure where to start with a content calendar for your blog posts, you can make a copy in Google Sheets, or download our free blog post template here.
You can create your own content calendar to be as broad or as detailed as you like. Ours doesn’t get too into the nitty gritty since our team prefers plenty of flexibility. But there are so many ways you can customize yours, such as:
- Checkboxes for when content is complete
- A column for assigning an editor
- Color coding for different steps: outlining, rough draft, final draft
- A column listing which part of the marketing funnel you had in mind when creating the content
How to Use a Blog Content Calendar (And Actually Have It Work)
Your content calendar is only going to be useful if it’s actually used. Otherwise you have a list of great ideas, but no one putting them into action. Extra content is often pretty low on everyone’s list of priorities, but a content planner can help ensure that content gets written. Here are a few pieces of advice to get the most out of your calendar:
Get Buy-In from Your Team
The fastest way to kill your blogging strategy? Turn it into a chore that everyone hates. When creating your content calendar, you have to get your team involved from the beginning so they can take ownership of the project. This is why, instead of assigning everyone topics, I let everyone choose their own.
Everyone gets to write about something that they’re actually interested in and share insights they want people to understand about their work. Plus, content written by experts often performs better, for SEO and UX, than generic content centered around high-volume keywords.
Could we rank for more keywords if I chose topics based on keyword difficulty, search volume, created outlines, and had team members fill in the rest?
Quite possibly. But I also know this is something team members would be less excited about, and we’d lose out on the engagement aspect of these blog posts.
Have Regular Reminders About Content
Deadlines are only helpful if people are aware of them. We touch base about our company blog once a week when we have our weekly meeting to go over progress on client projects. It’s a great time to check in about progress.
Calendar notifications are also a great tool so everyone can see when their blog post is due in advance.
Another great way to ensure your blog posts are being created on time is to offer resources to those writing them.
Grammarly is one of my favorites. If you don’t have a subscription, you can always offer to be an extra pair of eyes and help someone else in the proofreading process.
Checklists are also very helpful. I have a list of everything our blog posts need to have from an SEO and content quality standpoint.
Other great resources include image libraries, keyword tools, and any templates you’ve created. The easier you can make creating posts for your writers, the more likely your content calendar will run like a well-oiled machine.
Blog Content Calendars: Your Guide to Crafting Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content is crucial. A well-written and optimized blog can transform your website and improve organic traffic and sales dramatically. The first step to making sure your blog is updated on a regular basis? Creating a content calendar your team will utilize, and then following it as time goes on.
If you want help building out your content strategy, we’re here to help. The 5K | Formerly Conklin Media team has years of experience developing content that maximizes traffic and conversions.
Fill out the form below for more information on how you can improve your digital content strategy.