What exactly is a content calendar?
The content calendar is far more than a basic list of content titles and production schedules where content creation is a team effort it will ensure that the content workflow is properly coordinated and organised
it will enable resources to be allocated in an orderly fashion, for every piece of content I note the following:
• Unique Content identifier
• Content title
• Content Identifier
• Keywords targeted
• Metadata tags
• Date due
• Publish date
• Person responsible
Ok, how can a SME implement a Content Calendar?
As I want to keep costs down at this point, I’m using a simple spreadsheet as the foundation for my first content calendar, where a team of people are developing content I can see this would be a vital tool for coordinating a teams efforts, even as a one man firm I can see this being indispensible as it will enable the coordination of content creation, promotion and social media
Content Calendar Advantages
Experts identify a number of advantages with Copyblogger stating that ‘Content calendars ‘are utterly critical for any content marketing program to be successful.’ (Copyblogger.com)
Content Calendar Solutions
There is a wide range of content calendar solutions available; I’ve tried a few myself with varying degrees of success, the typical small business will wish to keep a reign on expenses and some of the fancier solutions would be more appropriate for an agency rather than a SME, that means I won’t examine services where there is a monthly subscription and will remain focussed on cheap & free alternatives.
MS Outlook & Calendar(Mac)
At the most basic level of actual calendar interface, Outlook & Calendar(Mac) ,these are okay but I find they can be somewhat clunky from a usability perspective and shared access could be a problem, which may make them too limited for content teams.
Another free option(requiring a Gmail account) which overcomes the shortcomings of the MS Outlook & Calendar solution. Google Calendar allows a team to share access to a central calendar, again the interface is somewhat clunky and there is no option to attach files to the calendar.
The latest solution I’m using is a spreadsheet, MS excel in my case, this allows me to easily store all of the information I require regarding each piece of content (which is quite substantial if the list earlier in the article is to be used, the other advantage is it will enable content audits to be quickly and easily performed. Of the solutions I’ve tried I prefer this one.
A content calendar provides a degree of organisation, which is essential if you or your organisation is to meet the challenge (i.e. to produce enough great quality content to meet the goals set out in your content strategy. Where a team develops content, a calendar is essential to coordinate the many content projects, which will be running in parallel.