This is a guest post is from Brittany Berger of eZanga.com
Content marketing is hard enough, from coming up with ideas, to actually creating the content, and then promoting it and getting it seen by the right eyes. Going into the process without any organization makes it even harder. As the old adage goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Since consistency is key to any content marketing strategy, an organized approach ensures that you’re not missing any deadlines, forgetting any details, or scrambling at the last minute to put something together.
One necessity for content marketing is an editorial calendar. It’s an easy way to plan content such as blog posts ahead of time and see it all laid out. There are countless ways to put together an editorial or content calendar, but popular methods include Excel spreadsheets, physical calendars on your desk, or an online calendar tool like Google Calendar (aka GCal). Google Calendar is my favorite, and I suggest you give it a try.
Benefits of keeping an editorial calendar in GCal:
- You can access it from anywhere with internet access. – If you can sign into your Google account, you can view and edit your editorial calendar. This is great for when you have a “light bulb moment” with only your phone on you, or from when you’re working outside the office.
- Color-coding is awesome. – Color-coding makes everything easier (and much nicer to look at). With the ability to create multiple calendars in GCal, you can set up your own color-coding system for pieces of content (more on this later).
- You get a real calendar view. – For me, being able to view an actual calendar with rows for weeks and columns for days helps me plan for content marketing. If I can clearly see that a certain post is on a Monday, it’s easier to mentally (and then on paper) plan that post into my week at work.
- It’s easy to add and modify details. – Adding, removing, or changing parts of your editorial calendar in Google Calendar is quick and painless. It automatically syncs across all of your computers and other devices, and we’re talking Google here, so it’s easy to use.
- Sharing is always caring. – You can invite other GCal users to view, or even modify, any of your GCal calendars. If your business has a whole team contributing to content marketing, or has a group of guest bloggers, this feature will keep everyone on the same page.
Tips for getting the most use out of a Google Calendar editorial calendar:
- Use the “Tasks” bar as an idea bucket. – In the “My Calendars” pane, you can turn on and off a bar on the right side of your calendar called “Tasks.” This is a great place to store all of those great content ideas you have for the future. When it’s time to fill in your calendar, all the topics you’ve already brainstormed are right there and can be easily moved over to your schedule.
- Take advantage of multiple calendars. – You can divide your content planning into different color-coded calendars within Google, as I touched on before. You can create one category for each keyword that BoostSuite has identified that you need to write an article for. Or you can create one calendar for each broader topic you want to cover, each content creator, or each content type. Experiment and figure out what works for you.
- Use the event info fields to plan out your posts. – It doesn’t matter what the labels say, use the fields to organize your content however works best for you. For example, I put the blog post’s title (or working title) as the event’s title. In the location box, I note the main keywords the post will be targeting, along with any important notes (like who’s writing it, if not me). Any other notes go in the description box.
- Brainstorm within the calendar. – While you’re making an outline, doing research, or any other content creation preparation, make note of it all in the event’s description boxes. If there are posts you want to link to, paste the URLs in there. You can create an entire outline, or even write the actual post, within Google Calendar.
- Add attachments. – Using Calendar Labs, you can enable a feature that lets you attach documents to individual Google Calendar events. All you need is a Google Drive (formerly Docs) account. Use this to keep track of any materials you can’t input directly into the event info, like images and video.
This may seem like a lot of work to get set up, but that’s all. Most of these tips are things you’ll need to do eventually. You’re just doing it before you actually write and publish a piece of content, which takes away a lot of stress in the long run. They key to succeeding with blogging and any other form of content marketing is staying organized and planning ahead.
How do you keep track of your upcoming content? Share your best planning advice in the comments.