How to Design a Strategic Content Calendar

How To Design a Strategic Content Calendar

Published On:

A content marketing calendar is vital for any business with a content marketing agency. This document helps to organize and plan the creation, publishing, and promotion of content in a strategic way. Content creators can ensure brand consistency and avoid last-minute rushes by having a precise schedule.

Content Marketing Calendar vs. Social Media Calendar

While content calendar terms are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference in how we use these documents.

A social media calendar gives a marketing team an outline of what social posts to publish across each platform. 

A content marketing calendar, sometimes called a content calendar or editorial calendar, is a document that aligns blog posts, social scheduling, special offers, and email marketing. It is an essential tool for any marketing team looking to plan and execute their content strategy effectively. It is a centralized resource where teams can map their content creation and distribution efforts. With a content calendar, marketers can strategically plan when and where to publish each content type, ensuring a consistent flow of high-quality content across various platforms.

Why Are Content Calendars Important?

Content calendars are vital for businesses implementing content marketing strategies to enhance their online presence. Without a content calendar, it’s easy to become disorganized and neglect essential tasks, resulting in less frequent content publication.

By utilizing a content calendar, businesses can efficiently organize and manage all content-related tasks and ensure every item speaks to a specific target audience. This systematic approach enables businesses to maintain a comprehensive overview of their tasks and deadlines, reducing the likelihood of overlooking or neglecting critical aspects.

What Does a Content Calendar Include?

A helpful content marketing calendar will ensure all team members understand the type of content to create and the publishing frequency. Here are some things your content planning document should include:

  • Different types of content based on search intent
  • Columns to track workflow
  • Content promotion outline
  • Ideas for future planning content

Let’s explore this list in detail.

Design a Strategic Content Marketing Calendar

Planning a content strategy begins with clarifying a business’s target audience. What questions is your target audience asking? What pain points will your products and services solve? What is the best content to communicate your message to your audience at the correct stage of their buyer’s journey?

Create Different Types of Content Based on Search Intent

As internet search engines evolve, writing content for the correct search intent becomes increasingly important. It starts with keyword research. Your keyword research should identify the best terms to answer informational, commercial, and transactional questions. 

Keyword research will help confirm the best informational content (blog posts) and identify the terms to target on your product and service pages for commercial search intent. When you delegate digital marketing tasks like keyword research and content development to the experts, you’ll receive a list of carefully curated terms, saving you hours of research.

In addition to blog posts, content calendars include ideas for the following upcoming content ideas:

  • Email content 
  • Special offers
  • Social media posts for each social media platform
  • Guest post ideas
  • Blogs to read and comment on
  • Reference content
  • Image ideas 
  • Video or infographic content to create

Columns To Track Workflow

No content marketing calendar is complete without a clear workflow and due dates. A diverse content plan will include written and visual content. Content will likely be assigned to content writers, graphic designers, and proofreaders. 

Your content marketing calendar will outline the timeline for content production and ensure that everyone understands the pending publishing schedule. Additionally, if something is late, this project management tool will identify which team member is behind schedule.

Content Promotion Outline 

Search engine marketing and social marketing work differently. Search engines show content based on keywords and search intent. Social algorithms rely on users’ past behavior and the popularity of posts, as well as users’ feedback on their preferences. 

A common strategy is to publish content on a website and then promote the content across social channels, increasing the opportunities to connect with a target audience. 

When your content marketer plans social posts, it ensures your social platforms are full of timely content that extends the conversation with your current and future customers. Social content should promote both newly published articles and older posts that answer important questions your buyer personas are asking.

Ideas for Future Planning Content 

An effective content calendar will provide a visual workflow for how current content pieces will support future content plans. For example, when launching a new product, you will want to create informational content showing how valuable it is and why your target audience will want to be the first to buy it.

Whether you use Google Sheets or a content planning platform, your business’s content strategy will benefit from a content marketing calendar. At SMA Marketing, we specialize in strategic SEO content. We’d love to help you achieve your content goals. If you aren’t ready to delegate content yet, download our free content calendar template. 

New Call-to-action

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.

About the Author: