Before you scroll down to see the image, let us warn you, there is a password (8 characters) to view it. Of course, we are kidding. But play along, please?
Character 1 – W:
Why are you here? There is something in the title that triggered you to click the link and read. And it has to be the word – content calendar. But before you begin creating that impeccable calendar with all your content pieces for different campaigns in different multi-coloured slots, we hope you know why you want to do this largely assumed tedious job of creating and maintaining a calendar. Because everyone is doing it? No. But for the reason, everyone is doing it. No matter how chaotic this industry is, the basic principle of sanity remains the same – discipline. And a well-organized content calendar is the place where any content creator can find all the answers they want!
Character 2 – W:
What do you do when those columns and rows [if you choose our best friend forever – Google Spreadsheets/ Microsoft Excel], are staring at you waiting for someone to fill their void? Breathe. It might look daunting, but the task of creating a calendar is not a difficult one. You need to figure out the elements you wish to keep a track of, and the process becomes simpler. To begin with, here are a few parameters to be kept in check and can occupy space in your calendar:
Name of the month or quarter
Title of the theme/campaign if any
Topics to be covered
Content formats for each topic
Posting dates for each content piece
Names of the people responsible for each task
Hold on, there is more!
Character 3 – W:
Where do you go when a task is unfinished? The first person to ask is, the person responsible for the task. But has not it happened before that when you reach out to this person, you realise he/she is waiting for approval from someone else? Now, you pull your socks, run towards this other person and pray that you do not have to sweat out anymore! Instead of these daily marathons, make a detailed process for every content piece and mention it in your calendar. If a writer writes today, tomorrow the editor will appear with changes and only after the changes will it go to a designer. Enlist all their names and timelines for each member so that you do not end up interrupting the wrong person’s coffee break! Also, paste the links of finished tasks in the calendar to gain easy access to them. Anything that helps to reduce the to and fro, right?
Character 4 – ‘,’ :
Yes, a comma. Who accepts a password with just letters? Yes, we are serious about this. But what we actually mean to say is, this is going to be a continuous process. Once you lock in a structure for a particular month, it does not mean that there will be no addition or deletion. Keep it flexible to incorporate the latest trends and news that you might not be able to foresee while creating the calendar. Also, just because you made the calendar, it is not necessary to blindly follow it. Pause in between, analyse the performance, continue publishing formats that work well and replace the low performing topics with better ideas. Does this mean your efforts were in vain? No. If nothing else, it only adds to your knowledge and experience of this industry.
Character 5 – A:
Analyse. Did you read this in the earlier paragraph or missed it? It is okay if you did, but do not repeat while making the calendar. You must be analysing analytics on individual platforms and creating different reports. But bringing them and your schedule on the same page helps to give a fair idea of the things that have worked in your favour and a prediction of the performance of the content pieces in the pipeline. Dedicate a sheet for monthly analytics and another for quarterly analysis. This way, it becomes easier for you to gauge the traction for every single content piece and if you do not remember about it, you have the links to it in the column right next to the topic, remember?
Character 6 – C:
Colour your calendar. No, please do not disturb your designer for this. Just try to make it visually appealing. Mark different columns and rows with multiple eye-pleasing colours according to the status of that content piece. If they directly hit the eye, time spent on the sheet will be as less as the time taken to open the sheet. If the colours do not make the text stand out, no one might bother making real-time updates in the sheet. Moral of the story is, choose the colours you like, but make sure you do not make someone hate this task even more. Objective is the contrary, okay?
Character 7 – 0:
Zero because this completely depends on you. There are various tools in the market to make this task of calendar creation easier. Some allow you to schedule your posts as well along with other enhanced features. Finally, with any cost involving decision, it boils down to your requirement, budget, necessity and the volume of data to be managed. We leave this up to you. You are the best judge!
Character 8 – S:
Share. Unless you are a freelancer or work on your own, it is essential that the calendar you make is easily accessible to the whole team responsible for executing the tasks mentioned in the calendar. To ensure smooth functioning, everyone needs to be on the same page. If there is a foreseen challenge, it can be brought to notice by any of the team members and timely action can be taken. You can really reduce the time you spend running around!
And it is unlocked! Congratulations!
Before you proceed, remember this is just a template to begin preparing your calendar. Feel free to experiment according to your needs and remember, there is no such thing as a perfect content calendar!