A content marketing calendar is a must if you want to organize your campaigns for maximum efficiency, productivity, and performance.

Maintaining an editorial calendar allows you to think more strategically about the content you create and plan it better.

We all know the importance of taking the time to develop a proper content strategy, and not just spurring it, right?

Adding dates to the mix to let you know what will be added to the calendar and when will accelerate your efforts and help ensure long-term success.

Calendar formats

A content calendar can be created in different formats depending on:

  • Size of your content team.
  • Amount of content you want to create
  • Time frame you want to plan.

A traditional calendar

Schedule your content for the next week, next month, next quarter, or even next year on a Google calendar or maybe even one of that papery desktop content.

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Just taking the time to put your scheduled content on a shared calendar or any calendar is a good first step.

A spreadsheet

Use the functions in Google Sheets or Excel to sort and organize your content by date, type, subject, target audience, purchase phase, etc.

Share this editable document with your team so everyone can see what content should be created, by whom, and when.

You can even put in color coding or other mechanisms to get your team's attention.

A project / work management platform

When companies have outgrown spreadsheets and emails that can quickly become bloated and inefficient, there are various online task and project management tools such as Asana, Monday.com, Trello, Basecamp or Wrike to streamline processes.

These platforms are designed to help teams manage projects such as content campaigns by including calendars, workflows, Gantt or Kanban charts, and automated notifications.

A content marketing platform

Content marketing platforms like CoSchedule, DivvyHQ, Newscred, Percolate, Mintent and the like are specially designed for managing content as opposed to general projects.

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These tools also include custom calendars and other visualizations, configurable content descriptions, content filtering, workflows and notifications.

Many are also built into publishing and social distribution platforms to enable management of the entire content lifecycle.

Content planning

Define your target audience

How to manage a data-driven content marketing calendar

Planning what and how to fill your content calendar should always start with clear definitions of the member profiles for your target audience.

Take the time to create detailed personas of those who will be consuming your content.

Each person is different in the way they use the content you create for them.

These personas should include:

  • Demographic information: Age, gender, location, marital status or other content-related information.
  • Preferred content types: Text, images, video, audio, print, etc.
  • Preferred content channels: Social, Email, Website, Offline, etc.
  • Consumer behavior: when (day / time) and how long (short or long form content).

Use this personal information and settings to control any content you create and distribute.

Intentional content

How to manage a data-driven content marketing calendar

Why are you creating all this content in the first place?

The quick and easy reason is to answer all of your target audience's questions about your products and services in the hopes that they'll get in touch with you.

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However, effective modern content marketing goes way beyond describing how your products and services can help your customers.

Companies and brands have the task of building trust with their customers by providing a complete and optimal experience.

The content must take into account all of the intentions consumers may have in searching for answers.

Intent or content needs usually fall into one of three categories associated with a typical buyer journey:

  • Instructive: Top of funnel content for those who are just starting to learn.
  • Information: Middle of the funnel content for consumers comparing solutions.
  • Commercially: at the bottom of the funnel content for those willing to proceed / buy.

You can organize and manage your content calendar to ensure that you create enough relevant content for each of these categories.

Timed coordination

How to manage a data-driven content marketing calendar

In particular, when posting on social media, there is a lot of data about when the optimal days and times are for posting content on each of the social networks.

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Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. each have their own algorithms to determine when the most relevant time is to display content to users based on their location, engagement history, and other factors.

There are also studies of the best times to provide email communications to improve open rates and click rates.

In addition to studies, you can reference your own social and web analytics to determine the preferences of your specific target audiences.

This time data should be included in your calendar for each relevant item and then referenced after the items are published and distributed.

Content & Resource Management

One of the main advantages of a centralized content calendar is the ability to get a bird's eye view of all or part of the content your team creates over time.

Content managers can quickly review, identify, and fix content opportunities or gaps in content topics or types.

Any of the data points captured on your audience personalities can be used to more effectively filter and sort the content you create and manage on your calendar. This allows you to better focus your attention and resources when launching your campaigns.

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An up-to-date calendar also allows you to effectively manage resources by seeing which of your team members are available to work on specific projects or tasks.

By prioritizing each piece of content, you can ensure projects stay on schedule and on budget.

Run regularly scheduled reports to determine where potential bottlenecks are in your processes and where efficiencies can be increased.

Using data to focus

Current keywords

How to manage a data-driven content marketing calendar

Another way to organize your calendar is through the current keyword group. This is currently the preferred SEO method for gaining authority through content creation.

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The importance of the current authority goes back to the publication of the Hummingbird algorithm by Google in 2013.

This algorithm, along with the newer version of BERT, has changed the way the search engine analyzes and rates content.

The focus changed from mere keywords to broader groups of keywords and related contextual content.

Many SEO experts subscribe to a pillar of content strategy in which several supplementary content (e.g. blog posts or articles) are linked to a main pillar, all of which contain relevant, currently used keywords. Google is able to effectively tie these pieces together and assign authority.

Keyword research today is about identifying the keywords that you have already established some level of authority and momentum for (i.e., keywords that you have ranking content for), or the ones that you believe you will You can develop realistic organic visibility in a reasonable period of time.

Analytics

How to manage a data-driven content marketing calendar

Of course, content engagement, conversion, and overall performance should be paramount in managing content campaigns effectively.

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Analytics can be used either historically or in real time to track progress and control content creation or distribution by checking which content types, topics and / or channels are working and which are not.

With the help of analytics, data-driven teams can learn from previous campaigns or optimize their current campaigns on the fly.

The performance of any piece of content can and should be accessible and reflected on your editorial calendar so you and your team members can quickly visualize the results of your efforts and tailor your campaigns accordingly.

Cheers to the organization

Whether you're a team of 100 or a team of 100, a well-designed, strategy-driven content calendar will help you manage your thoughts, resources, and campaigns for optimal performance.

You will appreciate that you can logically view all of your content in one place.

Applying data from relevant sources and customizing content if necessary to ensure you meet the needs of your target audience will take your results to the next level.

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