Valuing a Content Calendar

A recent conversation I had revolved around how to grow a subscriber base for a non-fiction literary publication. I asked my friend if he was blogging about the publication’s content or its authors. Was he posting to Facebook or Twitter?

He said he was not because he was concerned about having enough content. I encouraged him to look at the publication for content and repurpose it. The key, though, was to create a content calendar.

How to create a content calendar

How does one do that and what should it include? You could do it the traditional way and post all the months to a wall and then put pushpins on the days to identify when content needs to be shared. Pushpin colors would differentiate the platforms. The same process works online, although there are no pushpins. All you need to do is search for a template that will suit your needs.

For this blog, I list in a Word document all the dates I plan to post for an entire year. I then note if there are events or conferences I plan to attend that could generate content. I also note any significant celebrations or anniversaries such as World Reading Day.

Driving traffic

Driving traffic to the posts is important. I’ve linked all of my social media accounts to the blog, which ensures promotion across platforms. I also have a separate content calendar for Twitter. For each blog post I write 3-5 tweets with a link to the post and sprinkle those throughout the month in which the post appeared. I note on my Twitter content calendar what the day’s tweet will be. I’m also tweeting organically on any given day. Maintaining a content calendar specific to my posts ensures that I will tweet regularly.

My friend said, “That’s a lot of work. I don’t know if I can do this every day.”

Time blocks

The good news is that you don’t have to do it every day. I work on my blog in time blocks, meaning I devote three to four hours to the blog on a specific day. During that time, I identify potential topics, research topics, write draft copy, and finalize draft posts. I then schedule the ones that are ready. Next I review my posts and write the appropriate tweets. I do this two or three times a month, and I’m good for a month or two.

The blog posts and tweets are added to the respective calendars. I can identify any holes where content is missing. If I have managed to schedule further out, I know I have given myself some breathing room. When that happens, I find I develop more ideas because I’m feeling less pressured – and less stressed.

Ultimately, that’s the beauty of a content calendar.

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