Creating the Best Content Schedule
Companies with blogs get 55% more online traffic than those without. But here’s the thing. The blog can’t just be a bunch of old posts. You have to update it regularly so your audience finds something new, helpful, and interesting every time they visit. Otherwise, they’re likely to click on your blog once and never again. Creating regular content is where the need for a content schedule originates. Never planned a content schedule before? Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
What is a Content Schedule?
A content schedule or “content calendar” is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a plan for upcoming content on your site. Without a plan, you’re basically just wishing for content to happen, and we know from years of experience that it will not work. You won’t just find time to write content or accidentally publish it on a schedule. You have to have a writing plan.
Why Your Site Needs a Content Schedule
As we explained above, your site needs a content schedule because your blog will sit stagnant without it. Instead of helping you draw traffic to your website, your blog will become a red flag for visitors, who will wonder why you abandoned it.
Reasons your site needs a content schedule include:
- Publishing on a Schedule. We’ve made this pretty clear above, but one more time for the people in the back. Publishing on a regular schedule helps your site attract traffic and build credibility. Without a plan, the day to post will come, and you’ll be scrambling — if you publish at all.
- Generating Ideas. When you create a content calendar, you brainstorm ideas for the near future. Just the act of making a plan helps you think about what your audience needs to know and how you can serve those information needs.
- Relationship Building. Publishing regular content helps you build a relationship with your audience. You’re serving their need for information while establishing yourself and your organization as a trusted authority in your industry.
- Staying Timely. Planning out content helps you think in advance about special events, holidays, etc., important to your audience and your business. This planning means you’ll never miss an opportunity to engage your audience in a way that’s important to them.
- Less Stress. Having a plan for your content means you’ll stress less about it. Writing and publishing won’t be something you intend to do and feel guilty about not getting to.
- More Conversions. Creating regular content helps you stay top-of-mind with your audience. An audience that feels connected with you and your brand is more likely to convert, whether that conversion is signing up for more advanced in-depth content, sharing their email address, or buying a product.
What Goes In a Content Schedule?
What goes in a content schedule depends on what your team needs to make content happen. In general, it should guide the content topics and when you’ll publish them — assigning all tasks and leaving nothing to chance.
Schedules typically include:
- A list of content topics, with working titles
- A prioritized plan of the topics, indicating what to cover first
- As assigned writer, editor, and publisher for each piece of content
- A calendar showing when each piece is due and when it will publish
- A plan for what channels you will promote the piece on and who is in charge of doing that
Essentially, your content calendar should show what you’re publishing, when it’s due, who is in charge of it, and where you’ll promote it to the audience. It leaves nothing to chance so that every step in the process has a due date and a team member assigned to it.
You should present the content calendar in a way that’s easy to view and understand. It’s not supposed to be stressful. In fact, it should be the exact opposite. A content calendar should help you feel less stressed about your blog because you have a publishing plan in place.
Tips for Creating the Best Content Schedule
There is more than one way to create a schedule that will serve your organization well. The important thing is that the schedule you make works for you and your team. You want to be able to serve your audience regularly with helpful, interesting content. You want them to know that they can come to your site at certain times and find new information. How you get to that point behind the scenes is really about what makes the most sense to your team.
Below are our tips for creating the best content schedule.
Understand Your Goals
Why do you have a blog? What do you want it to do for your company? For your audience? Understanding your blog’s goals will help you think about who you’re writing for, the types of content you should write, and how often to publish.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is probably the most critical part of the publishing process. You understand your business and what you want from a blog. But what does your audience want or need? Even more, who are they? Create a buyer persona — a data-based, fictional profile of your ideal customer — to write for and to.
Knowing and understanding your audience also helps you decide how often you want to publish. How much content does the audience want or need? How frequently are they willing to visit your site to learn more?
Now that you’ve thought about what you and your audience want from your business’s blog, it’s time to generate some ideas. We recommend you use content mapping to develop strategic ideas that serve your audience on their buyer’s journey and implement best search practices.
There are so many ways to develop new blog topic ideas that making a list of ideas should be a fun, engaging task for you and your team.
Determine Your Post Frequency
Post frequency may be the most critical thing we discuss in this post. When it comes to your content schedule, be realistic. It’s better to post once a week consistently than to post sporadically. Two posts a week is great for most businesses, but make sure your team can keep up with whatever you decide. Quality and consistency are way more important than frequency. Plan only what’s feasible.
Create Your Content Schedule
How you design your physical content schedule is totally up to you. It should be accessible to your entire team and include the above-mentioned details that best serve your publishing process. The easiest way to set up a content schedule is to create a spreadsheet.
Review the Calendar
How long you create a content schedule for is also up to you. We recommend planning out at least a month in advance, but some teams do up to a year at a time. Whatever you decide, take a look at your traditional calendar. Are there holidays, sales, events, etc., that you should address in your content calendar? If so, plot those in the schedule now, so you don’t forget about them.
Add Your Content
Once you get all the “have to” content in your content schedule, it’s time to add some items from your brainstorming list. Consider what topics are most important to you and your audience. Schedule those first and go from there.
We also encourage you to continue adding to that ideas list. You’ll need to publish content for the duration of your business, so keeping that list helps.
Adjust as Needed
Even the best plans need adjustments. Plan to adjust your content calendar as necessary. If something comes up that you need to address on your blog, bump the scheduled post to another time. Also, always have some evergreen content sitting in your queue for those times when the planned post falls through. It shouldn’t happen often, but it does happen. Don’t get caught in a scramble.
Let Content Journey Schedule Your Content
Planning consistent, informative, engaging content takes time. Following through with that plan requires a team devoted to publishing. We understand that you may not have time to worry about writing and publishing content while you’re building your business. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on all a content marketing strategy offers your business and your customers. It means you should hire a content marketing agency. Content Journey would love for you to consider us when you’re ready to take that step. Book a call today for a free, information-only discussion about how our team can help you on your content journey.