The number of decisions we make in a day is staggering. What to wear, what to eat, where to focus our attention. And the countless problems we solve each day at work add up quickly.
Naturally, our good intentions and goals fall by the wayside if they don’t feel easy or they get trumped by “urgent” matters that feel more important in the moment.
The cure is proper planning.
When it comes to creating content that’ll boost your marketing efforts and yield short and long-term results, you need a system in place.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about creating your own blog content calendar.
What is a blog content calendar?
A blog content calendar goes by a lot of names.
You might hear it called an editorial calendar, content marketing plan, blogging schedule, or even content production calendar. While they all have subtle differences, they all carry the same message — marketing is easier when you plan ahead.
In technical terms, a blog content calendar is a workflow that unites a content creation team’s efforts to a set schedule.
In plain terms, it means deciding well ahead of time what content you’ll create, how you’ll create it, and when you’ll create it. A lot of teams will create a blog content calendar and fill it up between 1–4 times a year.
Why is a blog content calendar important?
The chief goal of creating a blog content calendar is to remove a lot of the mental effort that goes into creating and publishing content. If you know what to do and when to do it, you’re more likely to stick to your schedule.
In a recent CMO survey, 79% of the respondents who stated they are spending the most on innovation said they are outperforming their peers in terms of revenue and profit generation.
A blog content calendar is an innovative approach to creating a content creation machine. One that’s self-sustaining and scalable.
You can innovate and be proactive by planning months ahead, so you’re always 2 steps ahead and don’t have to put forth as much effort thinking of new topics each week.
A calendar will also boost transparency which keeps everyone on the same page.
Finally, a content creation schedule will help build some much-needed momentum with your marketing efforts.
Without an editorial calendar of some kind, you’ll feel disorganized and easily overlook content creation when your team gets busy.
It’s also less efficient to come up with topics and do all the research on the fly instead of all at once. So, the choice is pretty clear.
The 9 crucial stages of an optimized blog content calendar
Sticking to a blogging schedule is crucial, but there’s a way to do it that doesn’t feel cumbersome and won’t leave you sacrificing quality. Here are those 9 essential steps in action:
1. Identify keywords and topics to cover
Understanding why you’re creating content and what you hope to achieve is critical to any marketing strategy.
Once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to craft a detailed content strategy that includes post ideas, keywords to target, and a specific target audience to go after.
To get started, fire up a tool like Ahrefs to find keywords to rank for and consider what content would benefit your audience the most.
The keywords you find should help you come up with post ideas that you can then plug into monday.com for long-term tracking.
Tracking keywords effectively in monday.com starts with a keyword research board that has columns for volume, difficulty, ranking, competitors, and more.
2. Assign content to writers
Now that you have a list of keywords to target, it’s time to get a content creator or 2 involved.
Ideally, your writers will have a working knowledge of the industry and, with little to no guidance, can come up with post ideas that will resonate with your target audience and simultaneously stay aligned with the company’s marketing strategy.
In monday.com, assigning content to writers is simple. Each post or keyword gets marked with an owner, and the task will have key data like article direction, length, deadlines, and checklists to keep content quality high and consistent.
With everything in the app, you can seriously cut down on back and forth emails or pointless meetings.
3. Writers begin their initial outline
Outlining is a critical step that’s often overlooked.
For starters, outlines make it easier on your content creators since they can run with their ideas a bit and flesh out a little structure to the piece before investing too much time.
Handing in an outline first breaks up the writing process, so the team isn’t writing 1,000s of words all at once. Any writer will tell you that’s a daunting task.
On top of that, there’s nothing worse than writing for hours and hours only to find out the editor had an entirely different direction in mind.
Thankfully, monday.com makes it easy to share documents and get instant feedback on your work, so you aren’t wasting precious time.
4. Editors review outlines
A crucial step that helps provide the content creation process an outside perspective. Again, if a piece is off-track or missing key elements, this is where you catch them.
A good editor will make your writers better. They’ll point out weaknesses, grammatical errors, and be honest about the quality of work coming in. They’ll also put a spotlight on topics that may require more depth or a different approach.
Ultimately, content marketing is stronger when a good editor guides the direction of a piece and challenges the content production process to be better than the competition.
5. Writers move on to final drafts
Once outlines are approved, it’s time to set new due dates for the final draft and pass along the feedback from step 4.
Instead of calling meetings or exchanging countless emails, you can leverage the communication tools in monday.com to leave comments on relevant tasks, add checklist items and assign them out, or request a piece go back to outline status.
Want to know the best part?
A lot of that process is an area ripe for automation. monday.com’s automation can help move pieces from one status point to another.
With a single trigger point, you can assign tasks to certain individuals, set new deadlines, add key checklists, and notify the writer via email that their piece is ready for draft.
6. Editorial staff reviews drafts and approves publication
Even with a top-notch content team in place, it’s still worth having the editorial staff give the piece a final pass. Again, they’ll check the grammar and ensure the content angle and keyword presence are on par.
A great editor will leave their ego at the door, communicate with candor, treat the work with respect, and explain in detail why each change is necessary. In short, they’ll help you raise the bar.
Once everything is good to go, they’ll mark the task complete on the editorial calendar and send it over to the design team.
7. Design team creates eye-catching visuals
The design team takes the draft and creates images and social media promotional graphics to match.
Visual content still reigns supreme, especially in the world of TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, so high-quality graphics are a must for any successful content marketing strategy.
Ideally, they’d create something that’s custom, entertaining, and matches the brand’s overall theme. The less stock imagery, the better.
8. Upload team publishes
There’s a lot of admin work that goes into publishing the final piece, from adding graphics to linking to existing content and even writing all the tags out.
Here’s another area where monday.com shines. All that can fit neatly into a checklist embedded in each post’s task.
Such a checklist will ensure all posts meet the same criteria and that there’s accountability across the board.
Another tool your marketing team can leverage to take posts from Google Docs to WordPress in seconds is Wordable. It will export content in bulk and ensure the content format is always up to par.
9. Promotional team schedules posts
The final step of any blog calendar checklist should always be more marketing.
That’s right. The work doesn’t stop when the piece is published. You have to yell from a mountain top that it’s here and it’s valuable, so more people check it out.
To do that, your promotional team takes article URLs and provides social media promotional graphics, and schedules social media posts.
Here’s yet another area of marketing where monday.com shines. With our social media planning board, you can plan, schedule, and design all social media content in one spot. It’s organized by platform, status, publish date, and more.
Automating content creation
You won’t find a better marketing partner for your business than monday.com. We’ll help you plan every piece of content, from blog posts to press releases and even social media posts.
It’s as close as you’ll get to marketing on autopilot and well worth the investment.
Think it’s too good to be true? Give our content calendar template a try and see just how simple life can be.