How to create a content calendar
Are you lacking inspiration when it comes to blogging? You’re not alone. It’s so easy to experience dips in motivation throughout the year and one way to combat this is by creating a detailed content calendar.
Ideally all of this brainstorming would happen at the beginning of the year, but the second best time to start planning is today. Once you’ve figured out your content direction, it means that you can plan logistics ahead of time and finetune ideas.
Why it’s so important to have a content calendar
- Forward thinking – Perhaps you need time to test the ‘5 Best First-Day Outfits for Teachers’ or to book a shoot with an amazing photographer. A content calendar allows you to get organised and book anything you need ahead of time.
- Working effectively with brands – Most brands start planning Christmas campaigns anytime between April and October, so it helps to have reminders for pitching and outreach. Similarly if a brand gets in touch, you may be able to relate it to an existing idea.
Although this guide is focused on blogging, you can also use this method for Instagram, YouTube and Twitter (plus it’s useful to cross-promote on the different platforms). Just make sure you tweak accordingly. A ‘High Summer Wishlist’ could be scaled down for Instagram Stories or a dedicated Pinterest board.
How To Find Inspiration
Whilst it’s great to look at other blogs and Instagram feeds, it’s so important to broaden where you’re looking for ideas. Spend an afternoon looking at different types of magazines for feature ideas or sites such as Man Repeller, Refinery 29 and Vox.
Here’s a few other ways to generate ideas:
- Look at your posts from the previous year – Did you cover a mixture of fashion and beauty content? Perhaps you’d like to expand into a different content pillar? Assess the posts that you were excited to create and see if you can put a different spin on things.
- Examine the data – Google Analytics is the key to understanding your most popular posts. Just head to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and refine by date. It’s also worth looking at ‘Site Search’ or ‘Acquisition > Search Console > Queries’ to see what people are typing in to find your blog. There could be an opportunity to expand on a topic you’ve already covered.
- Consider events and key holidays – Once you’ve covered the obvious festivities such as Christmas, note down any relevant sporting events, music festivals or one-offs such as International Women’s Day. Days Of The Year is also a great resource if you need to know when National Watermelon Day is (it’s the 3rd August FYI).
- Add in your personal dates. Are you going on a life-changing trip or do you have a milestone birthday coming up? Make sure you’ve plotted this in, especially if it’ll take a while to formulate your thoughts.
Create The Content Calendar
Now you’ve established all your dates, you’ll need to format them in a way that’s easy to reference. Experiment with Google Calendar, Trello, bullet journalling or even a Word Document with ALL the tables.
We recommend splitting everything by month and starting off by adding your key dates. You could also include:
Detailed columns for every channel – List each of your channels (blog, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, newsletter and podcasts) and planned posts to see if there are broader themes that can be repurposed.
You may be able to lift elements from a blog post on ‘Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas’ for Instagram Stories without drastically increasing your workload. Posts can be tweaked slightly to receive maximum exposure and it’s a great way to experiment.
Ideas to pitch to brands – Hopefully all of this brainstorming has helped get the creative juices flowing and you’ll have a ready-made list for any meetings or pitch emails. Note down any dream brands that you’d like to be involved and plan in time to start outreaching.
Old posts that can be repromoted – Do you have a video on ‘Money Saving Tips’ that’s doing particularly well? It may be worth reminding your audience every January or at strategic points in the year. Make a note of relevant archive posts per month and direct your audience via Instagram Stories or Twitter.
A section for rough ideas – You may want to jot down any rough brainstorming or postponed ideas here so they don’t get lost. We recommend keeping any missed opportunities here too, so if you missed out on ‘National Burger Day’, it can be rectified for the following year.
What Happens Next?
The content calendar should be a working document that can be tweaked throughout the year. It’s also important to work backwards from bigger projects so they get started on time. Use this in conjunction with a daily calendar or to-do list and plan in time every week to double check your progress.
Although this may seem super formal, it can be just a rough plan to keep content consistent and on track. It’s best to have some flexibility just in case an unexpected event or campaign comes up. Think of your blog content as an investment and it can reap rewards when it comes to traffic.