How to Create a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar (+ Free 2017 Template)
Amie Hamling, Owner at The Creative Blog Co.
6 JANUARY 2017
Happy New Year, creative people! I hope you’re deep in planning mode for a big year of dream chasing and goal ticking. The main way I’ve been organising myself, before I get super busy with client work, is with a comprehensive content marketing editorial calendar with all my activities for Q1 planned out in advance.
I want to give you access to the same editorial calendar I use, because, well, it RULES. I have tried SO many content calendars throughout my time as a blogger and in my marketing job at a software company and the only one that works all year round is this one. Why? Because it’s turned upside down. It’s not how you would ‘typically’ imagine a content calendar to be. It works vertically, not horizontally.
Intrigued? I’m not only walking you through how I plan out all my content, you can have the template for free. Yep, you can just have it! No strings attached (just awesome planning ahead!).
Plan first in quarters.
It can be overwhelming looking at a blank yearly content calendar, let alone adding in content. You think to yourself, where do I even start?! Take a quarterly approach to planning your content and you’ll thank yourself when you have 12 months planned out, stress free.
Each quarter should have a goal, and each month within the quarter should have a theme. Work towards your goal by gearing your content themes to what you’re trying to achieve, e.g. selling a course, gaining X amount of design clients. So if you’re building up to a course launch in March, make sure your themes match the course content. You need to convince your audiences to buy your course through your knowledge. Prove you know what you’re talking about.
Here’s what your quarters look like broken up (waaaay less daunting than this: 2017):
- Q1 – January, February, March
- Q2 – April, May, June
- Q3 – July, August, September
- Q4 – October, November, December
Use your themes to guide your content.
Once you have your themes in place (I do this for 2 quarters in advance), it gets easier to move around content and order your blog posts each month. Right now, for 2017, I’ve committed to 2 blog posts per week. Because these blog posts are in ‘content themes’, it makes it a priority to write and publish during the month. I’m going to be 100% transparent with you on what I’ve planned for Q1, so you can apply this when creating your own content marketing editorial calendar.
- THEME: Launch Your Blog in 2017
- 7 Blog Posts
- This is leading into a free course, launching 30 January.
- THEME: Copywriting/Content for Creatives
- 8 Blog Posts
- This is leading into a paid course, launching in March (date not confirmed).
- THEME: Social Media + Website Optimisation
- 5 Blog Posts (outside of ‘launch’ posts)
Don’t stop at blog posts.
A lot of creatives focus their content calendars on one thing: blog posts. It’s crucial when writing content to try build your email list, but once you have an active audience, there’s so much potential to feed them content (both free and paid) through their inbox. You’re almost there with the list, make use of it!
A great way to drive traffic to your website is via your subscribers. You’re offering value, and they’re reaching your website (where your services, products, courses, etc. lie). Make note of these communications after your blog posts in your content marketing editorial calendar. This isn’t just a standard editorial calendar, it includes ALL your content marketing.
How to use the content marketing editorial calendar.
Work down, instead of across. You may get stuck and want to add more than one piece of content to a day. e.g. You posted a blog post on a Tuesday and want the EDM to go out the same day. To do this, just copy the day below, down to the bottom of the month and paste a day down. Delete the content in the row below and add in what you need.
Get access to the content calendar now. Just pop your email in below, confirm your deets and you’ll be on your way to planning a successful year of biz!