How to Develop a Content Calendar and Actually Stick to It

As of recent, I seem to have developed a small obsession with content, but can you blame me? Today, content is an inevitable part of everything we touch as marketers. Outdated outbound tactics are dying, while inbound marketing philosophies are growing stronger every day.

So what does this mean to you? Step one: you need a content marketing strategy. And, without a doubt, included in this strategy there should be an editorial content calendar. It doesn’t have to stretch the entire year, or be as detailed as listing the very moment of each and every post, but it should most definitely outline at least three months worth of content, topics, frequency and channels for distribution.

That’s the easy part.

Where the majority of companies struggle isn’t coming up with great ideas, it’s executing on them. If you’re a small company, like ours, your employees are already wearing a number of hats and juggling their fair share of responsibilities. So whether your issue is time, money, or resources, I’ve got 4 suggestions to help you create a content schedule that can actually be implemented.

1. Leadership

Without someone pulling the reins, nothing will ever get done. Regardless of the fact that you’re probably all adults, plenty capable of taking care of yourself and your responsibilities, if you don’t have someone leading the team — encouraging participation, prompting the brainstorms, driving the strategy — it’s very likely the calendar will become forgotten, or at best, a very low priority.

2. Accountability

Though I stand by the importance of having someone leading the content initiative, it’s crucial that the team supporting the effort can be held accountable for his or her tasks. Share the strategy and objectives with the entire team to make sure they understand what they’re working towards. Make the calendar visible and easily accessible so key deadlines are clear. And if needed, set up an accountability process or review and ensure everyone stays on track.

3. Realistic Goals

Setting unrealistic goals or milestones is a quick way to fail before you even begin. Don’t be scared to start slow, and work on building a consistent, achievable schedule. Set weekly or monthly goals and hit them for a few consecutive months, and then incrementally build in additional frequency and channels.

4. Dedication

Depending on your capacity, and your adherence to rule #3, it’s quite possible that with your content execution will come times of frustration and aggravation. The important thing to remember is to focus on the tasks at hand (i.e. developing the calendar, creating the content, and hitting that weekly goal), and stay committed to the mission. With dedication to the strategy, as well as your process, with time will come success.

So what’s the takeaway here? There’s no secret trick or special formula for creating and executing your content calendar. All it takes is a thoughtful strategy, a little focus, and a lot of dedication

 

 

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