I love content calendars. One of the most overlooked items that people think about when it comes to running a website or blog is having a content calendar. I used to do things at the drop of a hat where I’d just see what I felt like writing, however as I traveled more, researched my audience more, and learned about SEO, it was clear that I needed a content calendar. It has been a game changer…. This post will be discussing why you need a content calendar with a link to a free content calendar template that you can download for yourself at the bottom.
Why you need a content calendar
I used to do things at the drop of a hat. I’d think what I felt like, however when I deciding that I wanted to make money from my website, I started learning about SEO. The thing about SEO is that your posts will probably not rank immediately. You’ll want to write your posts at least a few months in advance to give them time to rank, so if you’re not planning your content accordingly, you’re missing out on potential traffic.
When I started getting into using Keysearch for keyword research, I saw that there were huge spikes, however I was writing my content too late for the peaks. By having a good content calendar, I know when I need to prioritize certain posts. For instance, I’d write this article in May or August.
Let’s say that you are writing about an annual event that occurs every August. Conventional logic would say that you post it when you get the chance and/or the month of August as it’s relevant, however it’s likely that people will be searching ahead to find out information about this event ahead of time. If you publish it the week of, it’s unlikely that your post will rank when people google about the event. However, if you post six months ahead, you’ll give it enough time to have a chance when the event rolls around. How do you plan? You get a content calendar that takes into account keywords.
I continually update my content calendar with new article ideas that I think of and interesting keywords that I find while searching for other topics, however I am always checking it. For instance, I know that I should be turning out posts about fall right about now, however my content calendar allows me to see from all the possibilities for things that will do well in the next few months which one I want to focus on.
I sometimes know that there’s one article that I really should write, however I love that I can check the spreadsheet to see which content appeals to me. Some articles are a drag to write, so instead of dragging your feet, you might find that you’re more inspired by other content that you could prioritize instead. I credit my content calendar for why I’ve been able to write 2-3 articles a day all week: I’ve found things that were easy to write that has been on my to-write list.
The best platform for content calendars: Google Sheets
I’ve tried using Microsoft Excel for my content calendar, however my issue is that it’s offline. As a result, you are at risk of losing the file if your computer crashes and/or you’re disorganized. I’ve since shifted to Google Sheets, which is continuously updated with spreadsheets that can be download offline. (I usually download a copy of this offline for plane rides!)
I love how intuitive Google Sheets is–and how easily you can figure out the filter functions, even if you’re not a spreadsheet geek (like myself). The filter function is very helpful for sorting, especially for those posts that are high priority. (The content calendar that I’m including at the bottom comes with filter functions included if you’re not keen on figuring it out for yourself.)
Things that you need to think about when creating your content calendar
I use my content calendar as a way to think about what content that I’d like to focus on, what I need to create the post, and when I need to publish my post. The idea is that I try to fill out my content calendar as much as possible after adding a line with a new article idea. If you keep scrolling, you’ll be able to download my Content Calendar template.
This is the simple bit. If a keyword is the same as the title, I sometimes don’t fill this part in.
This is where I use the sorting feature. I usually rank my posts by low, medium, and high priority. The idea is that I can edit and change my content calendar as needed, so that I can know what posts need to be written as soon as possible!
When people research it / is this evergreen?
Even evergreen posts have a popular season! I love to write down the general season/month that a post will become popular as it means that I can quickly scan to get a feeling for which posts I should prioritize for the month. You can read more about seasonality here.
Keywords + Quantity
This is where your content calendar meets SEO strategy. Sometimes when you’re using Keysearch, you end up writing down keywords that seem really good. If I see something good that would be a standalone article, I sometimes will write down the keyword, quantity, and the seasonality for later. I generally don’t focus on one keyword when writing, but if it’s a high enough quantity, I’ll consider it.
If I need photos, to edit photos, or create pins
I find that not having the right photos available is a big barrier to not being able to turn out a post on time. Similarly, if I don’t have a pin available (not relevant to everyone, but very relevant for anyone with blogs), it slows my process down. I love having my images pre-formatted for publication at the correct size and fully compressed, so I can just throw them into the post.
Is it a collaboration with others?
If you’re writing something long and detailed, it’s often a nice idea to have it as a collaboration with others as you can get better content and it’s a little less work than doing it yourself. It’s also more credible to ask experts about a topic instead of writing about it as a non-expert. That said, collaborations are sometimes like herding cats.