How to Create a Sustainable Content Calendar

2nd May 2020
Aoibheann Schwartz

We all know that feeling, after an editorial meeting with our content team. Our brains are just buzzing with ideas! Content creation brainstorming in a team, small or large, is always fun, inspiring, and enlivening. Not only does it make your job more exciting, but it always seems to bring to life the best parts of a business, product, service, or company. Throwing around content ideas is almost as rejuvenating as that first kick of coffee in the morning! The tough part, however, is bringing those content ideas to fruition in a constructive, effective, and sustainable way. This is where most teams hit a wall and struggle to move forward. Great ideas are left to linger in emails, scribbled on notepads – forgotten, their great potential unrealised. If you want to avoid this post-editorial brainstorm flop, then there’s one thing you and your team will need to master: a content calendar. Creating a content calendar isn’t as daunting as it sounds! If you are in search of a few tips, read on.

Project Management Tools

Creating a sustainable content calendar simply is not possible without the use of modern-day, digital project management tools. They will help you and your team to stay organised, as well as acting as a resource bank for those constant streams of ideas, and providing prompts and reminders where necessary.

Our favourite project management tools include Trello, JIRA, Asana, and Proofhub. Even simple tools like Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Excel Sheets can transform your content calendar and creative process, helping you to smash your goals while staying organised. Your editorial strategy simply cannot evolve, mature, or come to fruition without basic project management!

The great thing about these tools is their interactive nature – all members of the team have access to one repository, and changes can be made by designated administrators. So if any changes need to be made, you can just ping your colleague, without having to shout across the office to discuss a last-minute content calendar change!

If you want to get super fancy and granular, tools like Google Analytics will help you to track and monitor your content performance. This data and information can help later on, when it comes to optimising and tweaking your content calendar.

Create Content Calendar Themes

A content calendar will be sustainable only if it’s interesting, organised, engaging, and creative. Brainstorm themes, categories, and niche topics, and then refine them and use them to shape your content calendar.

Maybe it’s Earth Day at some stage next month – why not make all posts and content for that week relatable to the theme of environmentalism? Maybe you want to dedicate 3 months of posting to diving into a particular topic in your industry. How about a podcast, or a series of interviews?

Categorising and organising your content according to themes and formats can really inform and transform your editorial strategy, making sure that your content calendar remains not only sustainable, but rich with engaging content.

Newsletter & Campaign Coordination

Try and tie your content calendar back to events that are going on in the business. Keep your newsletter, marketing campaigns, and blog posts synchronised, whether you are addressing a new topic in your industry, discussing the release of a new product or service, or highlighting exciting changes within the business.

Again, this will ensure your content calendar remains relevant, well-structured, readable, and relatable. It will also help you and your content team to stay on track too! No content calendar will make sense if next month’s newsletter is covering something completely different to that week’s blog posts.

Variety is important, of course, but it is strategic to create links between your content platforms, so that your calendar is not full of disparate and random postings.

Team Collaboration

The most important thing is that your content calendar makes sense to everyone who is contributing to your content creation and publishing. It’s often the case, especially in smaller companies, that content roles are distributed among regular employees, where there isn’t a designated content team.

It is still very possible to achieve an awesome content creation machine and sustainable content calendar, if everyone is working to a similar consistency and rhythm. Even if your content team isn’t made up of editorial strategists, it’s important to have regular meetings to make sure everyone involved is on the same page, and to fill in any gaps or misunderstandings.

Assign a head of content, an editor, a writer, an image sourcer, and someone who uploads to your publishing platform – change these roles around, if you wish! Once you’ve found out where everyone’s strengths lie, you will have achieved consistency and optimal collaboration in no time. A sustainable content calendar needs a sustainable team!

Last Words

Creating a sustainable content calendar is a fun, collaborative, and creative project.
While it’s always great to stick to a schedule, remember that your content calendar only has to be as rigid or as flexible as your content team needs it to be. Tailor your content calendar according to your business’s goals, and don’t be afraid to make tweaks and changes along the way.