How to Create a Content Calendar That Works For You

How to Create a Content Calendar That Works For You

Are you overwhelmed and stretched thin, trying to juggle all the pieces of your content marketing workflow? If that’s the case, you need a content calendar to streamline your production.

These calendars create a baseline for production and help you scale your content efforts. Even though planning, creating, delivering, and updating content calendars require time and effort, the results are worth it.

This blog post will discuss how you can create an efficient content calendar that works for your marketing team while managing ongoing projects.

Why do you need a content calendar?

Imagine having to publish 10 blog posts a month and handling distribution. Without a calendar, you’ll never know what to do and when to do it.

To avoid this, you need a calendar that works based on your internal systems and streamlines your content operations. It ensures your editorial teams consistently produce high-quality content that aligns with their marketing goals.

Here are five reasons why content teams must have a content calendar:

Gives your content operations a solid structure

It works as a live document that provides a structure for your team to plan and organize various content types they want to create. You can create a unified plan with timelines, roles, and status updates to monitor progress while activating your content marketing strategy.

They also act as an archive of published assets, which you can use as a resource moving forward. Plus, when you have a strong baseline structure, it becomes easier to scale production in the long run.

Helps you streamline and scale your content production process

It allows each team member to understand what’s happening at each stage of the process, from concept development to delivery, and know their role. This streamlines the content production process, allowing your teams to scale it efficiently when required.

Plus, you can keep an eye on what needs to be refreshed at a later date based on content gaps and performance. Dennis Shirshikov, Head of Growth at Awning, found success with these calendars as they provided a bird’s eye view of what’s on deck, and he could easily monitor which piece had to be refreshed.

Provides much-needed visibility and accountability

Content creation calendars provide a comprehensive view of all project objectives, deliverables, deadlines, etc., improving visibility and accountability within the team. This is particularly useful when you need to produce multiple pieces a week.

Think of it like a project management board for content. All information related to a piece is available on a single card, including the content brief, due dates, and stakeholders/contributors. This ensures everyone has the information they need, and there’s clear alignment on deliverables and timelines.

Meisha Bochicchio, Senior Content Marketing Manager

Gives an accurate overview of the scope of work

It’s an excellent tool for managing the scope of work within a specific timeline. Creating and maintaining a content production calendar gives you an overview of all the tasks you need to complete weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. You can prioritize tasks based on the criticality set by your team. This allows you to run your production on auto-pilot.

Improves communication within the content team

A content calendar outlines instructions for each task, editorial intent, deadlines, contributors, and any critical assets needed. It serves as a reference point, making it easier for team members to check in with each other. This helps reduce communication breakdowns, saving time and resources.

Ana Reisdorf, Founder of RWS: Content + Strategy, agrees. She says, “There are no surprises about deadlines, goals, keywords, writers, or anything else. It reduces the amount of back and forth required by the team, as all the information you need should be right there in the content calendar. Additionally, it helps everyone stay on track with goals and strategy, so we all stay on the same page.”

What should a content calendar include?

Depending on the goal and channel, you can create different types of calendars and include different details. First, let’s look at what kind of calendars exist:

Types of content calendars

  • Blog calendar: Useful for planning blog content topics and when to publish them to reach a maximum readership.
  • Email marketing calendar: Assists with tracking campaigns, understanding trends, and managing subscriber engagement.
  • Social media content calendars: Useful for scheduling posts in advance and analyzing performance metrics such as impressions and followers.
  • PDF asset calendar: Ensures you have a plan for assets like case studies, sales decks, whitepapers, e-books, etc.
  • Press release calendars: Ensure timely communication with existing customers and attract new ones by publishing relevant content about the company or product.

Examples of content calendars

All calendars include basic information like topic, status, published date, due date, title, live URL, and channel specific metrics. But depending on the type, you can tweak it further.

Here’s a social calendar that Kyle Porter, the founder of Guidepost Marketing, uses at his company.

He says, “The content calendar includes sections for the inspiration or idea, the status and where it is in the production process, which content pillars it fits within, what medium the content will be (video, article, etc.) and when it will be produced and published.”


Here’s a blog calendar by Sara Bodner, the Digital Content Manager at Conklin Media. In terms of creating a calendar that works for you, she says it’s essential to be as flexible as possible.

She adds, “Ours is purposefully pretty broad since our team members need plenty of flexibility since they’re contributing blog posts between working on campaigns for clients. But there are so many ways to customize your own content calendar like:

  • Checkboxes for when content is complete
  • A column for assigning an editor
  • Color coding for different steps: outlining, rough draft, final draft
  • A column listing which part of the marketing funnel you had in mind when creating the content.”


Here’s what Meisha Bochicchio, the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast uses for multiple channels:

“Our content calendar is in a kanban format. We use different columns to track the content production stages from idea through approval (or ready for design). Once the copy for a piece is finalized, we move the card over to the design team’s kanban for any images, videos, etc. Each card specifies the type of content (ex: blog, e-book, case study, etc.) and includes all relevant details, like a full content brief, the writer assigned to the piece, the due date, target go-live data, and any other relevant details.”


5 steps to create a content marketing calendar that works for you

Here are five steps to creating a dynamic content calendar that works for your business:

Step 1: Define your goals and tools for your content production process

Before you start building out your calendar, it’s essential to identify what your brand is trying to accomplish with its content. For example, increase sales, generate leads, improve customer loyalty, etc.

Dennis says, “To create a content calendar that works for you, you must make sure it aligns with your overall marketing goals and strategy. This way, you can ensure that the content you are producing is driving the desired results, and you can make adjustments as needed.”

Once you have identified your goals and objectives, you can decide which tools to use for your content calendar. It’s best created in a software platform that allows easy collaboration and sharing between team members.

There are many options on the market today, like Google Sheets, Trello, Notion, ClickUp, Asana, or Airtable. Selecting the right tool depends on your specific needs. However, you must ensure it’s easily accessible to all your team members.

Step 2: Identify who’s responsible for which part of the production process

You need to have a clear understanding of who should be involved in the project, what assets need to be shared, and who will take charge of the calendar. This ensures that everyone is properly informed and aware of their roles.

To do this, identify the key stakeholders for each component of the content production process—from conception to completion. This includes identifying who has decision-making authority and who has an advisory role. It gives team members an idea of whom to reach out to if they hit a roadblock.

Pro tip: Assign someone to own the calendar. It ensures there’s always a point of contact if any issue arises.

Step 3: Identify the potential timelines for production

From creation to distribution—everything needs to be timestamped. Collaborate with your team and set realistic deadlines. Ensure your content creation tool has a calendar view for easy access.

Each task should have its deadline and an overarching deadline for project completion. Build in some time for editing and revisions to double-check everything before making it live.

Mia Comic, Content Marketer at Instrumentl, recommends breaking down tasks into manageable chunks and prioritizing them according to their importance. She says, “This allows us to easily identify any tasks that need more attention or resources, as well as make sure all deadlines are met in a timely manner.”

For example, if you’re creating an infographic, dedicate specific sections to writing, creating visuals, and the review process before publishing.

Step 4: Identify what resources and assets you need

Your content team may need to talk to sales representatives to draft customer case studies. Or they may need to speak to internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to get a better perspective on an industry topic.

Identifying these resources and assets and sharing them with the team ensures your content production process isn’t interrupted.

Step 5: Create a standardized production process and customize the content workflow

Creating a standard production process ensures you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every piece of content. To do this, you need to get clear on what statuses to include and customize it. Here’s an example we use that you can tweak:

  • Keyword research: We identify potential keywords based on search intent and keyword volume. This gives an overview of what our audience is searching for.
  • Keywords ready: After we finalize the keywords, we change the status of the brief to Keywords Ready.
  • Brief WIP: We include information like** **target audience, tone of voice, call to action, references, content goal, search intent, funnel stage, internal resources, assets, etc.
  • Brief ready: Once the brief is ready, the status is changed to Brief Ready to start the content writing process.
  • Draft WIP: Next, the content writer takes over. They review the brief and draft the article based on the brief and outline they create (and get approved).
  • Draft ready: Once the first draft is ready, the status is changed to Draft Ready to notify the editor to review the content piece and mention changes if required.
  • Reviewed: After being reviewed by the editor, strategist, and other stakeholders, the content piece is marked reviewed.
  • Ready for publishing: Once the content piece is reviewed, design requirements are addressed to ensure all content assets, images, videos, infographics, etc., are gathered. And the piece is ready for publishing.
  • Published: This is the final stage, and the content goes live on the site per the publishing schedule.

Here’s an alternative offered by Luciano Viterale. As a blogger and consultant, he usually takes a slightly different approach—the ICE framework:

“I usually start with keyword research, competitor research, customer interviews, etc. From here, I put together blog post ideas and rank them using the ICE framework (impact, confidence, ease).

  • Impact: how much revenue/traffic could this generate?
  • Confidence: how likely am I to rank for it?
  • Ease: how easy is it to write/produce/edit?

This helps me prioritize the most important content first. However, this is always open to change if something better comes up,” says Luciano.

How do you manage your content calendar?

Once you’re done creating your calendar, you need to manage and update it regularly. Here are a few ways to manage your content calendar:

Use a content calendar software or template

Choose a software or template based on your content marketing team’s specific needs.

Google Sheets is an attractive option as it’s easy to use and collaborate. It also provides a high degree of customization, allowing teams to tailor them to their requirements. However, developing spreadsheets can take up a lot of time and effort.

On the other hand, software solutions like Trello, Airtable, HubSpot, CoSchedule, Google Drive, Notion, etc., offer sleeker designs for larger organizations but may introduce additional costs.

You must consider several factors—cost, requirements, learning curve, ease of use and content management, etc.—before deciding which system will work best for creating content calendars.

Employ strategies for continuous calendar maintenance

Conduct regular reviews

You should mark completed items, set reminders or notifications, and arrange meetings to discuss high-priority tasks, potential changes, and updates. By taking these proactive steps, the content calendar will always remain up-to-date and provide value for those who view it.

Then, you can regularly review the calendar to ensure it’s playing well with your production workflow—not the one you think you should have.

Set up automations

Implement automations wherever necessary. For example, automate that process if you have a template and know the draft needs to be assigned to a different person at each stage. It ensures you schedule content in advance, and there’s no room for error. For example, you can automate draft assignment and stakeholder intimation via Airtable, which can be connected to your email and Slack account.

Leave room for unexpected changes

Leszek Dudkiewicz, Head of Marketing at Passport-Photo Online, advises making your calendar flexible and allowing last-minute changes.

He adds, “It helps ensure that you can respond quickly to any changes in your content strategy or external factors such as breaking news or trending topics. Enabling you to be more responsive to your audience, it allows you to take advantage of opportunities that may arise unexpectedly.”

If you’ve implemented the right strategies, there’s always something on the horizon—ensuring you don’t scramble for topics last minute.

Create a system to measure output and record strategy updates

You can measure output by assigning task owners specific tasks, setting due dates for each, and tracking their completion. For example, if you’re calendar-driven, assess if you’re meeting your deadlines. If you’re output-driven, determine if you’re meeting your output goals.

The idea is to help you track content performance metrics and determine which channels deliver the most value for your content marketing efforts. For example, marketers can measure how many website visits, leads, or sales were generated from a given piece of content and track changes in these metrics over time.

Then, you can set realistic expectations for future production and gain insight into how each content asset performs.

Leverage your content with Content Camel

Creating and following a content calendar saves you time, energy, and money. It helps you personalize and activate your entire content strategy using a single living document. Streamlining the whole process in one go, it ensures you always have a handle on your content operations.

If you’re looking for a tool that helps you manage to create a living content repository, sign up for a free trial of Content Camel today.