How to Create a Content Calendar (+Free Template)

This post is all about how to create a content calendar. This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

how to create a content calendar

Creating a content calendar was probably the last on my list when I began my blog. Frankly, I was all over the place and had absolutely no direction.

I’m not a type A personality and my mind tends to go in all directions when faced with content planning in a limited time frame. If you are someone who is starting their blog and, maybe, you’re also busy with a 9-5 and family to take care of, I see you.

I too struggled for years trying to keep a consistent blogging schedule while tending to all my other obligations. But let me save you some sanity — start your content calendar today!

My blogging strategy used to be deciding to blog about whatever came to my head that morning. Or maybe there was a sale that started that week and I would work feverishly to post by the end of the day.

THAT DOES NOT WORK! Posting content that will get pageviews takes time. Unless you have thousands of blog readers waiting anxiously for your next post, no one will read it. Or they’ll read it long after the sale has concluded.

WHY ARE CONTENT CALENDARS IMPORTANT?

A content calendar, or editorial calendar, is an outline for your blog. This tool helps organize your content and maximize the probability that the content you are publishing gets read.

Nothing worst than dedicating hours of your time to creating a post that no one reads. Believe it or not, blogging for profit has to be strategic.

If you are just doing this for fun, then, by all means, keep doing what you are doing. But if you’re looking to make blogging your business, then you must get a strategy in place.

First, you’ll want to start categorizing your blog content. Think about your blog pillars and start planning your content from there. For me, my blog pillars are fashion, beauty, blogging, and life+home.

You’ll want to touch on each of these pillars at least once a month. You’ll also need to think about how often you will be publishing your blog posts.

Google loves consistency so be sure to pick a posting schedule that you can keep up with. Even if it’s only 1 post a week, stick to it.

Each of your blog posts should fall into one of the following content categories:

  • Seasonal blog posts
  • Evergreen blog posts
  • Cornerstone blog posts
  • Announcement/news blog posts

SEASONAL BLOG POST CONTENT

Seasonal blog posts are those that focus on particular trends, holidays, or events that happen every year.

Examples of seasonal posts for a fashion blogger:

  • 10 Shoe Trends for Summer
  • How to Dress for a Winter Brunch
  • Fourth of July Outfit Ideas

These posts are season specific and need to be scheduled 3-4 months BEFORE they become trending searches on search engines. This is why you will see many bloggers posting Christmas content at the beginning of October.

It takes time for Google and other search engines to crawl your site and rank your content. It takes more time to start moving up on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and ranking higher in Google.

EVERGREEN BLOG POST CONTENT

Evergreen content is SEO content that has a longer shelf-life than your seasonal content. This type of content should provide value for your audience long after it is published. My goal is to post about 60% of evergreen content on my blog. This also gives me a greater return on the time spent writing a post.

Types of evergreen content:

  • Reviews
  • Buying Guides
  • Tips
  • How-to Guides
  • Interviews
  • FAQ’s
  • Listicles

Although evergreen content can live long after it is published, you will want to keep an ongoing calendar reminder to update and republish your post periodically. If I have a post that is doing really well, I will update and republish it every 4-6 months to keep the content fresh (Google also loves that!)

CORNERSTONE BLOG POST CONTENT

Cornerstone content is posts that are the core of your blog. These are the best, most important articles on your site. For me, one of my cornerstone posts is about How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe.

From there, I have numerous other posts — Spring Capsule Wardrobe, Amazon Capsule Wardrobe, etc. — all linking back to my capsule wardrobe cornerstone post.

NEWS OR ANNOUNCEMENT BLOG POST CONTENT

These blog posts should be scheduled around any special announcements surrounding launches or collaborations. If you are planning to launch a product or service, you’ll want to schedule these to coincide with your launch date.

HOW TO CREATE A BLOG CONTENT CALENDAR

There are many ways to create a content calendar. You could use a paper planner, or go digital with the many project management sites out there.

I tried out a few: Trello, Airtable, and Asana. I’ve gone back and forth and ultimately decided to stick with Asana. I like that it can be integrated with my Google Calendar — I’m sure you can do the same with the other application but just never got around to trying all the features.

blog content calendar Asana

Asana was straightforward. However, I decided to create my own content planner on Google Sheets and refer to it more often. This Google Sheet is also where I do most of my blog research. There are entries for H2 and H3 headings, keywords, CTAs (Calls to Action), images, which internal posts to link back to, and where to promote.

GRAB YOUR FREE GOOGLE SHEETS CONTENT PLANNER HERE

1. BUILD A CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE

When building a content calendar, you’ll want to include a few sections to help you when you actually start creating your posts.

Some important details to include:

  • Blog post title
  • Post URL
  • H2, H3 titles
  • Keywords
  • Internal Linking Posts
  • Images
  • External Linking Poss/Pages
  • Offer or CTA (Call to Action)
  • Start Date (Drafts)
  • Publish Date

There are a ton of free blog content calendar templates out there. Just be sure it’s one that is easily accessible and that you will use. You could also create your own on Google Sheets or use Canva for template inspiration.

2. PLAN YOUR CONTENT

Next, look at your running list of content ideas. Our free content planner Google sheet has a section where you can write down all your post ideas separated by month.

Remember how we mentioned publishing posts 3-4 months before those topics are trending on search engines? That means if I wanted to write about Valentine’s Day outfits, I would start writing those in November or December to give the post enough time to rank on Google.

Google Trends Content Planner

I like to use Google Trends to see what is trending and when the search intent will peak. For this example, we can see that most people will search ‘Summer Vacation Outfits’ in April. So we would schedule this post to publish in January or February to give it ample time to rank.

Be sure to also enter your content planning on your digital calendars if you are using any.

3. PUBLISH THE CONTENT

Once you have decided which post will publish on which date, it’s time to write your post. I like to give myself 2-3 days to write a post.

Sometimes I can knock it out in 1 day, but you always want to give yourself enough time to write just so you don’t feel rushed. Writing blog content is only one-half of being a blogger. You also have to give yourself time to promote your content.

That means if you are posting 3 times a week, like myself, you want to give yourself time to promote before you’re back to writing your next post.

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR

Staying organized has always been my weakness so I have to work extra hard to stay on top of my content. I will sometimes go off-script if there is a topic that has really inspired me, but I quickly try to get back to my content calendar.

When organizing my blog posts, I like to make sure I am hitting each of my content pillars at least once a month. You’ll also want to make sure you are creating blog posts that branch out from other posts. This helps create authority and, you guessed it, Google loves that!

I know how it feels to want to write about everything you love, but, in the beginning, you want to really focus on a few topics and make sure you are creating a ton of content on those content pillars.

I found this example from the Blog Ambitious and thought it was a great example to share:

how to organize your blog content

This post was all about how to create a content calendar.

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