Is your content calendar really lame, or even worse, non-existent? We all need motivation to get started on something, so check out the benefits of creating an editorial plan. Or, if you get inspired by seeing how others make it work, here are three content calendar examples using PlanITPDQ to help you get started. While content calendars work best when you combine multiple categories – blog posts, podcasts, collateral, videos, events – you don’t have to wait until you have everything planned before you get going. Here are some examples by category:
1. Content Calendar Examples for Capturing Contributed Byline Opportunities
It is so frustrating to open up a leading publication and see an article by … your competitor. Ugh. How did they get that placement when they are nowhere near as accomplished as your company? Simple – they did their homework.
Most online sites and industry publications accept contributed bylines. Each has its own parameters which are usually spelled out in a document called Author’s Guidelines, or something similar. Many have their own editorial calendars that list which subjects they plan to cover each issue.
Make a point of grabbing these calendars – they tend to be published late in the fall of each year, but you can get started any time of year. Look on the menu of the publication’s website for a page called Editorial Calendar, Write for Us, or Author’s Guidelines.
Hint: many publications list their editorial calendar in the Media Kit section of their website.
Review the calendars for topics where your company could contribute and pin them to your content calendar timeline. Here are a few content calendar examples:
Tracking byline opportunities in this way offers several advantages. First, you can check your calendar to stay on top of dates – pitch the editor several months in advance of the deadline to see if you can contribute. Second, you can see where opportunities stack up. If you want to contribute to multiple publications, you can find dates where you might have the best luck while not overloading your team during any one time period.
It’s easy to organize events by market segment or any criteria to keep your calendar organized. Here’s one example:
Here’s a preview of the type of information to include in the project description:
Add a description for the publication’s requirements, deadline, and link to the editorial calendar or writer’s guidelines, and you have a complete package for pitching. Using your content calendar to track byline opportunities is one way of making sure that the next time you see a familiar name as the author in a leading publication, that it’s from your own company.
2. Tracking Events
Events are one of the first things to put on your content calendar for two reasons: They have fixed dates so there’s no guessing as to where to pin them on your timeline, and they tend to drive a lot of other content pieces.
Many companies like to create collateral for trade show handouts including data sheets, case studies, and white papers. Others like to prep videos to make their booth visuals pop. And it’s always smart to send a pre-show email to your list reminding people to visit your booth and set one-on-ones. Schedule in the post-show email, too, while you are at it.
Events are great anchors in your calendar, so take advantage of them. Here’s a content calendar example that lists events in multiple categories: events this company definitely plans to attend, and events it is considering.
Seeing them stacked up by date lets everyone make smart decisions: if two events are on the same date, or even too close for comfort, you can choose the one that best meets your goals or budget. Drag and drop events from one category to the other as you decide.
What about those stretch events that you probably won’t attend? List them anyway – next year may be different, and you’ll have last year’s history to give you a heads up on what is likely to happen at each time of year.
Hint: track stats such as number of attendees that visited your booth or total budget spent in each event after the fact. It’s easy to forget whether the event was worth it or not; when you enter in this year’s numbers, it makes next year’s decisions a lot easier.
3. Email Newsletters
One strategy for building audience is to create a regular schedule for email newsletters and campaigns. It is very easy for the next deadline to sneak up if you don’t pin it to your timeline. Here’s an example of the schedule for the PlanITPDQ email newsletter.
It’s called Editorial Calendar Tips, or ECT for short. The list is segmented for people who are already users of PlanITPDQ and those who asked to subscribe via our online pop-up form. Want to know when the next newsletter is planned? Simply check the content calendar.
Hint: In PlanITPDQ, you can integrate your content calendar with MailChimp to import your email newsletters automatically. Click on any one to view stats on opens and clicks.
Like most good habits, creating and maintaining a marketing calendar is an exercise that delivers benefits over time and that helps you continually improve. When used by your whole group, it improves teamwork and enables accountability. We know you can do this!