How To Create a Content Calendar

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

Content calendars create a schedule that you and your team can follow as you blog. It's a great way to stay organized and committed to blogging.

Content calendars can be as simple as the title of the post and a due date. They can also be much more complex.

In this post, you will learn how to create a content calendar that is simple and effective. Before you dive in, you will need two things:

  • Cadence — How often will you blog? If you don't know, start by reading this post.
  • Topics — What will you blog about? If you don't have a brainstormed list of topics, start here.

How to Create a Content Calendar

1. Create a Template

Let's make this easy for you. Download this Content Calendar template to get started.

FREE CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE

Alternatively, you can create your own spreadsheet with the columns: Date, Title, Status, Category, Author, Keywords, Notes.

2. Create a List of Titles

You have your brainstormed list of topics. It's time to turn these into titles. Some of your topics will already be blog post titles. Others will need a little spicing up.

Let's take “WordPress SEO” for example. That's a pretty general topic. We'll need to get more specific in the title of our post. Maybe we'll call it “WordPress SEO for Beginners” or “Getting Started with WordPress SEO”. Alternatively, we could create a list of tips and title the post “17 WordPress SEO Tips”.

Here are a couple of title formulas along with examples to make it easy to go from topics to titles:

  • How To — “How To Get Started Investing” or “How To Solve a Rubix Cube”
  • Numbers — ”10 Best Things To Do in Denver” or “14 Reasons to Go Vegan”
  • Comparisons — ”Yoast vs Rank Math” or “Miami vs Orlando for Your Next Vacation”
  • Comprehensive — ”Definitive Guide to Google Analytics” or “Ultimate Guide to Scottland”
  • Questions — ”What is SEO?” or “When to Plant a Garden in Colorado?”

3. Order Your Posts

Your titles may not be in logical order. It's time to organize the timing of each post so that the posts are timely. Maybe your business is seasonal and thus you want to blog about certain topics at certain times of the year. Alternatively, you may have a blog post series and want to publish that series in sequential order over a period of weeks or months. Apply that logic to your blog post calendar. This makes your content calendar strategic.

4. Add Due Dates

You already have a sense of your cadence — how often you'll be publishing a new blog. Apply that logic to your calendar. Add in due dates, simply go down the line.

5. Add Additional Details

The remaining columns can be customized to meet your business’s needs. We recommend a combination of these additional headers:

  • Status — You may add a column for status to track where in the production cycle each post is. For example, “Scheduled, Write, Edit, Revise, Publish, Promote, Complete”.
  • Category — Blogs contain categories that organize and group related content. As you look through your topic list, you'll see which blog posts relate to one another and can create your categories accordingly. The right number of categories for a blog depends on how many posts your site has. Ideally, you start with a limited number of categories. Think 3-6.
  • Author — Will your blog have multiple authors? If so, add a column for authorship so you can keep track of who is writing each post.
  • Keywords — It's essential that your blog posts use the words and phrases that we want the post to rank for on Google. Identifying those keywords for each post before you start writing ensures that the keywords stay top of mind. It's also helpful if you'll be passing the writing off to somebody on your team or outsourcing production.
  • Notes — As you crafted a topic and title, you may have come across a competitor with a great post on the topic or have other things you want to remember like “link to this resource in the post”. Make those notes in the content calendar so you don't forget.

6. Fill in the Gaps

You might find your calendar leans too heavily to a specific topic or maybe you need additional topics to meet your desired cadence. Now is the time to fill in the gaps. You can go back to the brainstorming stage to generate additional ideas.

We recommend creating a blog post calendar in 6-month batches. This enables long-term planning while still allowing for evolution as your blog takes shape over time.

It's Time to Start Writing

Now that you have your blog post calendar, it's time to start writing! Here's how to write an SEO-friendly blog post.

STILL HAVE A QUESTION?

If you have more questions about this, feel free to reach out.

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.
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