Content marketing requires planning a concept to map out your message and its direction.

Having a well-planned strategy is essential to winning the battle for your customers’ attention. Executing on that strategy is the next step.

Chinese military general Sun Tzu said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Strategy is the overall plan; tactics are each objective set by strategy.

So having a plan with no objectives forms an inefficient way to get where you want to go. Having objectives with no plan will never get you where you want to go.

The goal of the content calendar solves both your tactics and strategy. It aims to put them down on paper to develop consistency in your content.

Many blogs struggle with consistency. Their topics don’t match in an organized sequence. Or their frequency of posts is random and even scarce.

A content calendar is the perfect solution to build consistency.

Benefits of a Content Calendar

1. Building a Strategy

Content marketing requires strategy. A calendar provides the perfect tool to map out that strategy. It allows you to see the big picture. In turn, it serves as a rough draft where you can add, edit, remove and move around future content.

2. Website Traffic

Traffic and growth don’t happen by accident. Being able to plan your content helps keep it all working towards the goal of more visits. It also puts the emphasis on quality, which is the most important factor in building a following.

3. Consistent Content

When you plan out your content, you will be able to make sure it is all working together to accomplishing the desired goal. It will also hold you accountable to stick to producing content on a timeframe. Finally, your audience will know what to expect from your voice.

How to Create a Content Calendar

It can be digital, hand-written or any combination of the two. Creating the perfect content calendar is all about finding out what works best for you.

But one good template for a calendar includes breaking it into three parts.

Part 1: The Annual Calendar

Start by planning out your content as far ahead as you can. In a perfect world, aim for a year’s worth of content mapped out. This serves as a comprehensive view of your plan. It’s a rough draft that shows where you are and where you want to end up.

Part 2: Idea Logbook

This is where you write down and keep ideas for future content. It can be an idea for a specific post you want to do or a place to formulate future blog series. Just make sure to write your ideas down (lest you forget) and organize them.

Part 3: Planned Posts Calendar

This is your nits-and-grits, what-comes-next calendar. This includes what specific posts and what day they are publishing. For organization, it can help to add things like editing due dates, interview due dates or anything applicable.

We will post more on creating the perfect content calendar and how to manage it, but that covers the basics of getting started.

We can usually accomplish what we apply our efforts to. The content calendar helps define and guide our efforts to the ideal end result.