How To Create A DIY Content Calendar
If you create content for a blog or social media, I’m sure you know that it can be hard to stay consistent. Since we live in a world of low attention spans, it’s crucial to have new content coming out often. However, life can get really busy, and finding time to create content can be difficult. Or maybe you have the time but your posts are sporadic. If this is you, it sounds like you could benefit from a content calendar!
Content calendars come in all shapes and sizes. I have personally tried a few different ways and I’ve found that Making my own (aka a DIY content calendar) works best for me. So, today we are going to chat about how to make your own content calendar and how I make mine!
What is a content calendar?
First things first, just in case the concept of a content calendar is new to you. A content calendar is a calendar where you plan out your content.
It can be as simple or complex as you’d like. Some people just list out dates and topic ideas. Other people track keywords, due dates, the status of the post, and more!
You can have a content calendar for your blog posts, social media posts, emails, and anything else that you need to plan in regard to content!
Why do you need a content calendar?
The most obvious reason you need a content calendar is for organization. It’s impossible to keep every idea and deadline in your head.
Having a content calendar keeps you on track and allows you to plan for the future. This is helpful when it comes to posts that go up over different holidays or if you have any sponsorships or guest posts that need to go up on certain days.
I personally found that when I started using a content calendar I became so much more consistent! Having a deadline made me motivated because I hate having to say I didn’t complete something!
However, sometimes I do miss a blog post and that’s okay. The content calendar is there to help guide you. No one is perfect but it can help you get on track and build good blogging habits! Highly recommend new bloggers start a content calendar right away even if you are only posting one blog post a week!
Related read: Why You Should Plan Your Content And How To Do It
How to create a DIY content calendar
There are lots of good content calendars out there that you can purchase. If you like a physical planner you can find blogger planners. If you like digital, Etsy has tons of content calendar templates!
But I mentioned before that I’ve tried some other content calendars and they just weren’t for me. I wanted something personal and tailored to what I wanted. I wanted something a bit more basic because who has time to update their content calendar multiple times a day?? Not this 9-5, part-time blogging girly.
So here’s how I make my content calendar and the tips and tricks I have for you!
What to use to make a content calendar
So, like I just mentioned, I keep mine quite basic. I made my content calendar on Google Sheets.
I like it because it’s a spreadsheet so it’s relatively easy to lay out and it’s accessible on all devices so I can see it on my computer when I’m home, on my phone when I’m on the go, and anywhere else I may need it!
You could also use a calendar template in Word. They have free ones that are for the whole year.
And for physical planning girlys you could also just purchase a planner and use that! Or even a blank notebook. The options are endless really.
Making a content calendar in Excel (Google Sheets)
It’s really quite simple. First, give your content calendar a banging title. It could be “content calendar” followed by the year but it could also be “my super awesome plan to take over the blogging world”… like whatever you want really, it’s yours!
Next, you need to include a couple of main things like dates, blog titles, and a spot for notes.
You can get way fancier than that though. See below for a screenshot as an example. Mine is very similar! You could also add a spot for blog post status (not started, started, editing, published). Some other ideas may include:
- Pillar type
- Due dates
- Link to post once live
- Word count
- Links you want to track (affiliate links, products, etc.)
- Metrics to track such as comments or shares
Your content calendar is meant to fit your needs. If all you need is a list of blog posts and dates then that’s awesome! If you need more, you can totally do that.
So once you have all your sections labeled, input all the dates on the left-hand side. I usually just put all the dates, Monday to Sunday. Then I highlight my posting days so I know how many posts I need to plan for the month.
Finally, fill in the content calendar with all your fabulous ideas!
How to come up with content ideas
The first step is to know what topics (aka pillars) your blog has. Anyone can write about anything but you want to focus on the pillars.
For example, my main pillars are wellness, personal development, lifestyle, and blogging. Anything I write should fall into one of those categories.
So list out some ideas under each of your pillars!
A super helpful tip I heard on a podcast once was to use Google’s “people also ask” section. That helps me generate so many ideas and it takes literally 2 minutes.
Type in a topic you want to write on. Maybe you have a self-care blog. You might want to write about different types of self-care. Type in “different types of self-care” on Google and then look at the “people also ask” section to see other related topics!
This has been a game-changer honestly. My content ideas list had easily doubled! Give it a try!
- My Top 10 Tips For New Bloggers
- How To Stay Crazy Organized As A New Blogger
- A Day In The Life Of A Part Time Blogger
Why I think you should keep your blog content calendar separate from your social media content calendar
Chances are if you are a blogger, you also have social media. Planning for everything can be pretty overwhelming. You may think it’s a good idea to keep everything together but I personally like mine separate and here’s why.
When it comes to social media, I try my best to post consistently. Instagram is my favorite place to hang out so most of my effort goes there.
However, It doesn’t need to be planned super far in advance
I usually plan a week or 2 in advance instead of a month or more like my blog.
And the thing with social media is that things change quickly. There are trends that you may want to hop on right away that you can’t plan for. I personally hate making a plan and then having to change things all the time.
It doesn’t need to mimic your blog
A lot of my social media content is not necessarily about the blog. It’s the same topic but it doesn’t need to match perfectly with my blog posts. I use social media to promote my blog posts but again, it’s not as “strict” as my blog plan.
Too much in one space makes clutter
I don’t like there to be too many things in one place because it feels cluttered. So what I do instead is create a new sheet on Google Sheets and I list out my posts week by week.
That way it’s clean and easy to read. I include tick boxes to keep track of what’s been posted. I also highlight any posts that are specifically about the blog or new blog posts to make sure I am promoting the blog regularly!
There are so many ways to create a content calendar. It really is up to you to decide what works best for you and your blog.
I love using Google Sheets as it is convenient and accessible everywhere I go.
Some people prefer a physical planner and that’s okay too!
Do you have a content calendar? How do you do it?