When you want to be effective with your content marketing efforts, it’s important to develop a content calendar. A content calendar will help you plan out the content you will need to create. It will help you publish your content at the right time, in order to promote the events, products, services and information that your audience needs.

The point of creating a content calendar is to ensure that you, as well as those with whom you work, can all be on the same page in regards to content creation for your business. This may include content for your blogs, social media accounts and more. Plus, all of the content needs to go together to get the marketing results that you want.

* Identify the Topics You Need to Cover – Before you get started creating a calendar, you need to know what type of topics you need to cover. It’s important to identify a specific niche and then work from there.

* Know Who Your Audience Is – Understanding your audience is one of the most important things you can do. This will help you with content creation, because you will know what your audience needs to know about your niche in order to decide to make a purchase from you.

* Determine What You Already Have in Terms of Content – Check the inventory you already have regarding content. Update anything that needs updating, and practice good internal linking to bring attention to other content to your audience.

* Make a List of the Products and Services You Want to Promote – What are the products and services you want to promote right now? From that list you should be able to create at least five to ten pieces of content for each product or service.

* Know the Objective of Every Piece of Content – When you create any piece of content, you need to know what the ultimate point is. Is it to get newsletter subscribers? Is it to make a sale? Is it to educate before pitching the product or service?

* Note Launch Dates for New Products, Events or Services – Within the calendar, note the launch dates of any new products or services that you plan to promote. This will enable you to work backwards into the calendar to push out content at the right time.

* Make a Spreadsheet with Logical Headings – You’re going to want your spreadsheet to make sense and include logical headings like article title, assigned to, draft due date, objective, promotion, keywords, CTA and so forth. Leave a space for anything you want to track, including social media networks and so on.

* Track Everything – Within your spreadsheet, leave a space for tracking the results of your content marketing efforts. What you track will be what is successful.

There are some awesome tools that you can use such as Google Drive’s Google Docs to set up the spreadsheet that everyone works from. If you want to take that a step further, you can use something like Kapost.com if you have a high volume of content needs.

And if you’d like some templates, checklists, and worksheets to help you with the process, visit the Resources page. At the bottom of the page you’ll find content planning downloads. They’re free!