When you’re a business owner, you may realize and take into account the importance of posting regularly updated content on your blog, but the question becomes how to make it work when you’re juggling so many other things?

For small and even mid-sized businesses that may not have an entire team dedicated to the creation and posting of new blog content, one valuable tool to make this all a bit easier is a content calendar, also called an editorial calendar. According to research from Curata, 90% of marketers use an editorial calendar, but along with using one, it’s also important to make sure it’s realistic, aligned with business goals, and is something that everyone on your content team can stick with in the long-term.

The benefits of creating this type of content calendar are that your blog planning, writing, and scheduling are organized, it can be easier to avoid writer’s block since topics are outlined ahead of time. A calendar makes sure writers are held accountable throughout the creation process. These calendars can also ensure all of your content is in line with your strategic business goals.

Below are some of the most important tips and steps you can take to create a content calendar that’s not only functional but also one that’s going to help you maximize the value of your blog.

Start Broadly

If you’re just starting the process of creating a new blog, the step of creating an editorial calendar should be one of the last on the list, according to Neil Patel’s guide to creating a blog, which is one of the top resources in the industry. The reason is that you need to have the large components down first. This includes gaining an understanding of what you hope to achieve with your blog, the audience you want to reach, the types of articles and content you want to publish, and the overall voice and tone you’re striving for.

If you already have a blog, but you want to refine it or make it better, ensure that you have all of these points clearly defined before starting your calendar. These broad principles are going to serve as a guiding force for all of the more specific elements that will go into the actual creation of content.

Outline Specific Content Goals

While good content is going to be aligned with your strategic business goals, you should also identify key content goals on their own as well.

Some of the goals to consider include how often you’ll be publishing content, what days you want to publish, publishing guidelines and formatting, and who will serve as the key point person regarding all content. You may also think about whether or not you’ll give everyone the opportunity to contribute content ideas, and if so, how this will be managed.

Use this part of the calendar planning process to outline a consistent publishing schedule, but ensure that you’re realistic and it’s going to be one you’re able to adhere to on a regular basis.

Create Quarterly Goals

Quarterly goals are a good place to begin in terms of actual scheduling. When you’re looking at your quarterly content goals, think about important dates that are coming up, things that may be happening in your industry or your city, and even holidays. These can all be part of the blogging process, and your content may center around these events.

For example, if your business holds an annual sale every year, this may be something that’s a primary tenant of your content calendar for much of an entire quarter.

Develop Themes

Your content marketing themes are going to be those broad concepts around which your blogs are based. If you can come up with several large themes to focus on throughout the quarter or the year, you can then build many posts that tie in with the same general concept. When you’re creating a content calendar, think about what you’d like these themes to look like for the year, and then it will likely become easier to come up with more specific post ideas and titles that build on these large-scale themes and approach them from a variety of angles.

Plan Outside the Blog

While a traditional written blog is the cornerstone of a content strategy, don’t leave other types of relevant content out of your calendar. For example, plan for the addition of videos, infographics, podcasts, white papers and any other kinds of content you think you’ll be producing throughout the quarter or the year.

Remember, when you have these types of content you can also use them to build blog posts and smaller bits of content, so everything cohesively ties in with each other, and you’ll be able to enjoy an easier flow of ideas that will help prevent a stall in content production.

Add Resources

You want everyone involved in content creation to be able to quickly see the best resources to guide the process. Organize these resources within your content calendar for easy access. This can include everything from links to interviews with influencers in your industry, to data and research that you might be using to reinforce salient points in your blog posts or white papers.

Incorporate Everything

Your content calendar isn’t just a good place to integrate and organize blog posts, written content, and visuals. It’s also where you should streamline the organization of your social media posts, guests posts, newsletters, and your email campaigns that will be going out to customers. Make sure you can include as many details on all of these elements as is possible.

Finally, share your content calendar with everyone in the organization. You’ll want to assign as many specific roles as possible, but don’t limit yourself by only sharing the calendar with the people who will be working on content creation and publishing.

Even if they’re not going to be directly involved, you may be surprised the ideas they can come up with, and it can also be a good way to make sure everyone is on the same page and aware of any marketing campaigns or pushes that may be coming in the future.