Creating a content calendar for your publishing needs is no small task, but it is well worth the time and effort. Developing and maintaining an annual publishing content calendar allows you to streamline production, publication, and distribution, and to keep the ideas flowing so that you’re never at a loss for the next piece of content. From planning ahead for major holidays and events (i.e., Labor Day sales promotion) to crafting multiple pieces of content around a single topic simultaneously, creating a content calendar helps you stay on top of your goals and maximize your content creation time. Set goals You should be clear about why you’re developing a content calendar and what you hope to achieve with it. Is your company working to increase brand exposure? Or is your biggest annual goal to drive sales? This motive can be the foundation for the calendar and, as such, the basis for the production of the content. Setting a clear driving force ensures that a brand has a consistent authentic voice across all content. Start out slow and then grow in phases each quarter. For example, during the first three months, map out 30 pieces of content, which may consist of 10 blog posts, 18 social media updates, and two ebooks. Then set a goal for the second quarter to increase the content total by 25 percent. Track metrics The goals that you set dictate the type of metrics that you use to measure the success of your content. For example, if you are heightening brand awareness through Facebook, you should track the number of followers, likes, comments, shares, any other relevant engagement metrics, and geographical demographics. Make changes as needed It is easy to get caught up in a current plan and stick with it even when things aren’t going so well. Make a point to sit down once or twice a month and evaluate the content calendar. Are there areas of it that are or aren’t going particularly well? Are you producing too much or too little content? Is there anything that needs improvement? It is critical to plan ahead, but you should always be prepared to be reactive as well. You should also pay attention to new developments in the greater realm of content sharing. For example, maybe you created your first content calendar three years ago when Instagram wasn’t the major social media channel that it is today. If you believe that Instagram is important for your content marketing, make adjustments to your calendar accordingly. Keep in mind that a content calendar is not a one size fits all strategy. Companies must tweak and adjust their calendars to fit with their goals, needs, preferences, and content. Once you get a routine going, you’ll be amazed at what it does for streamlining your workflow. You just have to make sure that you keep on top of your calendar management so that your initial effort doesn’t go to waste.