Busy month? Demanding elf? Your content calendar can help.

December is a busy month for content marketers. Let’s be real about what that means.

The snowman on my coffee mug sends a smirk my way each morning. The outdoor lights illuminate droopy, brown mums and frozen pumpkins. And the dog’s eyeing the bare tree in a way that makes me nervous. All of this occurs as I schedule projects around year-end deadlines and make sure content due soon is client-ready.

I am so glad I don’t have an elf.

You know which elf — the one whose marketing lore promises will help keep your child on the ‘nice’ list. All you have to do is deliver on-point creative placement. Repeatedly.

If your job description includes content responsibilities, my hunch is you can relate to the stress this induces. Luckily there’s a non-magical solution: a shareable content calendar. While a content strategy establishes the overarching goals, a content calendar is a critical implementation tool.

Marketing teams of any size can use a content calendar to plan and manage content marketing activity. Unlike a simple list of content ideas and publishing dates, a calendar lets you visualize how it all comes together.

If you’re creating your first content calendar or reviewing your calendar in advance of the new year, keep these tips in mind.

  • Plan for continuous improvement. Build your calendar in quarterly or six-month phases that allow time to analyze results and tweak for the next iteration. Review conversion rates, ROI, social comments and shares in addition to page views and traffic sources.
  • Maximize publication frequency. According to Hubspot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts. It can be a big lift for small teams. Consider tapping subject matter experts to write posts in addition to team members.
  • Include evergreen content on popular healthcare topics to boost SEO and grow traffic overtime. Strive to add a unique viewpoint to lists, how-to posts, answers to commonly asked questions, etc.

How does your organization use a content calendar (or an elf) to guide productivity? Tell us in the comments.