Demand for digital content is at an all-time high in 2020, since media consumption increased significantly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as people had more time online due to physical restrictions and lockdowns.
This means that readers are eager to consume high quality content and it’s upon us to create it for them.
The key to good content creation lies in good planning. So, content planning tools (usually versatile project management tools) and content calendars are an absolute must. A content calendar is any sort of schedule, analog or digital, you and your team can use to plan and publish content.
We recommend using a content planning tool, preferably an app or software, that helps you with at least one of these three fundamental aspects:
Consistency is a responsibility reserved for the humans, mind you. So, be consistent in your goals and objectives, set the vision in terms of themes, topics, and topic clusters. We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep the content in line with your campaign objectives, and your content calendar should reflect that. Make sure your team members and collaborators know what’s expected of them and follow the calendar closely. If your blog branches out on social media channels or newsletters, you will want to use a system of your own that ensures you keep a consistent vision and narrative across all the platforms.
Not only should there be consistency in the message conveyed, but also in the stream of assets you are putting out there. By posting consistently, you are engaging with your audience and making genuine connections, so your engagement increases organically. Keep that stream of content flowing for 12-18 months to see those results you want. As for the content frequency, the sweet spot is somewhere between 10-12 (11.4 to be exact) blog posts per month, but there are exceptions too, such as weekly posts.
Rule of thumb: quality over quantity, for sure, but aim for at least two blog posts a week. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough manpower to increase your content output. You can always outsource the content creation by accessing our talent pool of over 3000+ professional copywriters.
No man is an island, and we’re prone to perform poorly when alone and isolated. So, get your team on board and make the best use of your content planning tools to leave notes, comments, upload files, share and discuss ideas. At the same time, working collaboratively can chip away at the consistency you’ve been trying to maintain. You may create a content inventory or a library for your assets. Here are some of the best 2020 collaboration tools you could use as they provide a cohesive platform for all your needs. A good content planning tool encompasses the following:
- Visibility – A good planning tool gives you visibility on your tasks and objectives, be it a Kanban, a Gantt chart, or a Calendar view. Having a bird’s eye view of your tasks and assets should be a mandatory for such a tool.
- Shareability – Your team needs a shared space for the creative processes to take place, a content library where you can easily share your files and assets using Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox.
- Assignability – streamline your workflow by clearly identifying and assigning each team member tasks and duties. In this way, you can communicate easily with the people involved in a particular project.
- Tagging – for easy referencing, put a system of tagging in place, from color-coding to labelling by category or priority. Make sure the system is intuitive and consistent.
3. Time tracking
While some might underestimate its importance, a crucial aspect of good content planning is time tracking. By logging your team’s worked hours and yours, you will understand your capacity, capabilities, and manageable workload. It will help you communicate progress more easily with the team and keep them updated. By tracking every step of the way, you will account for those invisible tasks that you did not plan for. All these will help you to plan future projects better. Use tools that help you:
- Set deadlines, milestones, and publishing dates. There really is no content planning without these.
- Have a clear project overview. Have your strategy, objectives, assets all in one place along with the time needed for a successful series, event, campaign, or sprint.
- Manage team schedules. Even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic led to teleworking becoming a more widespread practice, proper team scheduling is elemental in increasing team efficiency.
- Track work time. See exactly how many hours you put in, how much you are lagging behind, how much slack your team needs, or if there are unforeseen tasks you need to take into consideration in the future.
Time tracking will no doubt help you stay on top of your publishing schedule and give you a sense of control. Here is a comprehensive list of the best time tracking software of 2020 that will propel your blog or small business way ahead. Time is our most important resource, and as Tony Robbins puts it,
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”
In a nutshell, ignoring any of these three core aspects – consistency, collaboration, and time tracking – will set you back by a large margin. Assess your weak points and try to improve your workflow by tweaking at least one of these: having a clear overview of the coming weeks or months, setting the writing deadlines and publishing dates, putting all the collaborative tools in place, or tracking time accurately.
The Best Content Planning Tools
Here are a handful of the best content planning tools for blogs in no particular order.
Strong points: Task management, Planning, Time tracking, Team Scheduling, Team Collaboration, Content Calendar, Resource Management, Financial management, Reporting
A complex yet intuitive and easy-to-use project management platform that offers everything you need involving task, time, resource, and financial management. If you have an in-house team of content creators, use this platform for every step, from planning to publishing and plenty more.
2. Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite)
Strong points of Google Calendar: Content Planner, Content Calendar, Team Scheduling
Strong points of Google Drive: Asset Organization, Content Library
Strong points of Google Docs, Sheets: Content Creation
Tip: Use Google Calendar to link your schedule to your team’s, invite people to collaborate, and import a Google Sheet into the Calendar so that it feels more like a content planner.
Strong points: Asset Organization, Content Planning, Content Calendar, Team Collaboration, Automations,
Airtable is a versatile platform built on the premise of a cloud-based collaboration software. It is a spreadsheet on steroids, visually appealing and ambitious as it functions as a database.
Strong points: Content creation, Content publishing, Asset Organization
ContentCal is a content management tool, easy for creating, planning and publishing content. You may keep your assets, media, and briefs in the ContentHub and organize it as you wish. It’s great for managing the content workflow.
Strong points: Content Calendar, Asset Organization, Task Management, Team Collaboration
Trello is one of the leading team and project collaboration tools built on the premise of Kanban methodology. You may organize work projects into individual boards that you can share with your team members.
Strong points: Content Creation, Content Planning, Content Calendar
Gather Content is a Content operations platform dedicated for content management. A SaaS online platform, it allows its users to create, edit, and review website content and keep track of their progress.
Strong points: Content Planning, Content Calendar, Content Creation
Concured is a Content Intelligence Platform dedicated for content management. It uses AI and deep learning to understand user content and to recommend trending topics, niches or new content that fills content gaps.
Strong points: Content Optimization
TextOptimizer is a writing assistant tool that enriches your content (through semantic analysis) and optimizes it for Google and Bing by extracting the intent table from search engines’ results using neural network technology and works as a Chrome Extension.
Strong points: Content Calendar, Content Planning, Content Publishing
CoSchedule is a content marketing platform use for planning, organizing, and publishing, which connects your blog content and social media accounts in one calendar view. It has a WordPress plugin as well.
Strong points: Task management, Team collaboration, Content management
Notion is a collaboration app designed as a workspace to help teams manage projects and tasks by writing, planning, taking notes, adding tasks, manage projects, and plenty more. It connects databases, Kanban boards, calendars, and reminders, so it is useful in content planning.
Over To You!
Consistency, collaboration, and time tracking. Bearing these three aspects in mind, find whichever tool works for you. Be consistent in your narrative and assets, collaborate efficiently with your team, and keep track of your time. These are a sure-fire way of managing your blog well and growing an audience organically. Check the list again, try out a few apps and services and find what works best for your blog and/or small business.