Getting Started with Content Marketing [Template]

September 25, 2018

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to speak to nearly 1,000 marketers at HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference on a topic near and dear to my heart – content marketing. Having been a “behind the scenes” content and PR person for my entire career, getting in front of audiences of 600+ and 300+ people over the course of a day was a little unnerving. I got through my presentation a bit quickly with more than 15 minutes left for questions…uh oh.

I anticipated silence, but was pleasantly taken aback by the ceaseless stream of questions coming from the audience. Good, I thought. I didn’t bore them to death. Instead, I had a passionate bunch of marketers digging deeper for the tactics the OpenView marketing team uses to run our content site, OpenView Labs.

The number one request I received? “Will you be sharing your editorial calendar template with us after this session?” Certainly! After all, OpenView Labs is built on the premise of sharing tactical, informative knowledge freely with our audience of SaaS professionals. So here goes…the simple Google Spreadsheet we use to run OpenView’s content marketing program (screenshot and template linked below).

Content Calendar

You can can access a blank version of this template here. To create your own version of this editorial calendar, simply view the Google Sheet then click File > Make a Copy. Voila! You’re ready to get started. But first, some pointers:

  • Every tab in my editorial calendar corresponds to a calendar month. I like to block out weekends and holidays (days we don’t publish) with gray (I’ve set up January 2019 in the template). To easily fill out the dates in your editorial calendar, simply start by writing out the date (ie. 1/1/2019) until you have at least three days in the month. Then, highlight the three cells and drag down until you reach the end of the month (ie. 1/31/2019).
  • Column headers: Beyond “Date” I label columns in my editorial calendar corresponding to the categories we publish under on Labs (Sales, Marketing, Product, etc.). You can also include social posts, emails you’re planning to send and any PR or contributed / external content you have planned on that given day.
  • I use a color coded system to identify to myself and anyone looking at the calendar what is ready to be scheduled, scheduled, already published, etc. Here’s a breakdown:

White cells with hyperlink = published (linked to live post)
Green cells with hyperlink = scheduled in WordPress (linked to scheduled URL)
Purple cells with hyperlink = content ready to be scheduled
Yellow cells with hyperlink = content needs to be reviewed / edited
Bright blue cells with hyperlink = syndicated content*

*Note: If you are syndicating content, be sure to get permission from the author first, wait about 2 weeks from the original post date before republishing, include a canonical tag and link back to the original post.

White cells without hyperlink = approved topic / title waiting to receive draft

  • We also use content themes to organize our editorial calendar and content overall. At the beginning of the year or quarter, come up with several themes you want to highlight. For OpenView, these themes include Product Led Growth and diversity among others. I create a drop down menu from which I can choose the corresponding theme for each post. This helps to ensure I’m publishing content aligned to the themes we’ve deemed most important.

For more content marketing tips and tactics, you can view my full INBOUND deck below or access it on SlideShare here.

Former Director of Marketing

As Director of Marketing, Gail oversees all marketing activities for OpenView.