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how to create a content calendar in google sheets

How do you currently plan your content?

I’m guessing not in a content calendar. Maybe you don’t plan it at all and you just throw something together once a week.

Ugh, I’ve totally been there. In the beginning I was super overwhelmed by all the content I wanted to create. I had no idea where to start, let alone have a plan.

As a result I felt like I was constantly behind. I was always reactive, instead of proactive and that’s just so exhausting…

Over time, it has definitely gotten better. I’ve created different content calendars and lists for different platforms. But I didn’t have an all-year content calendar where I could actually plan ahead.

So, now I finally created my Master Content Calendar in Google Sheets! And I thought you guys might find that useful too.

In this article you’ll not only learn how to create a content calendar in Google sheets, but you’ll actually going to get my template for free!

Are you ready?

Okay, let’s go!

1. Download my free Google Sheets content calendar template 2021

Okay, so first of all, make sure to download my free Google Sheets content calendar template 2021.

This is your very own master content calendar that you can use and customize to your needs.

Download it now, before you continue reading. This way, you can implement the steps of this article right away.

You can’t work in the template directly. So, once you open it, make a copy and then start working.

how to create a content calendar in google sheets
Once you click on the link in your email, it looks like this. Click “make a copy” to get your template

2. Quick run-down of the content calendar template

So, here’s what you need to know about this content calendar template.

It has 13 sheets, the first one is an overview of the whole year and then one for each month.

There are 13 different sheets in my Master Content Calendar 2021
There are 13 different sheets in my Master Content Calendar 2021

I’ve added different columns for each platform. My main platforms are my blog and YouTube, so I’ve put these first. Then I’ve added the most common social media platforms. You can easily replace or erase columns if you don’t publish on all of them. In the year overview you only need to change the top row (3) and all the other rows will adapt automatically.

how to create a content calendar in google sheets
If you adapt the row nr. 3, all the other blue rows for each month automatically change as well

In each monthly sheet you’ll find one month separated into weeks with one row per day of the week. You’ll see each week marked in the little calendar on the left.

In the monthly sheets you can see the weeks. Each week is marked so you always know what day you're planning for
In the monthly sheets you can see the weeks. Each week is marked so you always know what day you’re planning for

3. Start with your goals for each month of the year

Okay, now let’s look at how you can use this content calendar template.

First of all, use the first sheet to define your goals for each month of the year. I highly recommend setting goals because that’s a crucial part in moving forward. How do you want to be successful if you don’t know where you’re going?

If you don’t know where to get started, check out these 7 tips on how to set goals and actually achieve them.

Ideally, you’ll be able to break your goals down into monthly goals. Put them in here for each platform. This will allow you to break your monthly goals into daily and weekly goals, which you’ll put in in the monthly sheets.

These are my January content goals and my overall goal for January as an example
These are my January content goals and my overall goal for January as an example

I’ve put my January goals in here as an example. I named the first row “topic of month”, as I usually do that along with my goals. If you don’t do that, just replace it with “goal for the month”.

My overall goal for January was to get my first coaching client (spoiler alert: I got 3 within 3 weeks =)). In order to get there my content goals were the following:

  • publish one blog post per week
  • publish one YouTube video per week, repurposing the blog post
  • being as helpful as possible in FB groups and helping 10 people a day on Facebook and IG combined
  • being as helpful as possible on IG, engaging with my ICA (ideal customer audience)
  • batching my Pinterest content a bit more. Up until then, I’ve created all pins for a week and then planned it in Tailwind.

4. Plan once a week or once a month

Now, the best way to use this content calendar is to plan on a regular basis. I currently do this once a week. Sunday is always my planning day.

Even better would be to plan once a month. This way you can make a cohesive set of all your content and you can already tease your new content, for instance at the end of your videos.

5. Choose the right month and customize it to your needs

Now, when you’re doing your planning, choose the right month and then customize if for your needs. For instance, I don’t have a Twitter account and I currently don’t post on TikTok. However, I’d like to start sending a weekly newsletter.

So, I deleted the rows for Twitter and TikTok and added one for my newsletter instead.

Customize the calendar according to your needs. For instance, delete the rows you don't need if you aren't active on all platforms
Customize the calendar according for your needs. For instance, delete the rows you don’t need if you aren’t active on all platforms

6. Determine on what days you’d like to publish content

Next up, you need to determine on what days you’d like to publish content. As you probably know, consistency is key on pretty much any platform. So, you should be publishing something at least once per week.

I decided to publish one blog post per week, one video per week (which is basically repurposing my blog post) and to post about 3 times per week on Instagram.

I’ve decided that I currently want to upload one video on Tuesday, one blog post on Wednesday and upload content on IG on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and sometimes on Sunday).

It’s important to first determine on which days you want to upload. This way you can calculate backwards to figure out when you need to get started to always upload on time.

There are always 2 columns per platform: one is for content upload and one is for content preparation. The only exception is Pinterest. Because if you’re using Pinterest, you hopefully just create and batch your content with Tailwind once a week or even less. So, there isn’t really much to prepare.

Determine on what days you'd like to upload your content. Then, add that into the first column for each platform.
Determine on what days you’d like to upload your content. Then, add that into the first column for each platform.

Of course, it’s not always perfect. For instance, this article took me longer to finish than I expected. That’s why the Youtube video got pushed back and the article comes first.

7. Figure out what steps are required for each piece of content

Now that you know on which days you want to upload your content, it’s time to figure out what steps are required to create each piece of content.

For instance, for a blog post I first create an outline, then I write the article and then I edit and publish it (check out my article on how to write blog posts faster). I like to do each step on different days because I get more ideas if I have breaks in between. So, I usually create the outline on Sunday, then I write the article on Monday and edit and publish it on Tuesday.

For videos the steps are a bit different. Since I’m basically repurposing my article, this serves as my outline. So, I need to film the video (Monday), then I immediately do a rough cut (Monday), then I edit and upload it (Tuesday) on YouTube.

how to create a content calendar in google sheets
Figure out what kind of steps are necessary to create one piece of content. Then, write each step under the appropriate day

8. Tick off each piece of content once it’s done

Okay, by now your calendar is starting to fill up and you’re getting some tasks done. This is what the tick boxes are for.

There’s one box after each day for each kind of content. Once you’re done with a step, you can tick it off. This always gives you a great overview of where you’re currently standing.

how to create a content calendar in google sheets
By now, I’ve written the article, I’ve edited and published it. So, I can tick off all these boxes. Plus, I’ve also published the first IG post for the week, so that’s ticked off as well.

Optional: Share it with your team

If you’re working with a team, I’d recommend to use a project management tool, like Asana. This will give you much more options to customize and assign task to members of your team.

However, you can also use this content calendar with your team, especially if you just want to have an overview of what’s going on. If you want your team to be able to work on it too, here’s how you can share it:

Click on the share button on the top right corner, then type in your teammate’s email address and that’s it!

content calendar
Click the share button on the top right corner…
content calendar template 2021
Type in your teammate’s email address and click done

Conclusion

Alright, so that’s how you can create a content calendar in Google Sheets. Or more precisely, how you can use my free content calendar template for 2021!

As you can see, it’s pretty easy with the template. You just need to figure out on what days you want to publish and what steps are required for each piece of content. Then it’s just a matter of filling it in the template and getting to work!

If you haven’t downloaded the template, yet, definitely do that now! This will save you a ton of time and overwhelm (leave that to me ;)). So, you can start planning right away!

free content calendar 2021
Download my free content calendar template 2021