Why You Need a Cross-Functional Content Calendar

This story is part of Contently’s Accountable Content Series, a collection of articles, webinars, case studies, and events we’ve designed to help marketers deliver measurable brand impact and business outcomes with content. To see more content in this series, click here.

I lead a double life, but there’s a secret weapon that lets me get away with it.

At Contently, I’m both our director of content strategy—which means I oversee strategy work we do for hundreds of clients—and also the editor-in-chief of our internal publications, The Content Strategist, The Freelancer, and Contently Quarterly. I love both lives, and I stubbornly refuse to give either up. You’d have to pry either gig from my cold, dead fingers.

With that level of responsibility, you’d probably expect me to crash and burn by now. I’m not a smooth operator; disorganization is one of my core character traits, as anyone who takes a tour of the Contently office soon realizes. (“That’s where Joe sits—a family of sloths moved into his desk last year, but he claims it’s all part of his creative process.”) By all means I should be out on the street, offering to write listicles in exchange for a hot coffee.

But I haven’t, and it’s because one feature on our platform lets me live out my creative dreams: a cross-functional content calendar.

A cross-functional calendar sounds complicated, but it’s basically just an editorial calendar that allows you to simultaneously track different content-based projects. For me that includes:

  • The Content Strategist, our flagship content marketing blog.
  • The Freelancer, our blog for freelance creatives.
  • Contently Quarterly, our award-winning print magazine.
  • “Sales Enablement,” a publication on the Contently platform we use to create sales enablement content like one-sheets, decks, and video explainers.
  • “Enterprise Services,” a publication we use to manage all of our content strategy projects.

Listing all those things almost gave me a panic attack, but Contently’s content calendar makes managing it all extremely easy, while providing transparency to the rest of the company about everything we’re working on.

Below, you can see what my content calendar looks like. I can toggle projects on and off in the right rail and take stock of as many or as few projects as I need. I can also toggle on any client projects that need my attention, which makes it super easy to get a snapshot of what’s pressing and what I can deal with later.

Contently calendar

I’m not the only one in the industry with a full plate. Every month, I talk to dozens of marketers who are overwhelmed with the colossal challenge of launching a content operation. Maybe you’re tasked with leading a global content operation and manage dozens of publications in dozens of countries, like Coca-Cola’s Jay Moye. Or maybe you have a robust content operations with hundreds of users and myriad lines of business, like Chase. Whatever the situation, there’s a good chance that a technology platform that lets you easily access and organize everything you’re working would help immensely.

It’s the James Bond cyanide cigarette of marketing: innocuous at first glance, but deadly effective when you’re trying to live that double life and have it all.

Image by Getty

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