Asana is our go-to management tool for all aspects of our business. We use it for organising our work with clients, including creating and maintaining a content calendar for each business for whom we supply blogs and social media content. We also use it to organise our own editorial strategy too! This is why we have put together this guide to creating a content calendar in Asana. If you are new to Asana, there are three pricing options. They are the free Basic plan, as well as the Premium and Business tiers. The great news is that, if you are just starting up, you can find much of the functionality you need on the free version. Whatever subscription level you choose, you will be able to create a content calendar using this guide. Keep reading to find out more.
Why Have a Content Calendar?
There are many benefits to having a content calendar. They include:
- Helping you post regularly – For blogs, this means that your websites are more attractive to search engines, as they have more content to index. With social media, posting regularly keeps followers engaged and helps to build your accounts more quickly.
- Keeping you relevant – When you write a blog or create a social post on the hoof, there is a tendency to just jot anything down to fill the space. If you have a content plan, you can create a post that fits in with your strategy and targets the right audience.
- Saving you time – Rather than taking half an hour to think of a blog topic before you start writing, you can pick from the ideas that you have already listed and scheduled in your content calendar.
Content calendars are great tools for helping with time management. By jotting down ideas as they come to you and setting aside time each week or month to shape those suggestions into great post concepts, you can ensure there is a constant and consistent flow of content running through your channels. For more tips on mastering your time, sign up for our free five-day email course. It provides advice that you can put into action straight away to help you save time and work smart.
Steps to Create a Content Calendar in Asana
1) Build Your Outline
Asana is pretty flexible and you have a few options available when you are looking to structure your content. You can:
- Use a pre-prepared content calendar template from Asana
- Import an existing content calendar spreadsheet into Asana
- Build your own editorial calendar layout from scratch.
For our calendars, we create sections entitled Ideas, Drafts, Review, Scheduled and Published. You can view these most easily using the List or Board views, and it gives you an overview of where each piece of content is in the workflow. Board Views:Your ideal workflow might work differently from ours, but the concept of moving the content through a process is pretty much the same however you choose to categorise the journey of your posts.
2) Populate Your Calendar with ideas
For our editorial calendar, we add anything that we think of that might fit our goals and most importantly, the interests of our audience. This is a compilation of ideas found whilst browsing social, listening to podcasts, team suggestions, re-purposed content etc, inspiration can literally strike from anywhere. These are listed in the ideas section as a separate task with a clear title so is easy to grasp what the post idea is about. Once a month, when we get our head down, knuckle down and plan our content, we first look to see which ideas resonate with our goal and audience. You can make notes in the description when you add an idea, or you can create a specific template like we do for each piece of content. Within our blog post template (as an example) we set out the topic, aim and call-to-action that we will use in the post using the Description section as well as any supporting links, attachments etc, then we set subtasks to plot how we will turn the idea into a live post. For a blog, this would include:
- Research topic idea
- Create first draft
- Source stock/brand images
- Create social graphics
- Schedule on website
- Pin to Pinterest
- Post on LinkedIn articles
The paid plan of Asana allows you to create task templates saving you time and keeping things consistent.TIP for FREE USERS – Save time by creating your own task template for each type of content. Do this by creating a task in your calendar called ‘TEMPLATE FOR BLOG’, for example. In future, rather than building a new blog task from scratch, go to the template task, tap the three dots and click ‘Duplicate task’. Then you can edit it accordingly. Once an idea is approved and we know we want to work with it, we move it into the drafts section so we know it needs to be worked on.
3) Assign Tasks and Deadlines
If you work with a team, you can assign the subtasks to the relevant person and set their deadline to ensure that their contribution to the blog is completed on time. This will appear on their home screen under My Tasks, with the due date highlighted. You can set the publishing date for the main task too, this will appear in the Calendar view to help you visualise when your posts will go live. This allows you to ensure an even spread of content over time, avoid any clashes and prevent any quiet periods. Calendar view of scheduled content:TIP for paid plan – Use task dependencies to make sure the workflow happens in the correct order. These block subtasks until the previous step has been completed. From the subtask, you simply hit ‘Add dependencies’ and you can designate either which subtasks it is blocked by or which other subtasks it blocks.
4) Use Custom Fields
Custom fields are like tags for each task. They show up in your list, board and calendar views to let you easily spot relevant information about that task. We use custom tags to show the type of content it relates to (blog, social post, video, podcast, infographic etc.), the content stage it has reached (drafted, in review, ready to publish etc.), the topic (productivity, promotion, online marketing etc.) and, for our clients’ content calendars, whether or not they have approved it to go live. The fields you use for the type of content are great for helping make sure you have a good content mix ready for publication. What’s even better is you can colour code everything!
5) Move the Tasks Through the Workflow
As your team completes the different sections required for the post, you can move them through the different sections of the board accordingly (i.e ready for review, scheduled etc). This way, you know where you stand with meeting your deadlines and keeping the production of content flowing. TIP for paid users – You can create automated rules. For example:
- When our content writer has completed a draft, they would update the custom field status to ‘ready to review’ when this happens Asana automatically moves this to the board ‘in review’.
- When the content has been approved the relevant person would update the custom field to ‘ready to schedule’ allowing the content to be scheduled by our Virtual Assistant. Once marked as ‘scheduled’ Asana moves this task to the ‘scheduled board’.
Tips for Using a Content Calendar in Asana
- Use content pillars to help you generate ideas. These are the topics you most often talk about and on which you want to be seen as an authority. Maybe use a single pillar as a theme for all your posts in one month, with the posts from the next month all relating to another pillar. If you are holding a particular promotion one month, you might choose this as your theme for that month instead.
- Try to make your content timely and relevant to trends and events, but also generate evergreen ideas too. These are topics that can be used all year round and you can fit these in whenever you have a gap in your editorial calendar. Keep them safe in one place, ready to be plucked out when you need them.
- If you don’t have the time or skillset to dedicate to running a content calendar in Asana, you can outsource it to a virtual assistant. This is one of the many tasks we can take on to help you maximise the power of your content in order to drive more conversions.
Time to Sort Your Content Calendar in Asana
We hope this inspires you to produce a more streamlined and effective content calendar using this fantastic Asana. For weekly marketing & organising, tips, sign up to our mailing list today.