Today’s guest post is by Shanna Mallon.

Creating a formalized content schedule takes foresight, but it also makes coming up with regular posts much easier.

Should you have one? Would it make sense for you?

More and more organizations are using a formalized content plan in their marketing efforts, not just for their blog posts but also for their complete social media campaigns.

Why do they do this?

To help answer those questions, here’s a look at the pros and cons of using a content schedule.

We’ll start with the benefits!

Benefits of Using a Content Schedule

  • Consistent Posting. When you plan your posts ahead of time, this helps ensure new content goes out at regular intervals. Instead of scratching your head for topic ideas, the topics are laid out before you. Regular content dispersion is important because it means you avoid the typical ups and downs in traffic and audience that come from inconsistent posting. Through a content schedule, you spread out your content throughout the month, setting yourself up as a resource to be trusted.
  • Diverse Content. If you have to come up with a new topic every day, it won’t be long before your ideas start to sound repetitive. Whether you’re a real estate agency that leans towards posts about selling or a retail store that likes to post new products, not having a content schedule usually means you’re going to default to the same posting style every time. With a content schedule, on the other hand, you can predetermine how many posts will be about what, allowing you to prevent being predictable and boring.
  • Easier Teamwork. When you write a blog with more than one author, having a content schedule is key. With a content schedule, you have assignments to give to writers, not to mention the ability to assign those topics far in advance. Whether you’re working with in-house writers or outsourcing, planning post topics gives you a leg up in looking forward. Likewise, a content schedule makes it easier to budget time and costs for the future.
  • Improved SEO. Planning your posts is helpful in terms of SEO because you can think more strategically about keywords. Each month can target a specific market, with corresponding keywords in all your posts and social media activity for that month. Planning ahead makes this process more efficient and controlled.
  • Advertising Benefits. Should you want to work with advertisers on your site, it’s helpful to be able to tell them what content is coming up soon. When you can say, for example, that this month will feature a series on the business benefits of certain social media tools, you not only show yourself to be professional but also have an extra way to entice companies specializing in those topics.

Despite the many advantages drawing companies towards content schedules, keeping an editorial calendar is not without its downside.

Here are some of the biggest drawbacks of sticking with a content plan.

Drawbacks of Using a Content Schedule

  • Feeling Confined. Setting all your topics ahead of time can sometimes feel constricting. Rather than freeing up you and your writers to respond to current events and trends or to write about something that catches your attention, a content schedule can set you up to feel locked into the prescribed topics.
  • Can Seem Disingenuous. There’s nothing like having your scheduled post about enjoying fall weather go up just as a hurricane hits your community. With a content schedule of automated posts or tweets or updates, what you’re saying can sometimes come across as stale or canned because it’s written days or weeks before it gets posted.
  • Little Flexibility: The reality is that planning your blog content ahead of time can turn out to be counterproductive when your company’s goals change, roles shift, or strategies get reimagined. A content schedule gives you less flexibility to instantly adapt to changes as they come.
  • More Demanding. Here’s the reality about content schedules and writing teams: Everyone needs to be on board. If you keep the schedule but no one else does, you’re faced with the undesirable task of hounding writers for their finished pieces. Schedules are helpful only if they work!

Looking at the pros and cons of content schedules, what do you think? Do the benefits of consistency and diversity outweigh the drawbacks of feeling confined or disingenuous? Does your company use a content schedule—why or why not?

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Internet marketing agency. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.