How to Create a Simple and Effective Content Calendar in Google Sheets


With many content calendar software available, it can be difficult to choose one. Some are too complicated, some are out of your budget, and some give you a suite of tools you’ll never use. You might even be still trying to pick your favorite and need a solution in the meantime, one without a paywall or trial period.

Whatever the situation, you can create one that offers what you need, and nothing more, using a spreadsheet. Keep reading to learn how to create and use a content calendar in Google Sheets.

Determine which columns to use in your content calendar sheet

The purpose of your content calendar is to map out your posts, keeping all your work in one place. This helps you find everything later. Plus, it’s a great place to collaborate with your colleagues.

To get started, list your columns. This will help you describe your posts later, kind of like prompts to remind you of what you need and get you thinking.

For these, think about the common elements you need to create each piece of content, for example, text, images, and the date you want to post it. Additionally, you’ll need a way to identify the post, such as a title or description, take notes, and view its status.

Here are some other column ideas:

  • An account column to indicate where you want the post to go—Instagram, blog, website, etc.
  • Include multiple copy columns for different accounts, e.g., Instagram copy, Facebook copy, etc.
  • A link column for your long-form content drafts. It’s best to write them up in Google Docs or another word processor, summarizing them in your sheet.
  • A column of people to show who is working on the job.
  • A priority column to communicate urgency.

Once you know which columns you want to use, write them at the top of your sheet. No worries if you keep it simple at first, you can expand later if needed. It’s often the case that you’ll think of new ideas while you’re working.

To freeze the top row, select it and navigate to See, Freezeand choose 1 row. This way the column headers stay with you as you scroll.

Add a working status button to your content calendar sheet

You can create a dropdown menu in Sheets using Data validation. It helps maintain consistent communication, especially when working with others. This is handy when you want to view the status of a message. You can also use it for a people or priority column.

To do this:

  1. Select a cell in your Status column.
  2. Click on Data in the top menu.
  3. Picking out Data validation from the list.
  4. For Criteriause List of objects.
  5. In the field to the right, enter the words you want to include—separate them with a comma.
  6. Hit to safeguard.

Your list will appear once in the cell after saving. If you want to color code your statuses, keep it selected and add Conditional formatting.

To do this:

  1. Click on Format in the top menu.
  2. Picking out Conditional formatting from the list.
  3. In the sidebar, under Formatting Rulesclick on the drop-down menu below Format cells if…
  4. Select The text contains.
  5. Type the status in the field that appears below.
  6. Change background color or text color below Formatting Style.
  7. Hit Do.
  8. Repeat these steps with the other statuses.

When ready, copy the cell and select the column using its letter at the top. Before pasting, deselect the title cell by clicking it while holding CMD Where CTRL.

Later, you can use the sort function in Sheets to help you show all full statuses and hide them. You can also copy and paste them into an archive tab.

Include ideas and follow-up tabs in your content calendar sheet

If you want to map out ideas in your sheet while keeping it tidy, use the tabs at the bottom of your screen to create a separate space for your drafts. You don’t need a lot of columns here, but you’ll want to include a column to name or describe your post, write your idea, and include thoughts on the visuals.

You can also create a new tab to track your results. Here, the column headings will be the name or description of the post, the date, and the KPIs you use to measure success: clicks, interactions, views, conversions, etc.

Keeping track of how your posts are doing will help you identify patterns and see what types of content work best on which platform.

Tips for working in your content calendar sheet

Here are some tips to help you plan your content:

  • Block out time in your schedule and work in bulk. This way your posts are ready in advance instead of writing them and searching for images on the fly.
  • Put ideas right away, even if you don’t use them all, they might come in handy later.
  • Tracking will help you know which posts are performing best on which platforms and also identify what is not working, which will save you time later.
  • Keep it to a minimum. It’s easy to want to create a massive sheet with a column for everything, but try to think of it as a quick overview. What information do you need to see about your messages at a glance?

And some tips to help you format your sheet:

  • You can create a line break using choice + entry Where control + input.
  • You can adjust the height of your rows by clicking on them and selecting Resize Row—even though the wrapped text makes it large, resizing will tidy it up.
  • You can also adjust the height manually by clicking and dragging the line.
  • Setting your Text wrapping at Wrap will keep your sheet tidy.
  • You can use the Vertical alignment in the top menu if you want the text to appear in the center, top, or bottom of the cell.

Get creative with your content calendar in Google Sheets

Although there are many tools to choose from, you can customize one to suit your needs in Google Sheets. With the right columns, you’ll have all the prompts you need to describe your posts. Plus, you’ll have everything in one place.

Mapping your content doesn’t have to be complicated. It just starts with a little planning, and you can build from there.


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