What to Look for in a Content Planning Tool

If you’ve arrived here, we’ll assume your content team is among the multitude recognizing a need for better content planning structure. Results from our recent survey showed nearly two out of three respondents (59%) rating their content planning as only “somewhat effective.”

Sounds more than somewhat problematic.

To alleviate this pain, a number of content planning tools have emerged over the years. Here at DivvyHQ, we’ve developed a platform that we feel is damn good, but we also acknowledge – and accept as part of our commitment to simplicity – that our solution shouldn’t be the first choice for every content production scenario.

In line with our no-BS approach to helping you evaluate solutions and make the right choice, today we’ll go over key features and capabilities of content planning tools that suit the needs of various teams and organizations.

Simple Interface Conducive to Collaboration

If team adoption is the expectation, it’s critical that any content planning tool be accessible, easy to use, and — above all — built for seamless collaboration. New software and technologies are never worthwhile investments if they aren’t resolutely used. Clunky mechanics and frustrating user experiences can put a damper on any adoption plan, no matter how well-conceived.

You shouldn’t need to uproot and transform your existing workflow then shoehorn it into a new system. Look for a solution that fits neatly with the way your team already works, and adds efficiency by streamlining your most tedious tasks, whatever those may be for you.

When possible, it’s always advisable to take advantage of a hands-on trial and let your most actively involved team members try out the product to make sure it’s both useful and usable for them. Notifications, shared resources, and real-time updates are musts in today’s fast-paced content marketing environment.

Flexible and User-friendly Content Calendar

As we’ve said in the past, a content calendar should be the backbone of your marketing operation. At a time when too many teams are disconnected and misaligned, a centrally visible calendar provides unified clarity into pipeline and strategic direction.

Pretty much any content planning software will include a calendar, but calendars are hardly the same. As you evaluate various options, I recommend making sure these boxes are checked:

Is it convenient? The whole point of upgrading from spreadsheets and grids is to make your life easier. Look for drag-and-drop functionality, content categorization, and filters to find what you need quickly.

Is it informative? By and large, today’s content teams can benefit greatly from more transparent insight into strategy. Does this calendar make it easy to set and see the purpose of each piece?

Is it iterative? Content creation is a step-by-step, yet often nonlinear process that includes multiple people. Does this calendar allow us to smoothly develop a piece from idea to draft to finished product? Can editors easily track revisions as they happen?

Is it nimble? Since any effective content calendar doubles as an editorial calendar, it’s important to have the right mix of long-term structure and malleability to address timely matters as they arise.

Can you create multiple shared calendars to manage a myriad of departments, teams and their unique initiatives? For high-production teams, trying to cram all of your content across channels and campaigns into one calendar quickly turns cumbersome. You’ll want the ability to create several calendars that you can affix to various initiatives and cycle through with ease.

Substantiation from Satisfied Customers

Naturally, you’ll want to validate these claims through peer reviews and user assessments. Peruse the company’s website for testimonials and case studies, keeping an eye out for authenticity and specificity. Check third-party sources and social media mentions. Seek out examples of industry and user recognition.

The Right Scale for Your Team Size and Makeup

Content teams come in all shapes and sizes. Different solutions are better suited for different setups. For example, although we’re confident that DivvyHQ can help almost any content marketing unit (our Lite Plan offers a helpful low-cost option for smaller groups with lesser complexity) the platform was really designed for scalability to meet the needs of large, decentralized, high-production content teams.

If you work with a small team (say, two to four teammates) and produce a relatively modest volume of content (say, one post per week for one blog), we’d love it if you tried out Divvy but honestly you might be just as well going with a less robust planning solution.

Ready to Choose Your Content Planning Tool?

Any time a company brings on a new platform or tool and integrates it deeply into their daily workflows, it’s a big commitment. With plenty of options at your disposal, it’s important to make sure you’re identifying the best choice for your organization.

We could go on about the intricacies and feature sets that differentiate our solution from others, but to truly make sure you find the right content planning tool for your organization, it’s imperative to judge each option against the four criteria noted above.

To find out for yourself how DivvyHQ rates on these fronts, set up your team with a free two-week trial to experience our sleek interface, the world’s best content calendar, critically acclaimed capabilities, and unsurpassed scalability.