When it comes to content marketing, a calendar is essential—but how often should you stick to it, and when should you stray?

There are certain events in business that are predictable and, as such, ideal for a content calendar. For example, accounting firms know that RRSP deadlines, income tax filing deadlines and tax refunds are going occur year-in, year-out. Mark them down, write the articles in advance, schedule them into your blogging software and you’re set.

Other topics may not be quite as predictable in that you don’t know exactly when they’re going to occur but, chances are, they’re going to happen at some point within the next calendar year. Sticking with the accounting theme, this would be something like “How to pass an audit with flying colours” or “Accounting best practices for small businesses”. These articles can be pre-written and socked away in your content library until a time when a news event deems them timely, or you’re merely stuck for a blog post.

However, along with your pre-scheduled posts and pre-written stockpile, it’s important to mix in some fresh, timely content as well. Monitoring the news for pertinent pegs—such as recent studies, reports or industry-related headlines—not only adds a bit of life to your content marketing strategy, but also allows you to keep your content marketing current.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry also lets you identify potential problems or conflicts with your pre-scheduled materials. While a content calendar is a helpful tool to keep your content market practices on track, you shouldn’t be afraid to stray from it should the need arise.