How to Create a Content Calendar
These days, it’s a safe bet that any marketing plan is going to include lots of digital, including a blog and at least one social media site. Maintaining either and keeping them up-to-date with new, relevant content can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have a content calendar.
What Is a content calendar?
For a lot of people, hearing the term “content calendar” makes about as much sense as this chart:
It probably means something to someone, but it sure doesn’t mean anything to us. Except, bear with us, this could be a basic beginning of a 5-day content calendar.
Really! A content calendar is a document (or calendar or schedule or planning tool) that helps you keep on track with posting on your blog and social media sites on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to make sense to you and your team, and be something that you’re going to use on a regular basis.
Here is a more concrete example:
The calendar above shows an example of a content plan for a week, with posts going to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and two blog posts published on the organization’s website. The different platforms are color-coded for easy readability, and there is a clear plan for what needs to happen on each day.
Why are content calendars important?
Have you ever gotten so busy with other work that you ran out of time for visiting a social media site and content for your organization just didn’t get put out, even though you had intended to post? Have you ever sat down to blog and realized you had no creative ideas for a post, so you just decided to skip it?
Keeping up with social media and your blog, and the high rate of posting required to stay on the top of feeds (and minds) can be overwhelming (to say the least!). If you don’t plan and schedule out your posts ahead of time, it’s even harder, because you have to make time to do in real time, interspersed through it through the day, rather than in focused blocks of time.
Having a content calendar solves all of that – it makes achieving your marketing goals realistic and enjoyable!
Our Favorite Content Planning Tools
Though you can create a content plan with something as simple as a pen and paper, there are lots more “high tech” planning and scheduling tools that will make your life easier. Some cost money, and are almost always, hands down, worth the investment.
Here is a list of content calendar/planning/scheduling tools you might want to check out:
*Some require WordPress(.org).
What We Use
We get asked all the time what we use, and we’re happy to share that information, with the note that it may or may not work best for you.
Currently, we plan and calendar all blog posts that we write for ourselves and clients in Basecamp, our project management software. Most email marketing we do is sent through MailChimp, including this one! We use Buffer for social media scheduling, and we have a proprietary reports dashboard that we use internally and for clients, to measure success.
Content Creation Inspiration
Feeling stuck? Here are some ideas for getting your creative juices flowing:
- Think of each month or week as having a theme, then plan posts that follow the theme.
- Look up social media or hashtag holidays and plan to jump on the bandwagon with related content.
- Plan specific days of the week for different content types. This could follow a theme, like “Motivation Monday” or “Where We Work Wednesday,” and cross-media types, or it could be media-specific (always posting a Facebook Live video every Friday).
- Include “curated” content, or content made by someone other than you or your team. Resharing interesting and relevant content from across the web can help to build your brand as a larger resource people turn to.
- Don’t be afraid to re-share content across platforms or throughout time. Resharing older, timeless or “evergreen” content keeps it alive and introduces it to new followers who might not have seen it the first time.
- Follow your competitors – maybe they’re doing something that you could be too!
- Partner with other organizations or influencers in your space and allow them to “take-over” your social media account or blog.
Need help fulfilling your content plan? Want us to plan and execute so you don’t have to think about a thing? Get in touch with us – we’d be happy to help you create a top-notch content strategy.