Your content calendar is a collection of resources that allows you to more quickly and easily plan your social media content. The primary content calendar is a dated list (or calendar) of future posts to your social media networks. The other resources that will make your job easier, that you can do in advance and then update periodically, include a content calendar template to make sure you’re posting a good mix of content, and a list of events, holidays, and post ideas that haven’t been scheduled yet. This will be your source of future posts, making it easier to see what’s coming up, to post timelier and more relevant posts.
Are you wondering why you should want a content calendar? According to Hootsuite, there are 3 main reasons to use a content calendar:
- Consistency – Only about 20% to 1/3 of your posts should be promotional or lead generating content. The other 80% to 2/3 of your posts should be industry information and content generated by, or directly interacting with, your audience.
- More easily use the correct terminology – You don’t want to ask your Instagram followers to pin your tweet and using a separate calendar for each network you’re using can help make it easier to send unique wording to each network.
- Make it easier to track what’s working – Understanding what’s worked and what hasn’t can make all the difference online.
Before you can really use your content calendar, you want to learn as much as you can about your recent posts: what’s done well and what hasn’t, according you’re your success criteria (more on that later, it might be shares, clicks, conversions, etc.)
You also want to do a fresh social media audit. Make sure you have your usernames and passwords. Then, thinking critically, really consider which social networks you’re on (are you really using them?), how often you’re posting, and what your goals for each social network are. These are the metrics which should define your success criteria.
There are really 3 parts to your content calendar: your planned content, your content calendar template, and a list of holidays and events by date, and future content ideas not already in your planned content. This will help you post relevant and timely content. Your content calendar will make it easier to plan your content.
The last item before begging to plan, is to decide how to manage your content calendar. Depending on how you share, some solutions might make more sense. For example, using IFTTT, you can set up a content calendar that automatically shares items you plan in Google Calendar. Other systems have you add your planned content directly to their systems. You can choose whether to use an all-electronic system or a paper-electronic hybrid system.
If you post 1x per day on Facebook, that’s 7 posts per week. Using Hootsuite’s math, we would want approximately 2 posts of promotional or lead generating content per week, and 5 posts of informative or user-generated content.
Use your content calendar template to plan out your content categories, including: your blog, customer stories, industry information, and whatever else resides at the intersection of your audience and your business.
Think about ways to engage your audience on each platform. Do you use hashtags? Consider what your competitors are doing. There are lots of ways to engage your audience online, so don’t get discouraged trying more than 1. If you keep tracking your results and applying what you learn, you can improve.
After thinking about content, might end up with a weekly content calendar template that looks something like this:
|Inspirational Quote from Industry Leader||Industry Information||Recent Product News||Customer Success Story||Product Special||Blog (Industry Information)||Customer Engagement Activity|
It’s okay to vary from your template! It’s just a guide and if you have something timelier and more relevant, you can post it instead or in addition to, your planned content. Memes die fast, the news cycle is quick, and planned content can only take you so far for so long (hello, vacation!). Planned content can also reduce the stress over social media, because if you’ve scheduled a month out, then you will be visible, even if you’re busy.
By establishing your content calendar and sticking to your schedule, you can make it easier to manage your social media. Click here for a calendar template and get started!
If you’re looking for more instruction, we’ll be holding a workshop on April 23, 2019 to dive deeper into planning your content calendar and making it work for you. Click here to save your seat.
Resources and Further Reading
- Tien, S. (September 24, 2018). How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-content-calendar/
- Dawley, S. (March 27, 2018). A List of Weird ‘Holidays’ to Celebrate on Social Media. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/weird-holidays-to-celebrate-on-social-media/
- Sailer, B. (December 13, 2018). The Best 2019 Content Calendar Template to Get Organized All Year. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://coschedule.com/blog/annual-content-calendar-template/
- Kolowich, L. (December 25, 2018). The Social Media Content Calendar Template Every Marketer Needs. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33415/The-Social-Media-Publishing-Schedule-Every-Marketer-Needs-Template.aspx
- com. (n.d.). Find Holidays. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://www.checkiday.com/