If you’re trying to organise your social media posts but are struggling to gain momentum, or perhaps struggling to remember to create social media posts from your blogs, or blog posts from some of the awesome social media content that you create then a content calendar could really help you solve a lot of those problems.
A content calendar can be as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it because it is only a tool to keep you organised.
A content calendar an be an Excel document, a Word document, an Evernote file, an iPhone Notes file – anything that you can write a date and a title on.
I like to keep mine simple. It’s an Excel file with five headings across the top: date, title, keywords, social media, and, notes/links.
Using this document, I can see at a glance, what topics I’ve covered lately, what I haven’t and what keywords have been a bit neglected. I can also see what events are coming up and what I need to prepare for. This is helpful in ensuring that I regularly post content that highlights all my services and capabilities.
Why a calendar?
So, why are you planning on a calendar instead of a list? Well, a calendar lets you plan content in advance. You can spend a couple of days every month hammering out blog posts for the month. You can write your blog posts early and set them to publish at a pre-determined time and date, thanks to your content calendar. You can also coordinate your blog posts to publish at the same time you’ve scheduled your social media to publish, making it all a seamless delivery of information to your audience.
You can also include major events for the rest of the year, such as industry awards, and ensure you have left a window for timely posts that can be created around those events.
A content calendar will help you create a process to re-purpose content. For example, if I write an article for the REIQ Journal magazine, it will be used as a blog post a couple of weeks after the magazine comes out, then it will be used as a social media post and then it will be included as part of our fortnightly email newsletter. Because of a clear process that is mapped out in our content calendar, I can save myself the time and effort of creating three additional pieces of content by re-purposing the material I’ve already written. Each communications channel has a different audience and this way every audience receives each piece of content. It allows me to be more efficient and very organised.
Templates vs customised calendar
It’s really up to you whether you create one from scratch or download a template. It’s taken me a while, perhaps a year, of tinkering around and finding out what works for me. My content calendar at work is much more complicated than the one I use for my own blogging and social media channels associated with FelicityMoore.com.au because at work we have many more audiences, many more products and services, and many more authors.
Hootsuite is a great social media scheduling tool. This link has a simple template you can download to get you started on your own template journey and a really great article about scheduling social media content.
Measure and monitor
If you really want to get fancy with your calendar you can include a section for monitoring engagement metrics, such as clicks, views, reads, etc. This will help you see, at a glance, which blog post titles got the most clicks, which video content got the most views and which social media posts drove the most traffic. This is the next step for my content calendar.
I hope this quick guide has helped you understand the purpose of a content calendar and given you some ideas about starting your own. Let me know in the comments section if you have any feedback.