How to Create a Content Calendar
Whether you’re new to social media marketing or you’ve been chugging along on that marketing train for years, a content calendar can be your salvation from stress and social burnout. Ask any business owner who has a strong social media presence—it takes constant effort to create, curate, and post the kind of content your audience needs and wants. A social media calendar can better direct your efforts and help you develop new ways to reach your audience with the content they crave.
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar or social media calendar is a document or series of documents that provide direction and details about social media posts, blog posts, videos, and other content updates for the month, quarter, and year. The plan can include overall marketing content, detailed outlines for posts and videos, and even complete posts for the year. They outline the tasks for a social media coordinator or a team, so everyone knows what content is going out and when. Plus, it defines the content that needs created, such as blog posts and how-to videos.
You can download templates for social media calendars and social media editorial calendars online. Some of the most commonly available templates include Google docs, Excel spreadsheets, and social media tool planners.
Benefits of Content Calendars
Having an annual content plan eases the workload of social media while optimizing the content for your seasonal marketing strategies. The benefits include:
- Alignment with overall marketing and advertising strategies
- Clear and consistent content creation plans
- Enhanced repurposing of existing content
- Increasing opportunities for SEO
- Improved curation of external content
- Facilitating automated scheduling
- Saving time on posting to social media every day
- Refined and simplified performance analysis and tracking
What to Include in a Content Calendar
A social media calendar can include content ideas and themes tied to certain dates and holidays as well as when and where you want to post your content.
For example, let’s say a restaurant has a goal to enhance visibility in January, when customers tend to hunker down for winter. Their plan for the month could include posting several times a week about healthy dishes for those trying to watch their diet in the new year. Their plan could include photos of the dishes and written content in a spreadsheet that can be uploaded into a social media marketing tool to save time. Each month can have a theme, with emphasis on making reservations for dining holidays, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and so on.
For some businesses, trade shows have been made more accessible through social media videos. A company that wants to improve their reach and awareness might consider tradeshow season as a prime opportunity for social media, video, and blog content. There’s no question that having a plan well in advance of any tradeshows or other company events will reduce social media stress and create a more cohesive and regular schedule.
Tips for Using a Content Calendar
Creating a social media plan takes time and thought, but that time is well spent, as you will likely review and analyze past performance of videos, photo posts, and blog posts so you can continually improve your content. You can plan your social media for the week, month, and year around the most effective social platforms.
Monthly content planning is easier for most business owners to grasp and execute. However, a quarterly or annual plan helps identify seasonal topics over the course of the year. The time taken to plan social content in advance eases decision-making and allows for greater flexibility, because your mind will be freed from the daily need to come up with posts at the last minute.
The content calendar will make it a cinch to create content in advance. With a solid plan, you can capture photos and raw video well in advance of posting, then set aside time to curate, edit, and schedule content. Even if you need to create content in the moment, such as from the tradeshow floor, you will know in advance what day you need to make a video or finish a blog post. In short, your content calendar becomes a to-do list, but one that you can manage in advance and assign tasks to others.
Finally, as you’re reviewing your social media performance, the content calendar can be compared to results, allowing you to see the best types of content for your audience. Take that information and turn it into future social media and SEO gold for your content calendar.
For additional social media tips, see our previous blog post to learn more.
No time to make a plan let alone execute it? Contact Metro Studios to learn more about our social media marketing services, which are designed to help time-crunched entrepreneurs and businesses get the word out to their social followers.