What is a CONTENT CALENDAR and why do you need one?
Here’s the deal – you “think” you’ll make time to share content. And maybe in the beginning, you actually will. But it will be short lived. Life will get in the way and without a STRATEGY behind what you’re doing, it will fall short.
You’re excited about marketing your business online and you want to hit the ground running – which is great! But laying the foundation now will help you to stay organized and on track with your goals in the future.
There are lots of FREE TOOLS to help you build your calendar. I use TRELLO for myself and my clients. It’s super easy and it’s a place where we can share ideas, store content assets for future posts, and plan out the calendar dates for content to be shared in the upcoming months. It can actually be used as a content calendar system. You can choose whatever software works for you, just find something you will actually use. You could use Google for calendar and sheets, a spreadsheet, or pen and paper or other software. I like Trello, because it lets you keep everything in one place. If you need more help to put your system in place, or to manage it on a monthly basis, Let’s Chat.
So think of the calendar system as your “bank account” for all of your content ideas (deposits) you will draw upon when needed.
Your goal will be to continue to update the calendar system on an ongoing basis so it’s never overdrawn. When you feel like you are out of ideas, that’s when you’ll start to feel overwhelmed and ultimately you won’t share content and you’ll lose traction with your audience. Managing your calendar system ahead of time helps to avoid those pitfalls and it ensures you have a strategy in place.
Your content calendar system will have two parts: your “idea bank” + the actual calendar.
STEP ONE: START BY FILLING YOUR IDEA BANK.
This can be anything from ideas you have in your mind that you put down on paper, inspirational quotes you find, new blog posts you create, branded media you already have or other articles you find valuable as a compliment to what you offer.
FILL YOUR IDEA BANK. Get everything in there right now you can think of. Then moving forward, every time you read an article, listen to a podcast or watch a video that may be worthy of sharing to your audience: save the link in your idea bank.
Every time you write a new blog post: save the link in your idea bank.
Have great content on your website already? Save the links in your idea bank.
Every time you have a new idea: put it in the bank!
Get mindful about the content you will be sharing.
TWO: MAKE A LIST OF YOUR SOCIAL CHANNELS.
Think about which channels you will be publishing to and how often you plan to share content to each channel. You may opt to “cross post” to save time, but I would strongly encourage you to get more creative than that. Use your calendar as inspiration for a specific “theme” on a given day and modify the content to better suit each channel.
Let’s say you’re in health and wellness, and the “theme” for the day is #MotivationMonday:
You’ve decided you want to share content about the protein shakes you offer. So maybe on your Facebook Business Page, you write up a little mini article about how protein shakes can benefit your audience (not “selling” them on your products but instead, sharing the benefits).
Then on Instagram, you share a little video of yourself showing how easy it is to make a shake.
Then in your Facebook Group, you share a photo along with the recipe for your shake and ask if anyone has any favorite recipes they could also share.
Ok, you see where I’m going with this, right…?
Get more creative and meet your audience where they are. A post that does well on Facebook Page or Group may not translate to Instagram – even though you “think” you’re reaching more people. VALUE is what will set you apart from the rest.
THREE: BUILD YOUR CALENDAR.
You can build out as many months in advance as you like, but having a least have one month in advance planned out has proven most effective.
Plug in important dates: holidays or other key dates, upcoming promotions or events.
Plug in hashtags relevant to specific days, like #SundayFunday – whatever will work to tie content into your branding and the value you are offering.
Plug in days you will update your website and your blog, if you have one.
THEN, go to each date and put ideas from your idea bank of the actual content you will share for that day.
For example, if I have an event scheduled on the 15th, then I’ll plug in promotional posts 1-2 weeks prior along with the content on the 15th for the actual event. Does that make sense?
Streamlining everything you can as much as possible will help you to stay focused and save you time in the long run. So your content calendar system will be the place to store all of your content assets along with prompts for content you will share on each specific date. We actually use a post scheduler to write out the specific content to be posted to each channel on the date and time selected. Here are 3 Post Schedulers Anyone Can Use.
For more tips like this, join my FREE Facebook Group where I share really cool stuff to help small businesses, solopreneurs and network marketers level up their social media game.
Launching a New Website? Here’s What You Should Do First. | Pages vs. Groups: What you need to Know | Why You Need a Facebook Business Page | 7 Essential Tips for Creating the Best Facebook Business Pages | How to Build a Community around Your Brand | Choosing the Right Name for Your Facebook Group | Set up Your New Facebook Group in 3 Easy Steps | You Set up Your Group – Now What? | Create Content Your Audience will Love | How to Set up a Content Calendar that Converts
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” –Benjamin Franklin