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When it comes to marketing, you’ve probably heard the term “content calendar” thrown around A LOT, but what is it really?
A content calendar is a great resource commonly used by digital marketing teams. It allows teams to plan and manage content across all company platforms over a specified period of time. Although fairly simple to create, content calendars have a reputation of being notoriously difficult to stick to.
I know that I personally struggled to figure out my own content calendar system. But, life is a lot easier now that I have a plan and am sticking to it! That said, they’re an incredibly useful resource to organize your content, marketing, and strategies all in one place.
Why You Need A Content Calendar
Although content calendars may have a reputation of being hard to stick to, having one and utilizing it can be extremely beneficial for your business and for your sanity. For one, it allows you to organize and plan your content well in advance of it’s publish date. This allows you to effectively plan your content strategy and always be ahead of the game. Another benefit of the content calendar is that as a business owner, you can at a glance see what’s going on, on your various media platforms at any given time.
Content calendars are especially necessary when you’re working with a partner or a team so that everyone knows the plan. It helps your team stay organized and also helps keep team members from going rogue and posting something not quite in line with your brand.
How To Get The Most Out Of A Content Calendar
An effective content calendar will save you time & energy. It also keeps you well organized & on track throughout your busy workday. But most importantly, it will keep your readers & audience engaged by preventing your content from stagnating — or getting repetitive or overly random.
Find a template you can use
While you can create a template yourself using a spreadsheet or perhaps even use Google Calendar, there are many ready-made templates that exist. Why reinvent the wheel if you can find one that works for you? I personally LOVE using Trello to plan everything out. It’s a fantastic way to take ideas from start to finish. I use the calendar power up to be able to see my week and month at a glance.
Start by identifying all your platforms
Be sure to include all of your platforms. A content calendar does not focus on social media exclusively. It includes all media platforms; social media, newsletters, blogs, e-books, and any other publications. You will want to include them all as this will allow you to see the complete picture as far as your marketing strategy goes.
Identify the time of day and frequency of posts
No two platforms are identical and should be treated as such. With that in mind, consider identifying the best times of day content should be distributed across each platform, as well as the frequency. While some platforms require one post a day to achieve brand goals, other platforms may require more or less content. This needs to be taken into account when creating your content calendar.
Diversify your content, avoid being repetitive
Avoid pushing out the same exact content in the same format across all platforms. This provides no incentive for your audience to follow you on multiple platforms. Mix it up. Diversity is key. You don’t want to become stagnant, nobody does.
Keep content on brand
When creating your content calendar it is important to stay true to your brand. The way in which your brand speaks, looks and feels should resonate within every piece of content you create. Consistency is key for great brands.
Use analytics to identify what type of posts perform best
Your content calendar isn’t just about creating and scheduling content for your brand. It’s also about analyzing what works and what doesn’t. Assess the analytics from your various platforms to get a greater understanding of what content performs well with your audience and what doesn’t. Make changes to reflect your findings when planning your content.
Start filling in your content
You’ve created the bones of your calendar, analyzed your content and brainstormed. Now it’s time to fill in the gaps with all the wonderful content you’ve created.
Schedule posts via a scheduling app
You can automate your content calendar by using a scheduling tool. Once all of your posts for the specified time frame has been confirmed you can use a tool like Later, Tailwind, Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule the content to post. We use Later to schedule our posts on Instagram and Facebook and really like it. This allows you more time daily to dedicate to other tasks. It also ensures that posts aren’t forgotten or posted late.
If you want to learn more about content planning, check out this blog post for the Steps for Content Planning..