By the end of this article 'How to create a Content Calendar', you will understand, what exactly is a social media content calendar, in a position to create and manage a content calendar too.
I have also included a link to my Social Media Content Calendar, in which I have chalked out 365 Days of Content Ideas. Grab a copy of my content calendar.
And as always, for any one-on-one consulting and assistance, you may mail me at email@example.com
Wondering what to write? Gazing at a blank screen and a blinking cursor? Well, guess what, we’ve struck a common chord between us. 😉
Creating content can really be overwhelming. What topic do we write on? How many words should be written? Yes, it can be confusing. And more so when you have a deadline to meet.
If you are in the digital space or online marketing and trying to build a brand, it becomes imperative that you engage with your audience.
Building a long-term relationship with your audience is key to the success of your brand.
And what better way to engage with your audience than by providing content that is of value, assistance, authentic, and engaging.
And in addition to coming out with content, the secret of engaging with your audience is, drum roll please, consistency. Guess this holds good if you are in the online space or the offline space.
The key to succeeding in any business is Consistency.
It really doesn’t matter if you’re drowned in work or have other commitments. When you’ve decided to build a brand, and engage with your customers and audience, you have to be delivering every single day.
Your audience is expecting to hear from you. They are expecting content from your end. You’ve built that expectation into them. And come what may, it has to be delivered.
Now, before we get into the different types of content and how to exactly build a content calendar, the best time to promote your content, and more, let’s get into, yes the basics.
What is a Content Calendar?
Well, a Content Calendar is… a Calendar! 😉
It’s a well prepared, thoughtfully created schedule of the various types of content that you will be publishing online on various platforms on a daily basis. Cool?
Your content can be your blogs, social media posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. And you bring together and schedule your content strategically to grow your business.
‘Content is King’ – Bill Gates
And content marketing is huge. It’s what makes or breaks a business.
And we all know that this whole content marketing thing takes a lot of time. So, why not use the content we have in various forms to garner a lot of engagement, traffic, and yes, leads, and sales.
A content calendar allows you just that. You can plan well in advance every piece of content and publish it across your various platforms, be it your website or your social media channels.
A content calendar has to be the foundation of your online content marketing.
Why is Content Calendar important?
If I had to sum it all up, it’s to be Consistent. Simple!
It’s one thing to create a content calendar. Following it to the tee is another thing altogether.
You may have created an awesome content calendar. You may have given it time, put in a lot of thought into it, and finally came out with an awesome content calendar. But, if you do not have the focus to follow it consistently, well, the entire purpose behind creating a content calendar is gone.
Remember, you are building a brand. You have an audience looking forward to hearing from you. Be it an audience of just one or a hundred, they expect to hear from you. Even if you were to come out with a single blog content once a week, let’s say on a Wednesday, then stick to it and come out with an epic blog on Wednesday. Once you have delivered this blog week after week, month after month, your audience will look forward to your blog every Wednesday.
In addition to being consistent, here are a few more reasons why a content calendar is important.
6 Reasons Why a Content Calendar is Important
As mentioned, a content calendar allows you to plan out well in advance.
Having said that, a content calendar can only do so much. You must take action.
A content calendar allows you to be accountable. Without being overwhelmed on a daily basis as to what has to be posted, once you have created a calendar, you are clear and focused as to what has to go out on a daily basis.
Follow it to the tee!
Once you have created a content calendar, it is easy to delegate work, if you do not have the bandwidth to do it all.
Let’s say, you are more a writer and not a designer. You come up with great blog content. But, you need help in creating images or infographics.
Or it could be the other way around. You are good at designing but would like to outsource the writing.
In such cases, it is easier to share your content calendar with outside partners or freelancers. Your partners or freelancers can follow your content calendar and work in sync with you to deliver the content, as per your schedule.
3. The Bigger Picture
When you have created your content calendar, you get a clear picture of the content that has to go out over the course of a week or a month, or even a year.
It allows you to play around with the existing content, space is out so that it doesn’t look repetitive, create, and re-use content in various forms.
For example, a blog written out on a particular day can be turned into a podcast for another day and vice versa.
4. Saves time
How many times have you spent hours together, if not days, wondering what content has to be posted?
And then procrastinated on building your platforms, be it your blog or social media.
By planning in advance and building your content calendar, you have taken the first important step of being organized.
And with the help of some scheduling tools, which we will cover in this article, you will be able to schedule your posts weeks in advance. And trust me, this is a huge time saver.
As mentioned initially, creating a content calendar and if followed to the tee, builds consistency.
And with consistency, you build a loyal audience.
And with the audience, you build credibility in the market and improve on your engagement and authority in the market.
Consistency is the key!
6. Plan holidays & events
Apart from planning out content for your business, another way to engage with your audience is to wish them on holidays and events.
For example, greetings for the new year, world environment day, no-tobacco day, among many more.
You can get a list of all the important days and events happening all through the year and incorporate them too in your calendar.
It’s a great way to engage with your audience, in addition to your business-related posts & articles.
Free And Paid Tools to Create a Content Calendar
Creating a content calendar from scratch can seem so much more complicated than it actually is. The entire purpose of creating a content calendar is to simplify the entire content marketing process.
You can start off creating a content calendar by using free tools, such as Google Sheets or MS Excel. And as you get the hang of it and build your team, you could invest in paid tools.
While there are a number of tools out there in the market, here are some options you can use,
1) Google Sheets (the most popular option and free)
2) Microsoft Excel
3) Google Calendar (ideal if you work solo)
4) Coschedule (free trial period available. Highly Recommended)
Ok, so with these being said, let’s go ahead and get into the actual process of how to create a content calendar.
How To Create A Content Calendar?
I would like to simplify the process of creating a content calendar. Hence, I shall break it into my 3-step formula.
Step 1: Clearly define your Goals
How many times have you made use of your social media platforms just before a launch? Be it a product or service that you are launching. What if you had planned this well in advance and started teasers for the same.
For e.g., if you were launching a course on Digital Media. (This is merely an example and can be applied for any industry) Start off your campaign a month in advance. And do not get me wrong here. By kick-starting a campaign, I do not mean, create a landing page or a ‘coming soon’ page and collect leads. While those can happen over the 3rd or 4th week, you can start off by providing free content, or tit-bits of your course.
Over the course of 3 weeks of providing valuable content, be it blog articles, videos, infographics, assignments, quizzes, etc., you’ve built in the interest in your audience and more importantly, proved your authority in this particular niche.
So, my goals for that particular month would go as follows,
Week 1: What is digital marketing? Industry sentiments for digital marketing, The trends for the industry, is digital marketing worth it, potential earnings for a digital marketer
Week 2: Broad overview of the topics to be covered under digital marketing. Cover basics of WordPress, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Writing, Email Marketing, etc.
Week 3: Offer one module of the actual course free of cost. For e.g., how to build a website using WordPress.
Week 4: End week 4 with a mention of the detailed course and price benefits (offers).
Now, this all goes down to planning well in advance.
Part of creating your content calendar, identify your long term goals. You then work backward or rather reverse-engineer and break it into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.
And once you are clear of your goals, you can plan out the content that goes out.
Step 2: Create Categories
Now that you have set your goals, it’s all about the type of content you must post. And trust me, it really helps to categories this content.
Again, I can share with you what works for me. The content calendar that works for me, may not necessarily work for you. It is finally a personal choice.
But the bottom line is, whatever you do decide on as your content calendar, stick to it, and be consistent.
Some of my content categories are as follows,
- Motivation, Quote
- Quizzes, Contest, Giveaways
- Industry Facts
- Client Story
- Email List (Newsletters)
- Discussion forums
- Production Promotion – Hard
- Production Promotion – Soft
And the type of content can be,
- Blog articles
- Images (Single, Carousel)
Now, how I go about creating content is simple.
First, I create an epic article. An epic article for me is any blog article that is well researched, has a lot of industry facts, surveys, etc., and typically more than 2500 words.
In addition to creating this article, I go ahead and have this optimized as well. End of the day, I would like the article to show up in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Once I create my epic article, I move on to my second step. I pull out pieces of content from my epic article and create either an excerpt or maybe the top 7 or the best tools, etc.
As an example, for this particular blog article, I will create image posts on the “6 reasons why a content calendar is important” or “5 Social Media Scheduling Tools”, etc.
In addition to creating an image post (single or carousel), I could even create a podcast, a video, and infographics for the same article. So, the idea is to re-use and re-post the content that you have created.
One content can be used in multiple ways. And thereby, one blog article can help you with content resources for an entire week.
Here is a link to my Social Media Content Calendar that I created for myself. It’s a Social Media Content Calendar created using Google Sheets.
I hope this helps you get a fair idea of how to create a content calendar.
Step 3: The Right Time & Frequency to Post
Well, I can’t ignore this completely.
I have been and continue to be a firm believer in just having your content out there at any point in time. And as long as it is out there, it is fine. But studies and surveys show that there is a direct proportion in the traffic, likes and shares a post gets if posted at an opportune time.
Again, as mentioned earlier. What works for one business, may not necessarily work for another business. Initially, it is all trial and error.
It’s but obvious that the best time to post is when your audience is online. And figuring this out does take time. Especially if you are starting out. You do not have any existing posts to analyze and get the audience report from.
And hence, as a thumb rule, you could make use of the following,
- Website/ Blog: 1 – 2 times per week
- Facebook pages: 1 – 2 posts per day
- Twitter: 5 – 10 times per day
- Instagram pages: 1 – 3 times per day
- Instagram stories: 2 – 5 times per day
- Youtube: 1 to 2 times per week
- Pinterest: 3 – 20 times per day
- Linkedin: 1 – 2 times per week
What's the Best Time to Post on Social Media?
Best times to post on Linkedin
Free Download: 100 Social Media Post Ideas
5 Tips on Building And Engaging With Your Audience
# 1: Follow the 80/20 rule
80% helpful tips / 20% business promotion. The key is to offer value. As you keep offering value and helping people, your credibility and engagement increases.
# 2: Be visual
Try to be more visual. Create more images and infographics. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared than any other type of content. Use free tools such as Canva (highly recommended), to create images for your posts. And, remember to add your logo and website URL. Good practices to follow.
# 3: Look at other popular brands for inspiration
Look at what other brands are doing. It could be your competitors or a popular brand in a completely different niche. While you shouldn’t be copying, understand their good practices. And more so, their mistakes. Better them and create your own content plan.
# 4: Create, Analyze, Recreate & Expand
Identify the posts that are doing very well for you. Figure out what’s working in those posts. And recreate similar posts. Note the time and day you posted it as well.
# 5: Engage on Social Media
Follow others and engage with their posts. Comment and share their posts as well. Reply to queries and issues. Build your authority.
To wrap this article up, here is a list of 5 tools to help you schedule your social media posts. Some of these have a free limited plan, while the others are paid, though they have a limited trial period offer.
Scheduling tools are great to plan out well in advance when you would like your posts to reflect on the various social media platforms.
5 Social Media Scheduling Tools
So, there you go. How difficult was it to create a social media content calendar? Easier than you initially thought, right!
Please do share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
Also, do let me know if you have created your own social media content calendar or you managed to pick up the content calendar I created for you!