Content Calendar’s Rock
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before but why bother to actually use one?
Just like any other aspect of life, getting yourself organized is the key to being productive and social media is no different.
So, before you get all flustered thinking this is yet another task to tack on to your existent to-do list, bear with me for a second.
Actually, the strategy here is to spend as little times as possible on social media and STILL get great results.
You’re probably thinking “Kim, that’s not even possible!”
Oh, but it is my friend, and it all starts with designing a kick-butt content calendar that houses a great strategy.
Personally, I rely on content calendars to tweak strategies for my clients, keep content fresh and organized and make last minute changes when the unexpected arises.
Why Do I need one?
Getting your content organized and scheduled to correlate with your blog posts, special discounts or offers and marketing campaigns helps you bring all your efforts into one place.
This is where the magic happens!
Having a birds-eye view on the our content and knowing what big events or opportunities are coming up will allow you to strategically schedule your marketing efforts and this equals to BIG results.
You can decide when and how you will attract potential clients online and keep track of successes so you can replicate them in the future.
Setting up a content calendar might take you an hour or two each month, but once you have the system in place it will become easier and faster to keep organized and on track.
Remember, the most important thing is to get it done and stick to it.
What Tools Should I Use To Create A Content Calendar?
The truth is there are a zillion tools out there designed to help you build an awesome content calendar. Some are free, while other can get pretty pricey; some get all fancy pants and others are incredibly simplistic.
Bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter what tool you choose as long as you create a content calendar that works for your business and you stick to it.
If you’re running a small business, chances are you have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account.
You probably also post on your blog regularly, so it’s crucial that you know what you will be posting to these accounts and when.
A simple excel or Google spreadsheet will work too if you like a formatted look.
Got a WordPress website? The free WordPress Calendar plugin will help you keep your content organized.
Getting Into The Tools & Love
You can use simple, free tools (my favorite kind) like Google Calendars to organize your posts and pre-set your blog topics. It’s super easy to use and you can use multiple calendars for different platforms like blog posts, Facebook & Twitter content.
Integrating your content calendar with a task management system is really smart. Trello can get the job done, for free.
I use Trello for a lot of my clients and it’s incredibly convenient.
But my all-time favorite content calendar is hands down CoSchedule (this is a referral link but I wouldn’t recommend a tool I don’t rely on myself and completely love).
CoSchedule has the functionality to help you schedule out your blog posts inside of WordPress and at the same time promote them via social media.
The awesome thing about CoSchedule is that you can also manage all of your social media content (even if it’s not related to your blog posts) in one place.
CoSchedule is a paid tool but it’s only about 10 bucks per month and you can add team members to help collaborate as well.
BIG UPDATE: You can now use Coschedule with any website, not just WordPress!
DivvyHQ is also a great option if you don’t own a WordPress site.
Although Divvy HQ is a very powerful tool, it does have a few limitations in terms of publishing like only being able to post to Twitter and Facebook when you upgrade to their elite package ($95/mo) and also not publishing directly to your blog.
So Divvy is more of a planning and execution tool than anything else.
How Should I Plan My Content?
So you’ve launched your blog, but now you are having a hard time being consistent and organizing your ideas.
The best way to stay consistent is to plan your blog posts in advance.
At all times I like to have at least 30 ideas in the my CoSchedule draft section and about 4 weeks of blogs planned ahead of time.
So take a few minutes to brainstorm at least 10 blog topics and schedule them out on your editorial calendar.
Social Media Posts
I couldn’t keep my social media channels running without my calendar, I’d literally go nuts!
So a great way to save time when you are actually creating your posts is to put them into categories.
I learned this strategy from the awesome Laura Roeder and it has seriously cut down on the time I spend on social.
There are only a few types of posts on social media and I like to put these into 8 categories.
Of course, you may have a different take, so don’t be afraid to make these your own categories and stick to what works.
1. Blog Posts
Here is where you get to communicate with your readers and really showcase your know-how & expertise.
2. Inspiring Content
You know the feeling you get when you see an image quote or read an article that really hits home? Your fans and followers want to feel it too.
These are great conversation starters. By asking questions that are easy & fast to answer you’re breaking the ice with your fans and encouraging them to converse about topics that interest them.
4. Tips & Tricks:
This is probably one of my personal favorites. Create short tid-bits of advice around topics that are either related to your products (or services) or around topics aligned with those topics.
5. Other People’s Content
It’s virtually impossible to create all the content your audience is interested in all on your own (unless you’re a publication) so show fellow industry leaders some love & share their content with your audience whenever you think they’ll find it helpful.
6.Contests & Giveaways
These can help build buzz about your products and get people talking about them. Get really creative and you’ll be able to leverage contests and giveaways really efficiently.
Of course you want to sell your product but there’s an art to doing so. You should never be afraid to sell on social media but always make sure that you’ve given enough free value away first.
8. Everything Else
This includes photos of yourself or your team, behind-the-scenes action, a photo of your cute puppy… you get the point.
I like to leave space for creativity and anything that just pops into my head.
So once you have your categories laid out, it’s time to determine how often you will be posting each one.
Here’s what my category plan looks like each week:
So at this point, all you have to do is schedule some time to create your content and you’re set with a kick-but content calendar.
Over To You
It’s your turn. Do you have a content calendar? What tools do you use?
Let me know in the comments below. 😉