Content Calendars Are Dope

I’m going to be blunt.

If you’re doing online marketing in 2017 and you don’t have a content calendar, you’re probably not capitalizing on your efforts.

So what exactly is a content calendar and why the heck do you even need one?

If you’ve ever wondered what to post on Facebook or ran out of blog topics (‘aint nobody got time for that), you need a content calendar in your life, my friend.

Content calendars help plan, organize and schedule every single piece of content you publish online.

It’s the place where all of your social media posts, your blogs, your newsletters, your videos, podcasts and your graphics strategically come together to grow your business.

So if you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet you don’t have a system in place to organize and repurpose your content just yet.

See, you know all too well that this whole content marketing thing takes time, a lot of it. And if you’re not squeezing your content for all it’s got, you’re missing out on lots of engagement, traffic, and leads.

Imagine being able to (finally) plan in advance every piece of content that will be published online across the board for your business.

Having a bird’s-eye view of your content enables you to anticipate what is coming down the pipeline so you can get really strategic with the content pieces you publish and leverage your content to attract more engagement, more traffic and increase your leads.

That’s what a content calendar can do for your brand.

So let’s get into the whole process of how to create a killer content calendar that actually works.

 

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Planning Your Social Posts

Ok, so what’s step #1?

I learned this strategy from the amazing Laura Roeder and it changed my life.

Creating ”content buckets” (or categories) for your posts can really help you stay focused on your overall strategy but also save you tons of time when you sit down to create your content.

So here’s what you do…

Figure out what your content buckets are first.

They can be for example:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Quotes
  • Tips
  • Other people’s stuff
  • Behind-the-scenes shots

Figuring out what these content buckets are is simple. Go back to your social media posts and pay attention to what has been successful in the past.

Are you getting a lot of engagement when you post behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram? Put ”behind-the-scenes pics” on your content buckets list.

You can also take a look at the highest performing posts from your competitors’ social media posts and get ideas as to what your audience reacts to.

But if you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new content buckets.

 

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Next, figure out which blog posts topics perform better on your site. You can use tools like Google Analytics and SEOMoz to determine which blog posts get the most amount of traffic and engagement.

BONUS: Use Buzzsumo and Topsy to figure out what specific topics in your niche or industry get shared across the web more frequently.

Have a brainstorming/research session and create a list of 20+ blog topics so when it’s time to sit down and actually write your blogs you don’t have to waste time staring at a blank page and a ticking cursor.

Finally, create & schedule a bunch of these content buckets and blog posts in bulk. This will not just save you time and energy, it will laser-focus your strategy.

Need a little a visual? Back to the content buckets.

Here is how I organize my own content buckets, but remember that you can create as many categories as you see fit, always keep your fans’ interests and positive reactions with past content in mind.

In other words, make them your own.

My Content Buckets

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Blog Posts

Here is where you get to communicate with your readers and really showcase your know-how & expertise. Remember that you always want to send your fans and followers back to your website. Use these posts to build your traffic and grow your email list.

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.

So share inspirational content with your fans and followers, if you think it will empower them.

Questions

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.

Tips & Tricks:

This is probably one of my personal favorites.  Create short tidbits of insights, advice or tips that can be helpful to your audience. You can start off by answering some of the questions you get asked the most by your current clients.

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.

This process is basically just content curation. You’re going out there and curating some of the best content to showcase in your own social channels.

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.

Promos

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.

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 and that way my content stays fresh and relevant.

 

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Frequency

Okay, now that you have your content buckets outlined, how often should you be publishing these pieces of content? That’s really gonna depend on the channel social networks you publish your content on.

No frequency works best for every brand so like anything, you have to experiment.

I touched on this topic in a previous blog, so just to recap, here is a good rule of thumb in terms of the total amounts of posts you should be scheduling each week:

  • Facebook: 1-3 times per day (sometimes more often if you have a worldwide audience).
  • Twitter: 2-10 times per day (sometimes more often if it works for you).
  • Pinterest: 1-3 times per day (you don’t want to overdo it with your followers).
  • Google +: 1-2 times per day.
  • Instagram: 4-7 times per week.
  • YouTube: Weekly or more often if you can.

Here are some tips you can use to plan out the frequency of your content.

  • Stagger your posts so your content stays fresh and varied.
  • For every self-serving post make sure there’s another post that delivers amazing value.
  • Experiment. With time, you’ll figure out the frequency that works best for you.

Choose Your Favorite Tool

Choosing the right content calendar tool for you really comes down to preference and functionality.

Paper Calendars

If you’re a little old school and you love managing your tasks on paper, then reach out for your favorite content calendar.

I’ve created a special calendar template pack just for you. Just enter your name and email below to get the free PDF pack.

 

But if you’re more like me and you’re into the digital stuff, check out my favorite content calendar tools.

CoSchedule

This tool is the bomb. Personally, it would be very hard to go back to any other publishing tool because CoSchedule just makes this content calendar thing easy-peasy.

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CoSchedule brings together your marketing content and your social media posts. Their drag and drop features make it extra easy to plan, organize and schedule all of your content in advance.

Plus, their WordPress calendar really helps automate your blog publishing process. But you don’t need WordPress to use it, which is a beautiful thing in itself.

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I am obsessed with this tool and use it on the daily to do the following:

  • Plan out and schedule my blogs in advance.
  • Schedule and publish content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +.
  • Collaborate with my team.
  • Keep my video shoots organized.
  • Plan out my Instagram and Pinterest content.
  • Create and edit my newsletters.

If you want to learn a little bit more about CoSchedule, check out my video review: https://youtu.be/ximHJv-ZIK0

Trello

Trello rocks. It’s designed to be a task management site but it’s so versatile, it can function as pretty much anything.

From content calendars to wedding planning, you can pretty much do it all on Trello (at least I have).

 

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Easily manage your entire content/editorial calendar on Trello or just choose to plan your social media content.

Now, the major disclaimer: Trello won’t push out your content (meaning actually publish it) but it’s still a phenomenal way to plan & organize your content strategically. I’m sure there might be a way around this via a trigger based app like Zapier or IFTTT, but that’s a whole different story.

One of my favorite features about Trello is that it has a built-in calendar so you can see all of your content at a glance.

Sample Content Calendar - Trello

Take a look at individual cards. You get to add copy, attach images & files plus add checklists, assign users and engage with team members to discuss details.

The labels are also fantastic if you’re visual like me. I love color coding my posts like a total maniac.

Promo on Sample Content Calendar - Trello

Trello, of course, also integrates with various tools like Google Calendar. Which leads me to my next tool…

Google Calendars

Google calendars are free and absolutely functional when it comes to creating your content calendar.

Although there aren’t as many features included, it’s a great alternative.

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Simply create a new event for each content piece and color code them. You can also attach images and files to individual events if need be.

Kimberly Jimenez - Calendar - Event Details

 

One of the features I like is being able to create several calendars to categorize content types. For example, you could have a separate calendar for blog posts or Facebook content.

Then, you filter off the view to only see specific content categories, or see everything that is scheduled at once, which is fantastic.

Of course, Google Cals are not designed to publish your content but with a little configuration from our good friends at Zapier and IHTTT anything is possible.

 

 

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Steal My Social Sharing Plan

 

So you have your content buckets figured out for your social media posts and your content calendar set; it’s time to look at your social promotion strategy.

In other words, let’s figure out how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to promoting your blog content on social media. 

By now I hope you know you shouldn’t just publish your content once on social media and then forget about it. It ain’t gonna work.

You gotta have a solid content promotion schedule if you want to get the most amount of eyeballs on your awesome content.

So here is the schedule I use:

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Steal my strategy & download the PDF cheat sheet so you can reference it later. It comes inside The Ultimate Content Calendar Template pack and it’s totally free.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. How to create a killer content calendar that actually works!

I can’t wait to hear how you set up your own content calendar so leave a comment below and share other tools you love, tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way or even any questions you might have.

See you in the comments section!

 

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