How to Use A Content Calendar
You can’t say the word calendar without thinking of planning and organization. For some of us, we love nothing more than a clean calendar page in our daily planners to organize our days to the minute. And for our free-spirited friends, we understand the thought of planning too far in advance cramps your style.
We are big believers in seizing the day, going with your gut, and living in the moment. But there’s one area we agree you have to plan in advance to be successful and that’s with your social media and marketing organization.
Planning does take time upfront, but it will end up saving you a load of time over the course of the month, not to mention saving you from the stress of trying to come up with quality, effective content for various channels on the spot.
HOW TO USE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Think of this as the hub for all of your marketing ideas, plans and campaigns. Ideally, you are thinking about and filling in larger themes, promotions and topics to cover a year in advance. We recommend taking some time by early December to start your high-level planning for the following year. What are your business goals? What marketing tactics are you using to achieve them? Are there partnerships or influencers involved in the execution? Use the editorial calendar to help you answer these questions.
If you’re planning shorter-term campaigns, we suggest filling those in quarterly and adding time to review, measure results and adjust accordingly.
After the higher-level themes and topics are determined and the campaigns are planned out, it usually makes the most sense, especially for smaller businesses, to plan their content and deliverables at least 30 days in advance. This leaves plenty of time for execution on the chosen outlets and communication channels.
HOW TO USE A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
The social media calendar can be used similarly to the editorial calendar. Best practices involve putting your high level social content and themes in your calendar a year in advance (think holidays or key topics you may want to cover that coincide with your editorial calendar), planning out social campaigns quarterly (connected content that aims to achieve the same goal i.e. email subscribers, lead generation, brand awareness, etc.) and planning your posts a month in advance including post cadence, copy, hashtags and image curation. If you’re using Twitter, we suggest creating a shortened version of your planned copy to adhere to their character count of 280.
Planning your content and campaigns and measuring their effectiveness leads to better results every time. Once you can get in this flow, you will see your business grow.