how to create a content calendar
Calendars hold us to a plan & make us accountable to the consistency we are trying to build with our audience. As an organization or business, building this consistency is key to creating a relationship with your audience online.
I know, I know-but how do I start? Utilize these 6 steps to start from a blank monthly calendar to go to a full, ready to execute plan for your next month of social media content.
Note: This timeline of steps is applicable to creating all sorts of content whether that be for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your next podcast schedule, YouTube series and more!
1. Monthly events / holidays
Start with what you know & plot the dates during the month that are a given. What are days that your audience is already going to be thinking about that month? How can your organization/business talk about that holiday in your own way? Are you celebrating New Year's Day?
Google "monthly holidays" to be sure that you are not missing out on any crucial events & even add silly holidays, too. For example, January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day! If you sell soaps or are a interior designer, maybe use this holiday to promote your services for a new bathtub or some of those special soaps you sell.
2. local events
Where you are at, think of what local events are happening? Even if some events are virtual, what is currently going on that might be important for your business or organization to talk about? Think parades, food drives, and local events that are going on where you live.
3. Organizational milestones & programming
This is one of my favorite steps, because it requires us as an organization or business to think ahead about what is going on next month. What goals do we have as an organization or business? Do we have any programming that is launching or kicking off? Are there important sales deadlines or service requirements that we need to hit?
How can we promote these events or goals while informing our audience the "why" behind what we do. Why are these programs & requirements important to us? and more importantly to them?
4. topic categories
At this point, your blank calendar should be starting to fill up with general ideas. Take a step back and look at where there are "holes" or a chunk of days where you aren't sharing anything with your audience. Think of important reminders like missions and operations posts that you can fill in the empty spots to remind your current audience or inform your new audience what is important to you.
If you are unsure of how to fill up more days with content, think of 20 questions & answers that you wish your audience knew about your business or organization. Write these down in another tab of your spreadsheet or in a notebook. Think about the tasks & people that fill your day to day & how you can share behind the scenes with your audience.
Organize them in like categories or topics, so that you can distribute those content categories across your month in the "holes" between the other content that is being shared.
5. create your content
Your plan is done! You have all the rough ideas slotted in your dates. Nice work! Now let's get to creating your content. Create a new column in your spreadsheet and label it captions. Start writing the caption for your post. Be sure to use a hook at the beginning or something to catch your audience's attention so they stop their scroll. Consider ending your caption with asking your audience to do something. By doing something, I don't necessarily mean say "buy this in the shop today" I mean like "Comment your favorite local place for pizza below" or "Leave your favorite emoji to describe that Friday feeling" or something along those lines.
Add a new column and label it graphics. Use a template tool such as Canva to create a social media template graphic or place photos here that you are planning to use on that day. I like to use Google Drive to organize social media assets such as photos, videos or content pieces to keep my plan organized. Google has a wonderful share feature, where you can copy the photo's link and insert it in to your spreadsheet for easy access.
6. Schedule or post your content
You should be pumped once you make it to this step. Your spreadsheet & plan are complete for the month! Woot! Be sure to remember to post your content on the days you have it planned for on your social platforms. If you have a Facebook business page, utilize the publishing tools to schedule your posts to release ahead of time. If you have a scheduling tool such as Planoly or Hootsuite, be sure to schedule your whole month using your tool.
It goes without saying that this is a constant cycle of planning ahead & executing. Mid-month around the 15th or so I begin the whole process over again to plan for the upcoming month. Don't worry: if you are running behind or starting in the middle of the month, utilize this same process week by week until you can work up to planning a whole month at a time.
Time & Engagement
While this bulk creating and planning does take up an afternoon, even a couple afternoons, this method will allow for you to be executing your day to day operations or day-of engagement instead of posting. Rather than spending the half an hour each day to create a post, caption and all that manual labor you just did, you will be spending that time meaningful engaging with the people who interact with your social media.
Creating a culture online is all about that two-way communication a.k.a you need to comment back to your audience or invite those people who like your post to like your Facebook page. This meaningful engagement will build trust between your audience & in turn you will get to know them and vice versa.
For more questions or examples on how to create a full content calendar, feel free to contact us via social media or our contact page. Helen is a planner by heart and is happy to walk through how to create a calendar to help you stick to your plan. Each month we have several clients that we tackle the obstacle of planning together & educate on how to use these tools effectively.
A free, virtual call will help determine if a partnership would be beneficial in learning these skills or if you just need a reference to get started.
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