Great content is key in reaching and connecting with audiences. But producing great content is no easy feat and requires a considerable amount of resources, not to mention time. This is where an effective content calendar steps in.
Brands now not only have to produce authentic, unique and powerful content, but they have to do it frequently.
SumAll suggests the below guidelines to posting on social media:
This means you’re posting around 16.3 pieces of content per day, 81.5 per week and 352.9 per month. Okay, they might be on the same topic or link to the same article, but that’s a lotta postin’! Also not suggesting that you necessarily have to post on all of the above platforms nor as frequently. Even so, it’s a lot of work.
So how do you manage and navigate through this sea of content?
Why, with ye olde content calendar, of course!
Why a content calendar?
It organises your (you guessed it!) content, allows you to plan ahead and stay afloat.
It will force you to think strategically about your audience, topics, platforms and frequency of posts and identify gaps, opportunities and challenges.
How do I create a content calendar?
There are a few things you need to think about before jumping into content creation.
Most businesses don’t have a single audience, but will be publishing to a number of different groups. Identify groups of people you want to connect with your brand, for instance future clients, partners, sponsors and/or employees.
Defining your audiences will give you direction for topics of discussion and figuring out which platforms to use.
When thinking about themes or topic of the content you will publish, keep one thing in mind: your audience. You’re not publishing for you! With every topic (and, in fact, every piece of content), ask yourself “Will my audience care?”. If the answer’s ‘no’, I’m afraid it’s back to the drawing board.
Don’t forget to keep important dates and events in mind when brainstorming topics. Industry events or specific dates/holidays important to your audience can be secret treasures to creating engaging content. Putting these into your content calendar will allow you to plan ahead and publish something amazing!
Remember, not everyone hangs out on Facebook and many people don’t have twitter accounts. Make sure you choose the right platforms for the audiences you are targeting. To help you figure out your customers’ favourite online hang-outs, check out the Sensis Social Media Report 2015, Sprout Social’s Social Media Demographics and our ‘How many is too many’ article.
Create. Schedule. Publish.
Once you have your audience sussed, your topics sorted and your platforms picked, it’s time to start creating some kick-ass content.
Take stock of your existing content assets and use what fits in your new plan. You just might save yourself a few hours/days!
When content is ready to roll, you will need schedule it. The most efficient and least confusing way of scheduling content is through a social media management tools. There are plenty out there, some free, some pricey. Do your research to make sure you pick the most suitable for your business.
Our top 3 favourites are:
Track and tweak
So now you need to listen and respond. This means tracking your posts for impressions and engagement and tweaking your content accordingly. Focus on what’s working – if your Instagram posts are not gaining traction, but your Twitter account is constantly buzzing, maybe it’s time to drop Insta and focus your efforts elsewhere.
There are many fantastic free content calendar templates out there to help you speed up the process and make sure that you have everything covered. One of our favourites is HubSpot’s Social Media Calendar Template.
Remember, it’s a trial and error game and it takes time to get right. So be patient and hang in there!