By Gabi Degen-Nosek, Paid Media Specialist at Speakeasy Co.
What is a content calendar? A content calendar is a resource to plan, schedule, and organize content creation and publishing. Creating a content calendar from scratch is a task that seems much more complicated than it is. Before we dive into how to build one from scratch, let's define a few starting points for baseline success.
- Shared: You want your calendar to be sharable with your team so that together you can map out and visualize what content is distributed on what platform throughout the year and there are no duplications, surprises, or missed opportunities along the way.
- Iterate constantly: A content calendar is a live document that should be able to be revisited, changed, and moved as your content needs.
- Consistency: You must be consistent across each of your marketing channels. It is advised that you are publishing across the board and staying in front of your customer's face because publishing in an ad hoc manner, your audience doesn’t know what to expect and will lose interest or trust in your brand.
- Accuracy: Content calendars help eliminate errors and track upcoming dates accurately. When scheduling a post in integration scheduling platforms such as meta business suite, or Hootsuite, you will be able to see unique days that your brand won't want to forget, such as holidays, and international social media days like earth day, international women's day, or the Superbowl. You also will be able to take the time to draft out your post copy and proofread for any grammatical errors ahead of time.
- Monitoring & Measuring: Creating a content calendar makes monitoring and measuring success easier. You can see when you posted, updated, or phased out content, how people engaged with different kinds of content, and what days have done better than others. These basic metrics will help you create more effective and engaging content for your brand.
Now that we have our core principles of a content calendar let's talk about how to start building one.
The first step to any content calendar is creating your template. Many tools offer different features for your constant calendar but adopting new software can be time-consuming and result in neglecting to use it, so keep it simple. It can be as basic as a spreadsheet that would include your brand's specific needs but, at the minimum, should include;
1. The publishing channel (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.)
2. The Topic (holiday, new product, sales, or deals)
3. The Type of content (Video, single image, GIF, blog)
4. Date and Time for Publishing
5. The person in charge of publishing
6. The person in charge of following up on the post
The next step in creating the content calendar is defining your brand's goals. Is the content meant to produce new email leads, direct people to your website, gain visibility or possibly grow the number of your Facebook followers, purchase a product, or show up at an event? Pushing out content without a clear purpose will not benefit your company – it will only waste resources. The person working on each project or item on the calendar should have a clear idea of what the expected results are.
After defining the goals of your content, you can begin by starting with the calendar year; mark down all important events you want to build your content around – holidays, releases, product drops, events, and busy times of the year. This easy step will also help you determine the kind of seasonal content you will need in the future that you will plan for in terms of photography dates for the next year.
Next is adding in your content and using your evergreen content to fill in all the blanks.
- Themed posts, specific product specs, how it was created, why it was created, who would love it, where to buy it, and what to pair it with.
- Press or awards you have gotten, and tag them.
- Videos or pictures from events, campaigns, products, and employees
- Shoutout posts from your customers with your product,
- Giveaway or contest you holding
- Interesting and sweet details about your brand or employees, how it started, what's next, why you love where you work, and what makes you different.
- Content is not tied to a specific date or event; keeping a consistent presence on social media is critical for maintaining buzz around your brand's products.
Next comes deciding on frequency; think about how often you can realistically publish new content. There should be enough content to create traffic for your social pages and website to regularly bring value to your customers. Brands are recommended to post a minimum of 3 times a week, but depending on your goals, audience, and platform, that can change.
At a minimum, you should post to your
Instagram page 3 times a week. Optimal: once or twice a day.
Facebook Pages 3 times per week. Optimal: once a day.
TikTok 2 times a week
Twitter once a day. Better: 3 – 6 tweets a day.
Pinterest: 5 times a week
Youtube once a month minimum. Once weekly is ideal, and if you can post two or three times a week – even better.
You may not use or need all of these platforms, and the rule of thumb is quality over quantity, so if you are trying to do everything at once, you may find that you aren’t getting the desired results. Start with your comfort level and continue to work up to your brand's optimal performance goal.
One of the great aspects of digital marketing is that almost everything is measurable. However, after a company spends a significant amount of time creating and sharing high-quality content, measuring the actual effects of the content is often left in the background. You should examine your operations and data and consider them in your plans. Which posts on social media have sparked the most conversation?
Once you know what kind of content interests your readers, you can evolve and create even more interesting and engaging content in the future.