When it comes to building an online presence, consistency is key. But when you’re a business owner juggling customer service, sales, and everything else that running a business entails, social media is often the last thing on your mind!
Here’s where having a content calendar can help. A content calendar is a resource to help you plan and visualize all of your brand’s content throughout the year. Content calendars don’t need to be long or complex, and they are MAJOR lifesavers. They reduce the stress of figuring out what to post in the moment, and will definitely increase your brand’s presence on social, which will, in turn, boost sales.
So let’s get to it. How do you create a content calendar, what do you put in it, and how do you use it?
1. Choose the right tools.
There is no ONE right way to create a content calendar. And there’s definitely no shortage of tools available. You can manage your content on web-based tools like Trello, Google Docs, or you can even using traditional tools methods like Excel or Powerpoint. It’s completely up to you, but it does take experimentation to find out what works best for your team.
At Work It Social, we use Trello as our main tool to manage both our blog and social media content. We love Trello because it’s easy to use and totally collaborative, so our team can comment on each other’s ideas and give feedback. It’s also highly visual, so it’s easier to see what content is coming up.
Here’s what our social media content calendar looks like:
Even within the same tool, there are multiple ways to set up your content calendar. Here’s another example of how I use Trello to manage our blog for Cambio Market. We break it down by story theme and then plan out which posts will be published and when:
Again, it’s a matter of figuring out what tools work best for you. The options really are limitless and allow you to create content much more seamlessly, reducing workload and stress.
Now that you’ve got your tools, it’s time to begin filling out your calendar!
2. Start With Major Holidays
Content planning can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Begin with the big picture and major events, then add in little details as you go.
Start by identifying major holidays, cultural days, and retail holidays for the next three, six, nine, and 12 months. You can also use online tools like School Calendars or National Day Calendar to learn about potential related topics that brand might want to participate in.
For example, Halloween, Christmas, and Boxing Day are obviously important. But there’s also major retail holidays like Black Friday and even Giving Tuesday in Canada. You can also consider adding local community events to your calendar if your audience lives within a specific geographic location. There’s an international day for everything and anything under the sun, so always ensure you populate your calendar based on your target audience and what is relevant to them.
3. Add Your Brand’s Events
Now that the major days are in your calendar, add in dates specific to your brand.
For example, do you plan to host a pop-up event? Is your brand participating in any festivals or conferences? Is there a major product release happening some time in the next few months?
If there’s anything major happening with your brand, then add it into your calendar and figure out how you can turn that into content. Your customers want to know what makes your brand special, and sharing milestones is a great way to add personality to your social media. Plus, you’ll build more loyalty amongst your audience if they feel connected to you.
4. Plan Out Your Campaigns
Developing your campaigns is the heart and soul of content planning, so don’t skimp on this part! Now that you have the major dates in your calendar (the skeleton), you can really begin to add the meat. Take a look at your calendar, and get creative. Really think about where the biggest opportunities lie for your brand.
For example, if you’re a wedding coordinator, then you might know most couples begin booking in March for their summer weddings. You could get creative and offer an early-bird discount for couples who book in January or February, or create a series of social media posts highlighting testimonials from clients about your work. If you’re also doing a wedding show in late September, then you could host a social media contest to give away free show tickets two weeks before the event.
Come up with a long list of ideas, then pick and choose the main ones you want to focus on. Add the ones you’ve chosen to your calendar, and save the discarded ideas for another year.
It may seem like a lot of work, but planning your year with a content calendar will do wonders for your brand. Consistency is key, and your customers will thank you for it!
Do you need help planning your content and growing your online presence? Work It Social can help you create a content calendar and define a social media strategy for your brand. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through social media, of course!