Getting Started on Your Social Media Content Calendar

Earlier this week, I blogged about creating content with limited resources.  Now that you have an idea about what your content team could look like and have some ideas on re-purpose existing content, let’s get into the fun stuff – planning your social media content calendar.

Ok, ok, I know that off the top planning doesn’t sound like much fun – but a well thought out content calendar will give you a rush like no other – especially when you find that your online audience is responding to it well, and your internal content creation team is focused due to the cohesiveness of it all.

The Calendar itself

When done right, the content calendar will help your marketing teams to plan all content.  Having it in calendar format vs a list of items, makes it easy to visualize what’s coming over the year.  There are many templates available online that can get you started.  Once you have one you like put some thought to the following.

Audiences

Most of us are writing and preparing content for more than one audience type or customer persona.  For example, your overall audience may consist of existing brand fans, potential customers (with different income brackets or lifestyles) , those looking for how-to’s with your product or service to those just seeking out sales and promotions.  That’s a big variety of people you are catering to with your content! For that reason, it’s a good idea to write down your audience types so that you can ensure your content is reaching all of the audience groups in a way that is most beneficial for you.

What’s the split?

Once you know who all of your audience groups are, figure out how much of your content you’d like to dedicate to each of your audience groups – and make sure you tie this with your business and sales goals.  This year, you may have a goal of increasing new customers by 30%, and increasing online engagement by 15%.  Knowing this, your content calendar should have more videos/posts/sales etc geared towards attracting new customers and less focus on engagement building activities.

Themes

You know the seasons your business runs in – write them down.  This could be the “actual” seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) but also your sales season and audience seasons like Snowboarding season, Vacation time, Back to School, Yearly holidays etc.  Going through your calendar and noting down the seasons will keep your marketing team on the look out for content well in advance of when you actually need it.

Get everyone involved

You have a great team behind you, get them involved in planning out the calendar.  Bring on your sales and customer service group, ask your production team about when they’re releasing new products.  Knowing what’s happening in your organization will be very helpful in planning out your calendar.

When’s the right time?

Although it’s ideal to have the calendar ready to go at the beginning of your fiscal year or calendar year, there’s no time like the present!  If you can step back and start penciling in themes and posts, you’ll be steps ahead of where you are today.  But no matter when you start your calendar, revisit it regularly.  Depending on your industry, online activity and goals, this could be monthly or quarterly.

So there you have it!  Some tips to create a content calendar.  But one piece of advice: remember to stay fluid. Stay on top of internal happenings and industry trends so that you can tweak and make changes where you need to.  The beauty of having a baseline plan is that it will keep you on track throughout the year and allow you to allocate resources in advance.

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