How to create a social media content calendar
Developing a content calendar is one of the best things you can do if you’re looking to really nail the execution of social media strategy. A content calendar makes sure you’ll never miss the opportunity to share content about a key event again while at the same time eliminating the dreaded “what am I going to post today…?” stress.
As we saw in our last post, defining your social media strategy allows you to define what you’re wanting to achieve with social media and how you’ll go about it. Your social media content calendar provides a snap shot over a period of time of the content that will be used to execute this strategy. By planning out your content by week or by month you can make sure you have relevant, timely content to share with your audience.
Another great benefit of creating a calendar for your social media marketing is that if there’s more than one person working on your digital marketing, a calendar provides a simple, visual representation of what’s coming up next on your social channels and can also be what you use if you need to have your social plans approved by someone higher up the chain.
There’s lots of different ways you can create your social media calendar. I like to stick to a good old Excel spreadsheet (but I’ve never met a spreadsheet I didn’t love…). My calendars have two tabs:
1. A snapshot of content themes by month
2. Actual content
Content themes snapshot
This includes the following columns with the months of the year shown in rows:
Broad content. Broad events happening in the broad community. This such as public holidays, seasons, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, etc. These events are social media content low hanging fruit. Easy posts right there.
Industry content. Here I list things that are happening outside of the business in question, but are relevant to its audience and industry. This might include “awareness” events such as Volunteers Week or Movember, sporting seasons or back to school events.
Specific content. This includes things happening within the business, eg. promotions, new menus, post-Christmas sales, new stock arrival dates, etc.
Evergreen content. This is where you’ll list content ideas that aren’t time dependent. This might include staff profiles, about us, did you know content, funny memes, etc.
Curated content. This column lists all the social media accounts or websites identified as being appropriate sources of sharing content.
The second tab is more detailed and provides an actual schedule of content to be posted. This lists dates in rows and includes the following columns:
The date and time the piece is to be posted
The social media platform to be used
Captions including hashtags if appropriate
Media type (eg. photo, video)
Your content calendar allows you to keep on top of your content mix at a glance. Already posted that link a few times before? Using too many overtly promotional posts and need to mix it up with more conversational, brand building posts? You’ll be able to see all this in one spot if you’re using a content calendar.
Creating a content calendar isn’t going to save you any time. It can be fiddly and time consuming. But (and it’s a big but), it will make sure you never miss a acknowledging a key event on social media again (thank god for Facebook’s backdate function 😊). It will make sure you’re hitting all the key social media messages you defined in your social media strategy and it will allow you to share and collaborate on social media messaging with others in your team.