With the rise of social media came the need for businesses to do something they’ve always been expected to do: adapt and overcome.
As the public grows more and more comfortable with the concept of posting their lives online, business owners are taking their advertisements there as well, effectively utilizing social media as another avenue of marketing.
For most businesses, this means preplanning posts for weeks or months at a time using what is called a social media content calendar. In this post, we’ll cover what exactly a content calendar is, why you need one, and the best practices for creating an effective one for your business.
What is a Social Media Content Calendar?
A content calendar is an overview of your upcoming posts for one or multiple social media networks. Most businesses will use content calendars to plan ahead so that specific posts coincide with holidays or expected audience activity. It can also be organized in several different ways, including in a spreadsheet, Google Calendar, or another content calendar app.
Generally, social media calendars will have some combination of the following information:
- The date and time for posting
- The post itself
- The social network where it will go live
- Any links and tags that should be included
- Any text that may need to accompany the post
However, not all content calendars are the same. Your content calendar may only have a few of these, or it may have some attributes that aren’t listed here.
Why Do I Need a Content Calendar?
Content creation is difficult and time-consuming enough, so you may be asking yourself “why should I make it take longer by scheduling everything in a calendar first?
Despite the apparent drawbacks and effort it will take, however, there are several benefits to proactive content planning:
1: Convenience and Time
The truth is, you actually save time by creating a content calendar. Normally, social media and content creation take daily time and energy to ensure you’re putting out the best content. However, you have to keep in mind that unexpected events do happen. If you don’t have a plan in place, you could miss posts if your marketing team has an emergency.
By utilizing a content calendar tool, you take your content management to the next level. You allow your team members to create social media content ahead of time and schedule it. This way, they’re spending much less time than they would by doing it day by day.
As we previously mentioned, events can happen that distract and/or prevent your team from posting every single day. Whether this be something unexpected or the simple fact that your marketing team doesn’t work on weekends, it’s up to you to ensure that this does not negatively affect your public image.
Overall, Content calendars help you to publish content each day by scheduling it ahead of time. This helps you remain consistent in the eyes of your audience.
3. No More “Odd Tasks”
Have you or members of your team ever been on a day off when you suddenly realize you have to make a social media post for the day? It’s a real bummer when this happens consistently, as it gives you the impression that even your days off require work.
By using a content calendar tool, you can preplan posts for days off, freeing you up to get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
How Do I Create a Simple Content Calendar?
Creating a content calendar is actually deceptively simple:
First, begin by choosing your medium. Different businesses will use different applications for their calendars, so it’s up to you to decide if you prefer to create your own spreadsheet or use an application that’s specifically geared toward social media content such as the ContentCory content calendar tool.
Once you have that decided, determine what your social media lineup will look like. Here are a few common formulas that have been proven to work well:
1: Rule of Thirds
For the rule of thirds, you simply post ⅓ of your content as advertisements for yourself, ⅓ of your content as thoughts from industry leaders, and ⅓ of your content as posts that directly engage your audience.
For this formula, 80% of what you post will be to entertain or educate and the other 20% will be to drive sales.
Then, when you have decided what your content mix will consist of, you simply make a decision on what your calendar should include. Will you need dates and times only? Something that can be used across multiple social platforms? Areas to pre-add your infographics? Give it some thought!
You may also consider adding areas where team members can comment on your content so that everything can be finetuned before it rolls out.
And that’s it! From here, you just plug in your planned posts and allow the calendar to manage everything else!
You don’t have to be a marketing firm to find use in a social media content calendar. As social media continues to develop and grow, it becomes increasingly necessary to have a single place where you can manage all of your social channels.
We can’t wait to see what you create!