Let’s face it, marketers and writers can be disorganized people. And hey, it goes with the territory. It’s not a creatives prerogative (sorry, Britney). But, if you want to succeed in your content marketing, you need to stay on top of the game. The only way to truly compete is by adopting some structure.
So, how do we do that?
Simple. A content schedule.
A content schedule (or calendar) is a shareable resource you can use to plan all your content marketing efforts. It can be simple, like an Excel spreadsheet, Google Sheet or a handwritten desk planner. Have a whiteboard? Good that works, too!
It might seem like one of those complicated I’ll-get-to-it-later kinda tasks. But, the truth is your content marketing cannot survive without one.
Why you need a content schedule, anyway?
The list is endless so we’ll spare you the gory details. Put simply, a content schedule can help you in these ways.
A one-way ticket to an organised month. You’ll know what to publish, when and where. Content schedules ensure you know when content needs to be created and uploaded. Having well-established timelines means you can plan your day the stress-free way.
You’ve got to spend time to save time. Last minute and unimaginative posts are a thing of the past. A content schedule helps you focus on meeting your deadlines in a timeous manner.
Content isn’t dead and neither is communication. A content schedule helps you be more strategic when it comes to delegating, communicating and outsourcing. No more misunderstandings and excuses from your team.
Are you starting out or have you been in the game for a while? That was a trick question, because our advice is for everyone. Here’s our guideline for creating a content schedule that’ll kick ass!
5 Super Simple Steps To Building a Content Calendar
1. Google Sheets, Excel or stone slab – what will it be?
Decide on a platform you want to build your content schedule on. Put some thought into it. You don’t want to be chopping and changing in a few months time!
Do you have team members? Then consider using Google Sheets, which allows you to share and collaborate with others easily. This is our choice of poison and we have no complaints – it’s foolproof.
When you’ve decided on your platform, build your calendar template. It’s a good idea to establish a colour scheme at this point. It makes it easy to identify your platforms and who can say no to a little creative flair?
Make sure to include the following fields in your template:
- Platform (Website, Mailer, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc)
- Time (when is the best time of day to post)
- Date (what day must it go live)
- Status (to do, busy with, ready for editing, posted – you get it)
- A link to the finished content
There are so many different ways to style this thing. Are you intimidated by the task at hand? We’ve got your back! Here’s a link to our content marketing template ready and revving to go.
2. Mind the gap and consolidate what you have first
Chances are you have of heaps of stuff already. Content in the form of brochures, old blogs and sales material.
Once you sort through what you have, you’ll quickly identify what you don’t. You may even realize it’s time to let go of that Bitcoin post you felt so strongly about last year.
Once you’ve identified what’s there, you have one of two options. Either add it to another sheet in your document called “Existing Content”. Or include it in your workflow for sprucing up. Don’t reinvent the wheel – unless it was a shoddy wheel to begin with.
3. Brainstorm content ideas your audience will love
In a sea of average content, be the lighthouse.
Have a content topic in mind? Google it. I can almost guarantee it’s been written a hundred times before. And if you write what’s already there, you’re in for a snooze fest. Google won’t care much for it either.
What makes your content better and original? Offer a fresh perspective on a dried up topic. Never settle. Push the boundaries and answer questions. Use research tools like Ubersuggest to discover where the volumes lie. Then hustle your way to the top with a new spin on it.
Once you have a list of quality topic ideas, group them into monthly/weekly themes. Audiences love themes, it helps bring them back for more. Similar to binge-watching your favourite TV show.
Once you’re done, go about populating your sheet.
4. Schedule and assign content to your team
Voila! Your content schedule is 90.5% ready to go. What’s left is logistics and setting deadlines for your team members.
It’s always a good idea to have content ready one or two weeks prior to going live. Content creators are superheroes. But if a crisis strikes, you won’t have flexibility in your schedule to handle it.
Make sure everyone has access to your new schedule. It would be a pity to spend time on a calendar only you can find. Ensure everyone knows what is expected of them.
5. Analyse your results and make tweaks where needed
After a couple weeks, comes the most exciting and important part – analysis. Okay fine, it doesn’t sound that exciting but it is your bread and butter.
You need to revisit your old blog and social posts and see what worked. Ask the following questions:
- Was there a heading/subject line they loved?
- Which post got the least shares?
- Did a blog post fall flat on its face?
Tools like Google Analytics can give you a lot of data. Don’t be a stranger – go check it out!
Last, but certainly, not least (or however that cliche goes), edit your schedule. Don’t stick with what’s not working. If your audience isn’t active on Instagram, cut it out the schedule. Use that extra time to focus on your busier channels. Small tweaks can improve your bottom line tremendously.
Maybe the idea of creating lip-smackingly good content is intimidating. It is. We don’t deny it. It is getting more difficult to stand out in the digital space. You only have one shot at a first impression. So, how are you presenting yourself online? At BEAN Content we help small to medium-sized business glow and grow. Check us out and get in touch if you’re ready to shine online.