Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Posting to social media sounds easy enough; however, it takes a lot of time and effort to create that content. That’s why you need a content calendar.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about content when researching ways to promote your business. What is “content”? It can be anything, really; videos, blog posts, and social media images. Sounds simple, right?...Wrong! Constantly producing worth-while content is extremely difficult and can take considerable time, effort, and a budget.
Building content and making sure that it resonates with your audience can seem like an eternal struggle. It’s overwhelming to feel like you have to do “all the things” like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogging, YouTube videos, podcasting, or contributing to industry articles. My bit of advice here is to select one or two of these channels and focus on those.
Another struggle can be a lack of inspiration for creative post ideas. That’s where a content calendar can save your behind and keep you from tearing your hair out!
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like. It is a schedule of the content that you plan to create and release throughout a range of dates, usually month-by-month. A calendar like this can help you brainstorm ideas for any type of content you want to create. A quick Pinterest search will show you examples of social media, editorial, and blogging content calendars.
I encourage you to research what type of posts others in your industry are creating. You might find some fun and interesting ideas that you might never have considered.
For instance, maybe a large corporation posted a photo of their engineering department’s weekly stand-up meeting. You could take a photo of your upcoming staff meeting for one of your social media channels. If the image is of good quality, you can also use it for brochures or your website. Generating reusable content is always a bonus!
If the image is of good quality, you can also use it for brochures or your website. Generating reusable content is always a bonus!
Its good practice to have a mix of promotional and personal interest posts. After all, the point of generating this content is to keep you in front of customers. Keeping them engaged can lead to customer retention and recommendations for new work. But posting incessant, sales-oriented posts can lead to fatigue and will ultimately make your audience groan with each post. “Enough with the sales pitch!”, they’ll exclaim and unfollow you.
PICK A PLATFORM
While building your calendar, decide where you plan on posting and where you feel your audience is most active. Decide what frequency is best for you and your business. There have been studies by companies who specialize in social media scheduling and they recommend the following posting frequency as of March 2020:
Facebook: Once daily
Instagram: One to three times
Pinterest: around 11 times per day
Twitter: at least 15 times each day
I know that sounds like a lot. It is! That’s why I like to stress choosing one or two platforms and focusing your time on those. Doing well on one platform is much better than failing across all of them. Nothing shows lack of follow through like a Facebook page that hasn’t had a new post over a year.
Publishing press releases is an important way to stay in front of your local audiences. Do you have a new product release coming up? Are you hosting an event? Did the little league team you sponsor participate in a high-way cleanup last weekend? All of these are great reasons to send a press release to local papers. Bonus, when they run the article on their online platform, you can share a link to the story on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Bam! You just filled another date in your content calendar! Here’s another tip: be sure to include your website in the closing of your release. This is a great way to build back-links to your website (it has to do with SEO. Trust me, it’ll help build traffic and increase your website authority in the long run).
Are you considered an expert in your field? Try contributing editorial content to industry publications. This is a great way to generate content as well as building your business’s clout.
Many publishers will post their upcoming editorial calendars on their websites. Find publications that your audience is reading and write an article geared toward one of the topics listed on the calendar. Do not focus on sales when writing these contributions. Think of it as an op-ed piece; write in a way that points out a problem and your solution for it. Use research, site your sources, and use memorable anecdotes to keep the reader engaged. Drawing on your own experiences lets people know that you’re the expert, but examples that are overtly self-promoting will keep the magazine from publishing you.
FILL IN YOUR DATES
Here is example of what your Facebook Social Media calendar could potentially look like if you decide to post daily. This calendar includes potential topics and hashtags that could accompany the posts. It’s always easier to plan these items out in advance, but if there is something special or unexpected going on, always post those events instead, or in addition to the calendar you already have laid out. Keep in mind, it’s better to leave a few hours between posts, otherwise your most recent addition will drown out the previous post.
You’ll notice that this calendar has a healthy mix of industry topics, personal interest, and promotional posts. The variety should keep your audience interested and hopefully tempt them to engage with your posts. These interactions will help your posts flow through Facebook’s algorithm and allow more people to see your content. That increases the likely hood of organic growth in page followers.
This example focuses on Facebook, but you can use these same techniques to boost your audience on your blog or other social channels like Instagram and LinkedIn. You will have to make some adjustments to fit each platform, but this will give you a solid jumpstart toward building a primed audience that is more likely to convert into customers.