Creating a Content Calendar and Using It Effectively
Content makes the social marketing world go around
Many social media professionals find a content calendar to be an indispensable tool. A content calendar for social media works in tandem with your social media content strategy, allowing you to map out your publishing schedule and ensure your content is consistent, balanced, strategic, and relevant week after week.
A content calendar is a constantly evolving document containing your planned and scheduled social media posts for all your social channels. It should be an extension of your content strategy; a tool that helps ensure a good mix of content, and supports social media goals and objectives.
There are a few best practices to consider when creating a social media content calendar. First, ensure it’s easily accessible to those who need it. Keeping it hosted on a platform like Google Drive allows team members to collaborate on it with ease. The ability to collaborate is especially useful when drafting the copy that accompanies shared content.
Social moves at a fast pace, so don’t plan too far ahead; allow yourself flexibility to accommodate new trends that might appear. A best practice is to keep a larger monthly calendar with general information about upcoming launches and big events that impact your content strategy in addition to a detailed weekly calendar with specific copy and assets.
Your larger monthly calendar may contain items such as campaign starts, influencer takeovers, and new blog posts, while your weekly calendar should be a detailed schedule of every post for each of your social networks. In your weekly calendar, separate your daily posts by network, and include the specific time you have scheduled each post to go out. Your weekly calendar should also contain information on the type and topic of content you’re posting, the specific copy for each post – including any relevant hashtags and emoji – as well as a link to the content you will be posting, where applicable. To make it easy for you to identify the ratio of the different types content you’re sharing, colour code your calendar by type.
It’s a best practice, particularly on Twitter where content loses visibility quickly, to repost content that is performing well. When reposting, be sure to vary the accompanying messaging between posts. It’s important to note that not all networks are suited to re-posted content. We recommend reposting more sparingly on Facebook and LinkedIn, and never reposting on Instagram or Snapchat.
To make reposting content easy, maintain an evergreen content library that contains vetted content, social copy, and images that have been successful. Your evergreen content library should contain any successful variations of the accompanying social copy. Keeping a living document with posts that have resonated best with your audience will make filling out the calendar much easier going forward. Be sure to continuously update your evergreen library, adding new successful posts, and removing those that are no longer performing.
As you fill in your monthly and weekly content calendars, remember that social is flexible. Make sure that your team is always listening and watching for current trends and important events that are happening globally, as well as within your industry. It’s especially important that you pay attention to the context behind social media hashtags and trends as they may reference serious events. A message scheduled a month in advance could take on a new context should a natural disaster or important global event occur. By listening to what’s happening on social and adjusting your content calendar accordingly, you can ensure that your content is always consistent, relevant, and engaging.