A content calendar is one of the most useful tools you can create for your business. No matter what type of business you own, having an organized way to plan out your content and how you’ll share it can help your digital presence grow and thrive.
Posting consistently is a great way to gain and keep your followers because it shows prospective followers and clients that you’re going to add value to their feed. The more consistent you are, the more your audience comes to understand what to expect of you.
When you plan ahead, you’re able to give yourself ample time and space to create content that is meaningful for your audience. Rather than rushing to come up with something to post and the perfect caption right when you’d like something to go live, planning ahead allows you to create quality content that will keep your audience wanting more.
Creating a content calendar isn’t as daunting as it may seem. You simply need to find the organizational tools that will help you to plan ahead and help you execute those plans. Whether you start with a pen and paper or dive right into using an app, it’s important to determine which channels you’ll be publishing to. Common publishing channels are your blog, landing pages on your website, social media networks, and email lists.
In my blog post “Optimizing Your Content for Every Platform” I go over how to determine what platform your ideal audience is using. That’s a great place to start. Once you understand which platforms you’ll be posting on, and what sort of content you’ll be posting (images, graphics, videos, written content, etc.), you’ll have a grasp on what sort of content you’ll need to plan out.
Sure, it sounds great to post content that is optimized for every channel every single day, but that requires a lot of time and resources to pull off. As a growing business, you’ll need to determine where your effort is best spent. Instead, determine what your post frequency will be and stick with it. Your audience will appreciate the consistency and come to learn what to expect from you.
The medium for a content calendar will vary person by person, and business by businesses, so try out several to find the one that works best for you. For some people, a simple electronic calendar works. Others use online platforms and apps to organize and even post their content. I use Planoly for all my Instagram posts because it allows me to upload all of the photos and graphics I have for the month, then drag and drop them into my calendar. It also lets me play around with my grid to ensure that everything is cohesive, and then automatically posts them in the order I settle on. I also use Tailwind for scheduling my Pinterest posts, it has grown my monthly viewers to over a million!
Once you’ve determined what channels you’ll be posting to and with what frequency, you can begin to fill in your calendar. You can start with placeholders, like “infographic”, or “blog post,”, but where you can, be more specific about those topics. As your creative juices start to flow, go back and fill in any placeholders with a more detailed description of what you’ll be posting, and what you need to do in order to make it happen (i.e. hire a photographer, work with a graphic designer, etc.).
While many people work from an overarching editorial calendar to determine their themes and featured products each month, you don’t need to sit down and plan out an entire year’s worth of content in one sitting. Instead, pick a day each month to sit down and plan out your content for the following month, or two months out. Planning in detail ahead of time allows you to have time to execute what you’ve listed on your calendar.
No matter what method or platform you find works the best for you, working from a content calendar allows you to consistently provide high-quality content for your audiences.