How to Create an Effective Strategic Content Calendar

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How to Create an Effective Strategic Content Calendar

Trends | Dec 16, 2020

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Many of us probably threw our 2020 social media calendar out of the window when COVID-19 happened. That’s a rhetorical statement. I hope you have them saved somewhere because it’s actually helpful. You’ll see!

As we wrap up the year that is 2020 (Thank goodness, right?), it’s also the perfect time to think of your next digital marketing content calendar. Or maybe start one for your small business.

Every business, new or seasoned, should be mapping out their social media content marketing strategy.

Notebook with colorful, inspiration content

If you haven’t used one before, creating a calendar for all your posts might be a head-scratcher for you. But let us tell you that once you get the hang of it, it’ll make your team’s life a lot easier.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar or editorial calendar, which may be debatable depending on who you ask, is your upcoming content schedule – when and where it will be published.

It should be a resource that team members can have access to. You might want to limit the number of people who can edit, though, to avoid any form of confusion.

Typically, you’ll include social media holidays, state and federal holidays, promotional activities, and status updates.

Your calendar can be digital using tools like Google Calendar, Microsoft Excel, Smartsheet, or other online services. If you’re an analog type of person or crew, a giant whiteboard wall could work as well.

Monthly calendar

Why is a content calendar important?

Create efficiency

When it comes to a social media marketing plan, the trick is to not just post whenever you feel like it. There’s a strategy tied to it, and having a social media calendar helps you plan and create content ahead of time.

This thorough planning also helps you balance your workload and save you or your creative team from multitasking.

Having a written schedule helps you develop more creative and engaging content. You won’t need to Google “motivational business quote” every single day.

Fewer errors and misinformation

To err is human, but typos and “big mistakes” can be your content’s tipping point. When your staff is not rushed to publish something on Instagram, simple errors will be avoided.

With scheduled posts, your copy will have enough time to be proofread and fact-checked and will save your brand from an embarrassing typo.

Always be on the cool side of trending moments

Never forget the significance of May the 4th. For non-sci-fi or pop culture lovers, May 4 is celebrated as Star Wars day. Now you know and “may the force be with you.”

A social media content calendar lets you incorporate nationally recognized events like National Best Friends Day.

Calendars also allow you to be flexible and be in the moment when it comes to viral trends, rather than sharing the hottest meme a month later.

Digital calendar on a tablet

How to create a content calendar?

While different businesses have their own unique approaches to developing a written schedule, they all touch on general points that we’re sharing with you below.

Review your content and social networks

Before diving into working on your content, refresh your memory of past copy on social networks and blogs, just like you’d review before taking an exam. (People still study first before a test, right?)

As we said earlier, we hope you kept your 2020 social media calendar. This is where it comes in handy. Take a look back at that sheet and check if there is content you can use in the next calendar.

Next, you need to review and update some of these necessary details and information.

  • Make sure your profile is up-to-date
  • Make sure no one is profiting off your name other than you
  • Review social media platforms
  • Adjust your goals
  • Ensure your brand persona matches your target audience and demographic
  • What worked and didn’t work
  • Delegate tasks accordingly

Pick and choose your social channels

We’ve seen many viral videos on the news. Some bosses are text-yelling in all caps: WHY AREN’T WE POSTING SKATEBOARDING VIDEOS ON TIKTOK? They’re referring to the cranberry juice-wielding, skateboarding TikTok sensation doggface208.

That’s okay. You don’t have to be on all social media platforms. This is why you audit your social media and get to know your demographic.

Don’t waste your time creating content for a social media platform if your audience is not on it. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content on a platform with the best ROI.

Content reservoir

You don’t have to purchase another expensive software for this. It can just the Notes app on your MacBook or an Excel sheet or Google Drive.

An idea pool is a perfect place to add links, images, copy, or videos that you think would be an excellent addition to your content.

On down days or when you’re running low on topics, you have your reservoir as your fall back.

PRO Tip: Don’t just dump topics into your reservoir. Organize them as if you’re working on your social media content calendar. That’ll make your life easier when you’re searching for an idea.

Begin content creation

You’ve got the logistics down to a T, now’s the time to get your hands dirty. Start developing the content.

As you create, open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of the content. Is there a good flow to the content? Are you staying on brand? Will your audience be able to relate and engage with what you’re writing?

Review content with team

Over bagels and coffee, invite your colleagues to review what you and your team have worked on. Your coworkers will sort of be like testing the effectiveness of your content.

This part of the content calendar creation is where you can clean up your copy, adjust the image’s saturation, or shorten a video.

Schedule your post

Your content calendar is ready to be seen. You can start posting on your chosen social media platforms. Another way of publishing your posts is by scheduling them using online tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite. This will make posting feel so much leisurely.

Need help with your content calendar? We have your back. Send us a message. Our social media and content specialists will develop a strategy that will improve your brand’s engagement.

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