If you're going to start creating content without a content calendar, you're doing it all wrong
As we discussed here and here, engaging content is crucial to ensure the success of your business because it creates brand awareness, encourages consumer engagement and is great for your SEO. Knowing all of that, you’d be crazy not to get the ball rolling on some good-quality, regular content for your onsite blog and social media channels.
But before you start creating content, sit down and develop a content calendar and plan out your content for all platforms for a month, or at least a couple of weeks at a time. Your content calendar could be really simple, like an Excel spreadsheet or a Google document or a handwritten desk planner, or if you're tech-savvy it might be a specialized application. If you’re not yet convinced that you need a contact calendar as part of your content marketing strategy, read on and let us persuade you!
It’s the key to an organised content strategy
A content calendar is your ticket to an organised week of content across all of your platforms, from blog posts and email newsletters to social media updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Once your content calendar for the week is complete, set aside a couple of hours (preferably in the week prior) to create, plan and schedule content across all of your platforms. The more you can schedule posts in advance to go live automatically at a designated time, the better, because it means you have less to deal with during the week. Be sure to include new social media posts about your new blog content, and always share and re-share older pieces that are timeless, relevant and up-to-date.
Your content calendar should also include key local, national and international dates to ensure topical content is covered. Dates such as Valentine’s Day, the 4th of July, Bastille Day, Remembrance Day and school holiday periods should all be included so you have topical content prepared and the dates don’t sneak up on you.
It will save you a lot of time
A complete content calendar will also save you a lot of time in your working week and will help you use your time more effectively. You’ll know what content needs to be published, where and when in advance so you can pre-schedule or quickly publish at a specific time. It’ll also save you time because you won’t have to create content on the fly, which leads us to our next point…
You won’t have to create content on the go
Creating content on the go is stressful and puts a lot of pressure on your team as they are constantly working to tight, daily deadlines. It can also dampen your creativity when you are forced to create content simply because it has to be done and not because you are inspired to create. Instead, use your content calendar to develop your content days, if not weeks, in advance. There’s nothing worse than realising that it’s prime time on Instagram and you don’t have anything to post!
It will help you be more strategic
Finally, a complete and comprehensive content calendar helps you (and your team) visual the strategy in weekly and monthly blocks. This is especially important for highly visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest as you can see what your feed will look like and what you should post when. For example, we have a content calendar for our Instagram page which we couldn’t live without because of the patterned effect of our feed, where every second day we post a branded image tile (you can check it out here). A content calendar also helps you to be more strategic when it comes to delegation, communication and outsourcing, and forces you to plan your content marketing with purpose, rather than throwing it together day in and day out.
So, are you convinced you need a content calendar yet? It’s much more important that you first thought, so make like the organized folk and prioritise your content calendar ASAP. We did, and we’ve never looked back!