Using Content Calendars

Content is king.  Everyone says so, going back to Bill Gates in 1996.  So, it must be true.  But how do you keep track of your content and when you are going to post to your blog and the various social media platforms that you engage with?

Content calendars.  That’s how.  A “content” or “editorial” calendar is just geek-speak for a schedule outlining what content will get posted when.  And for any blog, the time spent preparing a content calendar will make the process of writing and posting that much easier.

It’s not easy for small businesses to come up with ideas for blogging and posting to the various social networks.  It takes time and commitment to come up with ideas, goals, and solutions to share with your network, and a content calendar can help put all of this in order.

What are the benefits of preparing an editorial calendar?

  1. Planning.  An editorial calendar allows you to see the month at a glance and know what needs to be written when.  It makes it a necessity instead of a maybe.
  2. Structure.  Using an editorial calendar ensures that you will always be aware of when your posts are due and allows you to think ahead.
  3. Commitment.  Writing a blog and participating in social media are not “set-it and forget-it” projects.  They take time, energy, and commitment, and having an editorial calendar quantifies that commitment.  It tells you things need to get done on schedule.
  4. Themes.  An editorial calendar allows you to set-up your writing and posting schedule to cover consecutive topics, so that you aren’t just writing for the sake of writing.
  5. Variety.  A content calendar allows you an overview of what is published over a set period of time, and allows for variations in the medium.  Maybe it’s a blog post on Tuesday and a video on Thursday that reinforces the blog.  The calendar allows you to see the forest for the trees.

How do I create a content calendar?

All projects start with one thing – a goal.  In order to know where you are going, you need to have a roadmap for the trip.  You need to know where your efforts will take your clients and prospective clients.  After you have decided on your goal, you need to determine how often you will be posting and interacting.  If it’s a blog calendar, will you be posting daily?  Weekly?  What time of day works best for your audience?  Will you post in the morning, afternoon, or evening?  What do they expect?  Once you know the how and the when, you need to decide on the “what” of your publishing.  The best advice is to come up with themes for every week or month that you will be publishing.  Maybe this month you will speak about Facebook.  Next month, it’s GooglePlus.

Knowing your goals, your timing, and your themes in advance will take blogging from a chore to something that is done regularly, with specificity.

To make it even easier, there are many plug-ins available for various blogging platforms to help with this task, and I have listed some resources for them, below.  I have also recently found a company called DivvyHQ, the spreadsheet-free editorial calendar application, and they offer a free version to try out.  I have signed up, and will be giving them a run-through myself.

Are you using an editorial calendar?  Have you found it helpful?  Any other tips to offer?  Please make sure to share.

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Resources:

Lessons I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

INTRODUCTION
Steve Jobs was an icon of the personal computer industry. In my opinion, there is only one other living human being who could equal or rival his celebrity status. That person is Bill Gates.

Their lives had many similarities and some differences. They both were brilliant. They both started their businesses several years after leaving college. They did not consider a college education tantamount to their success. They both grew up on the West Coast. Jobs took a class in calligraphy at Reed College that he said inspired him later as the multiple fonts and word spacing (kerning) manifested themselves in the Macintosh.

Steve and Bill © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates © Wikipedia

 

But there were also the differences between them. As extraordinary as they both were as showmen and business titans, Steve was all about perfection and aesthetics never compromising for profit. Bill Gates was very focused on profit and simplicity of code. He has since been able to relinquished his throne to go on to global-community service. He last wrote his last lines of code in 1989. Steve battled through a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer while holding aloft the mantle of the brand for his firm, relinquishing the stewardship of it only when his health failed him. It was no more than a matter of six weeks between his resignation and passing.

Because I am an author with the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I would like to focus my lessons learned from Steve Jobs on these four topics, Digital, Branding, Marketing, and Education.

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

DIGITAL
Before the invention of the personal computer that Steve Jobs presented in his usual fanfare, pulling it by the handle out of a gym bag, mainframe computers took up entire rooms. The idea of a personal computer on every desk and in every home was viewed as preposterous if not impossible.

Apple I © Wikipedia

Apple I © Wikipedia

Steve acquired the original mouse technology from Xerox who could not commercialize on it but in an agreement let their engineers work with Apple in return for IPO offerings when it became commercial. The “GUI” (graphical user interface) allowed the development of graphics, images, and multiple fonts. It was the essential element that allowed the transition from a totally code and programmer based system to a user-friendly system. His team created the initial software and then other companies jumped on the bandwagon.

His leadership fostered a creative environment that let the team negotiate, innovate and create with a high standard.

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

Bill Gates was primarily a software man learning early on that he preferred more pedestrian, affordable PCs in contrast to the ‘elegant’ devices of Apple and then Macintosh. Bill’s goal was to mass-market software and for a while Microsoft was the proprietary software on all PCs. In contrast, Steve Jobs computers were and are geared to the connoisseurs in the industry.

BRANDING
Over time, the two companies did become more similar. With Windows, Microsoft adopted the more obvious mechanisms of the Mac, the mouse, and the programs in PC version and now Macs use the Intel processor. But Steve was the master of the brand. His mantra was perfection.

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

He would not let a product emerge from his laboratory into the public domain until he felt it had reached absolute perfection. The quality control with parts suppliers is one example. Perhaps this was a drain on his health compared to his, at least seemingly more laid back adversary, Mr. Gates. His interest was quantity over the level of quality that Jobs demanded without compromise. One wonders where Apple will be headed without Jobs. Microsoft seems unfettered by the resignation of Gates.

MARKETING
Jobs was a master at marketing. Just the mere rumor and then word of the emergence of a new or newer model of a product sent the Mac devotees to the stores where they would often camp out over night to be the first ‘kid on the block’ to have the latest version of whatever it was.

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

The presentations of his latest products were also impeccable examples of marketing and promotion. One year Ridley Scott, now a famed film and TV producer, was brought on board to create a memorable, even shocking Macintosh Super Bowl commercial. No one who has ever seen it will forget it.

When generations of the various Macs were born in irresistible, candy colored variations, potential consumers were tempted to not only purchase these mechanical wonders but agonized over which day-glow color to buy. That would be a major problem for me. I would want one in each color. Jobs combined perfection of design, streamlined elegance and hot colors.

1984, Superbowl XVIII Commercial  © Wikipedia

'1984' Superbowl XVIII Commercial © Wikipedia

EDUCATION
Have you ever wondered why school systems buy and use Macs? If one is a student, there are special reduced price versions of the programs available and discounts on the computers themselves. What does that say about the quality of a Mac over a PC? I feel there is no more evidence necessary that ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Educational systems throughout the country chose to have their students learn on Macs, not PCs. They may have had to settle for PCs when their families both them their own. But the educational system provided only the best and most reliable quality control.

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on the world of technology and design. Much has been written about him before and since his passing. This post is but a peek at one small part of the universe he occupied. For me, his example showed there are some valuable lessons to be learned in Digital Brand Marketing Education.

SOURCES

What I learned from Steve Jobs by Guy Kawasaki

This Week’s Issue Of Time Magazine Has Steve Jobs On The Cover And The Story Behind His Upcoming Bio

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on Wikipedia

Apple Computer on Wikipedia

Macintosh Computer on Wikipedia

Bill Gates on Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

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