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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:

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Comments

  1. brodydorland says:

    Great article, Craig, and thanks so much for the mention!

  2. Thanks for the intention to help organize me. I might be able to get organized if the technology didn’t change daily. Nothing stands still for a moment.

Trackbacks

  1. […] with it.  One of the best tools to help organize your activity on social networks is with a content calendar (I even wrote a post about it).  HootSuite and Tweetdeck offer that very thing (although only for […]

  2. […] with it.  One of the best tools to help organize your activity on social networks is with a content calendar (I even wrote a post about it).  HootSuite and Tweetdeck offer that very thing (although only for […]

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