If you’ve ever managed a brand, you already know how important it is to have a fixed plan for every brand communication.
There are lots of ways to plan your communications, though. The simplest way is to have a content calendar.
It’s exactly what it sounds like – a calendar to map out your brand’s content. But it’s not really as simple as schlepping a bunch of titles on your Google Calendar. Not even close! A lot of work goes into creating one and that’s what this post is all about.
Now, who exactly should be reading this post?
Tell me if this sounds familiar at all:
You worked 6 hours straight on a piece of kickass content and then it got scrapped. The worst bit? It had already been uploaded on Social Media.
This is for all the marketers who are just starting out and need to know how to plan ahead in a simple, effective way. It’s also for people in the industry looking to optimize and streamline their workflow.
Here’s why you really need a content calendar when you are running a digital marketing agency:
If these seem to be worthwhile goals for your agency, then you should definitely create a content calendar without fail.
More often than not, businesses will experience less than ideal results from their content marketing efforts. This mainly occurs because of a haphazard process or a failure to set aside time. You could even be suffering from a creative block altogether.
Review the calendar frequently and keep a LOT of wiggle room so that you can slot in fresh content or content rework on issues that come up unexpectedly.
Now that we know what this is about, let’s dive in:
Just randomly posting content is a bad idea. A very bad idea. Stick to a fixed number of communications for a campaign.
Now, how do you know exactly how many to post?
For one thing, you should have this outlined in the Sales Order before you even think of starting a campaign. But this is usually the minimum number of communications and may not cover the break down for each marketing channel.
So, here’s an idea – what kind of traffic do you need? Before creating content, you need to know exactly what kind of content you’ll be creating and why. Most of this falls under
Once you outline your campaign goals and objectives, you can update this number. For now, move on.
Right, let’s get into step #2 now – setting campaign goals and objectives.What exactly are you planning to do?
Create a document outlining all of these:
But before you do that, here’s something you should know – goals and objectives are not the same.
Your objective could be to improve your reach. The corresponding goals could be increasing page views and post views.
In short, goals are mile markers that you meet to attain your objectives. This mapping will help you determine precisely how many communications you need for each channel, and why you’re communicating.
I know that it seems like a stretch, but it’s so that you don’t struggle with too many threads later on.
Strategy research will give you a much clearer idea of how to select target audiences and create sales funnels that convert. While this is not strictly a part of the content calendar, it is quite essential.
For instance, if you are creating a series of blog posts, the strategic research reveals who exactly find this useful or entertaining. This is helpful for many reasons. You get an in-depth understanding of how they talk, what they like, and what kind of popular references they may resonate with.
Planning this out will also help you understand what events and social observances may be relevant. Creating specialized communications towards these events will bring in a lot of engagement and involvement from a larger following.
Now that you know your strategic objectives, it’s time to create the goals you need to achieve in order to attain the objectives.
The strategies that you fix will directly impact the content calendar because it will tell you right away what kind of timeframe you are looking at for execution. Seeing as this is a calendar, the timeline is a really important part of the plan.
The thing is, this timeline is by no means final and is subject to further updates along the way. But at the very least, you will know the latest date you have till submission of the deliverables. This is the perfect time to discuss tactics.
Again, strategy and tactics are not the same thing. The broad-level plans are strategies. For instance, you may want to nick your competitor’s backlinks. But the idea that you are going to use an infographic to do it is a tactic.Tactical research will help you create exact ways to market your content.
This will help you refine your timeline even further. Once you have the timeline locked down in this phase, it’s not likely to change much unless there are some serious modifications in the works.
Now, tactics can be discussed right down to each piece of content, if needed. As such, a detailed conversation is probably the best thing that could happen for your campaign. This is also a great time to get stupid ideas out of the way.
Set down the final timelines for each deliverable and create the actual calendar. This is going to include some breathing room for edits and reviews in between.
Always remember to set this up in such a way that nothing is left to chance or till the very last moment. Brainstorm sessions will tell you exactly who is going to handle which responsibility as well.
The only things left now are… well, the things that are left out. Keep reading unless you’re George Clooney!
The rest of the steps mostly deal with sticking to the plan. The content creation portion of your calendar is going to come in handy now. Every single thing you planned out beforehand means that you now get to take it easy.
Also, if there are any sudden changes, you already have some buffer time planned in, right?
Most of this phase is just about coordination and sending reminders and tracking updates.
All set with the content?
Ready to hand it over to the marketing team so that they can go ahead and crush it with the promotions?
Hah! You wish.
First, you’ll have to go through each bit of content and edit it. Next, you will need your boss’s approval to send it to the client. Then you’ll need the client’s approval before you send it out to the rest of the world.
There’s more revision in the pipeline than you planned for, isn’t there?
Remember that next time!
OK, now that everything’s been approved and stuff, just sit with the media team and have everything scheduled.
Check out our killer content calendar with:
Scheduling content can be a big move. Be absolutely sure of the entire timeline before you do this. Of course, you can always change the scheduled content. But always double check to make sure that there are no sudden surprises.
Now that your content is up and scheduled, it’s time to track and measure. Was your strategy correct? Is it working? Are your tactics really sound? How quickly can you execute?
If there are any changes that you need to adopt from a strategic POV, this is the time to get it done. The most you will ever change, though, are minor tweaks in the target audience. There’s no way to tweak a paid ad midway without deleting everything and starting from scratch. So, make sure that your ads are bang on.
We are almost through.
Aren’t you glad that you took everything into account? Do you feel a little exhausted, but accomplished like a pro? Well… You’re not quite there yet.
Relax. All that’s left is creating a report. Everything you’ve done needs to be documented and reported.
One copy of the report has to be for you and another version is for the client.
And that’s all… Just remember to alot time for reports. They can take a REALLY long time. Other than that, you’re golden.
Are you creating your content calendar differently? Or do you not use it at all? Let us know in the comments below so that we can create more cool content in the future. Also, you can make your life a lot easier by just using our inbuilt content calendar dashboard.
You can also let us know some of your crazy stories about using content calendars.
There was this one time when we were creating a content calendar about mosquito repellants when a mosquito came in and started hovering over my keyboard. I was just about done with it all and I was going to transfer the file onto a flash drive.
I swatted at the mosquito. Hard. On the keyboard. On the delete button. While I was holding down the shift button.
Also, if you love GIFs at all, please do share this with a LOT of people.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.