You need a content calendar to organize all your social media contents. Creating a calendar from zero can be overwhelming. What you need is a simple how-to guide and a great template.
A social media calendar helps you stay organized. You can prevent last-minute rush-to- write. It also keeps your team on track and gives you a clear view of your strategy. In this post, we bring you a guide to create a successful content calendar, and a free template to get you started.
What Is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is any tool, or document you can use to plan, schedule and organize content. Using a calendar instead of a list of content has its advantages:
- You get everyone on the same page: every member of your staff gets to know what are you publishing, the time and the channel for publication. This prevents mistakes and keeps everyone in line with the content strategy.
- You have visibility over your strategy: you get a clear picture of your monthly, quarterly or yearly content distribution.
- Manage content milestones: you can plan your content around key dates or events.
- Prevent content gaps: you can distribute your content consistently, keeping your readers engaged.
- Streamline the content creation workflow: you have the deadlines right in front of you and can create content in time.
Types of Calendars
Most marketers use one or a combination of these three types of calendars:
- Hard copy calendars: this can be a printed calendar, or whiteboard where you add publishing dates. This can help with visibility, but combine this with a digital version that everyone can check and follow.
- Spreadsheets: Excel and Google Sheets are very popular options. They are easy to use and cost effective. However, creating a calendar from scratch in a spreadsheet can be time consuming.
- Google Calendar: If you are a single blogger, using this simple calendar can work for you.
- Apps: these are useful digital tools that can help you create and manage your social media with few steps like Uniclix Social Media.
- Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin: it is simple with drag-and-drop interface. However, it works only when you post directly from WordPress. It is easy to lose track of other posts.
- Project management tools: some companies use project management tools as content calendars. While they are good for task management, they lack the versatility of content calendar tools.
Why Should You Have a Content Calendar?
If you have a personal blog just as a hobby or personal documentation purposes, probably you don’t need a calendar. But if your blog or website is a tool to grow your business, you need to stay organized.
Managing multiple social media channels can overwhelm if you don’t have a calendar. A calendar helps you see easily when it is time to post on Twitter, when on Facebook or every channel you use.
Without a plan, you can forget to publish things, or miss an opportunity window to reach your audience. You’ll ending by putting out fires and producing inconsistent content.
Using a calendar helps you:
- plan your content strategy
- align your content to marketing campaigns
- plan for extended time, like quarterly or even an entire year.
- manage your posts in all social media channels.
Three main ways a content calendar helps your marketing strategy:
Having a content calendar ensures that you won’t overlook any content-related tasks. When you are not organized, you can forget things.
Or publish at the wrong time, or with the wrong frequency.
A calendar helps you follow a plan and keep consistent work.
A shared calendar helps your team, and contractors collaborate. Employees and contractors (like freelance writers) contribute to your blog or website. You need something that keeps everyone informed and on track. Many companies have editorial calendars in the cloud, where everyone in the content creation team can access and see it.
Helps you get the right mix of content
A content calendar lets you get the entire picture of your publishing schedule. That way you can use your calendar to check you don’t publish related topics three weeks in a row. You can see your entire related strategy for the entire period and get your content mix engaging.
Can You Show Me an Example of a Content Calendar?
Sure, you can download our free calendar template.
As you can see everything is color coded, and you can easily follow the marketing campaign. Every channel has its publishing days visible.
The calendar includes sections for a
Here you can keep your content at hand and get it when it’s time to publish.
Every day tracking and scheduling got easier. You can fill here and see what you’re publishing. There is a column to track the character count, which helps you with social media posts.
It also has tabs for Facebook updates, and the Monthly Planner we showed above in this section.
No more dreading creating those spreadsheets. You can customize this template in a jiffy. Just add your data and you can start getting organized today.
Creating Your Content Calendar
#1. Choose the Elements in Your Calendar
A content calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. That being said, there are key elements that should be in your content calendar:
Editorial Board or Content Repository
This is the place where you put the pieces of content to publish in all channels. You want your content calendar to plan your content in advance, and here you can have it at hand.
A collaboration platform
If you are a solo writer, maybe you can wing it with a spreadsheet with notes. But when you are part of a marketing team, you’ll need a better collaboration solution. That way you can add the status of the content, add notes, and assign tasks.
The collaboration platform should integrate with your company collaboration tool like Asana or Trello. This will make it easier to send content to freelancers or clients.
A promotional schedule
One of the goals of your content calendar is to help you organize your content promotion. When you can see clearly on your calendar the dates of publication, it gives you the visibility to plan ahead. Good calendars let you color code according to the publication or social media.
A place for notes
This can be part of your Editorial Board, or it can be a different tab. Is a list of ideas, trending topics you want to tackle or ideas product of a team meeting. It can be useful to have a place to note your ideas for future content. That way, when you need new content, you just go to your “ideas storage”
#2 Choose What to Publish and How Often
You should choose what type of content you want to publish. This may include articles, social media posts, tweets and email newsletters. The content mix should align with your content strategy to provide consistent value to your audience.
You should analyze each channel and determine the optimal time to publish. Every channel has its distinctive audience, which means Twitter users expect you to publish more often than Facebook users, for example. To learn more about the best time to publish in this article on the Uniclix blog. Content calendar tools such as the Uniclix App choose the best time to publish each type of content.
On terms of frequency, as a rule of thumb you should aim for:
- Facebook – 1-2 post per day
- Twitter – 15 tweets per day with only 2 hours space between tweets.
- Pinterest – 11 pins per day
- LinkedIn – no more than 1 post per day.
- Instagram – ideally 1-2 posts per day.
3 Steps to Build a Social Media Content Calendar
Step 1. Analyze your Assets
Check what content assets you already have before creating new. Maybe you can repurpose or mix content. After all, not all content you create goes live. You can have also non-editorial content that you can use as sources such as:
- White papers or reports: these large content pieces can work great as a source for a series of articles on the same topic.
- Slide decks: you can transform the slides into video tutorials, or use them as a base for blog posts.
- Old blog posts: they can be a good source for new material. Just rewrite them with new data. You can also repurpose several blog posts into a larger guide.
- Unpublished posts: posts that were never published can get a new life. You can update the stats or refresh the writing and use them.
Working with what you have can help you have a content repository to go to. This prevents having to scramble something at the last minute.
Step 2. Design your Strategy
Every channel needs its strategy. You should choose what type of content you are going to post and in which frequency. There is a concept of thinking about content as if it was TV shows. This concept helps you identify three different content strategies:
Content series: these are content initiatives that share the same theme and format.
Examples include podcasts, video or webinar series, article columns. You should target this content to several audiences to maximize ROI and publish at least every two weeks. Since they are weekly or bi-weekly activities, plan for them well ahead in your calendar.
Season special: like the Christmas special of your favorite series, this content appears quarterly or annually. They are usually white papers, reports, and large pieces. Some examples are the yearly Gartner or Content Marketing Institute reports. The theme stays consistent year after year, and readers know what to expect. Therefore, the report should align with your brand and tone.
Regular posts: These are the bread and butter of your content strategy. They have the job of keeping your audience interested and engaged. A difference of the other two strategies, you should vary the topic and the format to get an interesting mix. The audience can also vary according to the topic, but it should align with your general content strategy. An example is our own Uniclix blog. We have our regular posts to keep you updated with the last tips on social media and e-commerce.
Ideally, you should mix those three strategies in your general content plan.
Step 3: Schedule and Execute your Plan
Once you have your strategy in place and a nice set of assets to start, it’s time for action. Planning can involve planning meetings. You should schedule the meetings before the next publishing period, for example, next month or quarter.
Your team can pitch topics, decide on realistic publishing dates, and schedule the content. You can also review the content performance of the last period. This will help you to adjust and optimize your content strategy. Use your analytics and ROI data to optimize published content, for example, re sharing it.
4 Tips to Make Your Social Media Content Calendar a Success
No matter how frequently you publish your content, you can follow these key principles to achieve success:
- Share with everyone involved: Keep every stakeholder, team member, and relevant client informed. While you should restrict editing permission, keep the calendar visible so everyone is on the same page.
- Update it constantly: change, tweak and update according to your content needs.
- Refine the content repository: review your content repository from time to time. Take the opportunity to refresh, repurpose and send to the ideas storage.
- Tweak the calendar: there’s no one-size-fits all for content calendars. We’re bringing you a tested template we use at Uniclix. However, you can customize it to fit your content strategy. Go ahead, tweak it at your pleasure.
Schedule every Step of the Content Creation
Tutorials and research-focused content requires more than words. Infographics, stats, and images are part of these heavy visual contents. These posts require coordinating the work of designers, researchers, and writers. Sometimes in an assembly-line workflow. For example, when working with infographics, first you need the data, then the design, then the writer does its magic around the data.
You have to coordinate and schedule the work of different people for the same project. Here are some tips to design a workflow:
- Note the type of content piece you are going to work on.
- Break the creation process into steps. Note how long it takes to complete every stage.
- Add each step to the calendar and assign it to the person responsible.
- Repeat with every type of content you produce.
That’s it! You created a workflow for every type of content. Now apply the workflow for every content piece.
… Also Content Updates
Scheduling your content updates can help you keep your content fresh and interesting. Add the updating date for easy to edit pieces, like blog posts. You can also schedule your Social media posts updates, to re-share or re-curate content.
… and Content Audits
Once in a while, conduct a site-wide content audit. Schedule this around the same time every quarter or half-year. You can de-index old and outdated content. This can have a positive impact on your search traffic.
… and your off-site promotions
Your content calendar can do more than schedule posts and articles for your blog and social media. Use it to schedule your off-site promotions, such as live-streaming YouTube or podcast interviews or Facebook events.
Including these activities in your content calendar can help streamline all your content activities. Your staff can align on-site content with off-site events, for example.
Experiment with Your Calendar
Planning your social media content calendar is a huge time-saver. However, you need to leave room to experiment and adapt it. You should monitor the social media arena and adjust your publishing schedule.
Sometimes there is a current event you need to include, or a trending topic you want to tackle. You found a trending topic on Twitter? Add a quick update to ride the wave. Be flexible, and you will keep your audience engaged.
Keep Your Content Aligned to Your Strategy
- If you don’t have an online brand persona yet, create one. You should choose the tone of your communications, formal, informal, casual, or authoritative.
- Does your content match your brand persona? If not, refine the tone and the style to match your voice.
- Focus your content on addressing your audience pain points.
- If you are not yet a trusted source of information, add more quality content and increase your E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
Test the Content before Adding it to the Calendar
The fast pace of work can make you add pitches and ideas to the calendar without a second thought. Wait and check it out first:
- Does it match your brand profile?
- It gives the message you want to convey?
- Is it interesting and engaging? (informative, funny, thought-provoking)
- Would I want to share my content?
- Test the content analytics, if it is not working, change it or eliminate it.
How can the Uniclix App Help?
Uniclix Social Media App is a complete social scheduling tool you can use to manage your content. It allows you to create, schedule and post to multiple social media channels at the same time.
You can color code your different channels for better visibility. The centralized dashboard lets you create posts from the calendar itself, assign tasks, see the schedule, all in the same place.
Here’s how to do it in a few simple steps:
Start by creating your Uniclix account
Step 1: Start by creating your Uniclix account
Go to www.uniclixapp.com Home page to register.
Click on the button Try 14 days for free. You can try Uniclix Social Media Manager for two weeks free of charge.
Step 2: Connect your social accounts
You will find a menu asking you to connect your social media accounts. You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts.
Start scheduling and creating your content!
Step 3: Schedule Your First Post!
- On the top right of your content calendar, click on New Post
- You can also click on the date right on the calendar to start a new post.
- Select the social media channels you want to post to.
- Write/paste your post content in the text box. Add images, media, GIFs to make it more interesting.
Step 4: Schedule your Post
- Select the time you want your post to appear right from the text box menu by selecting Schedule.
- You can choose a custom date or let the app algorithm post at the best time.
- If you want to post immediately, choose Post Now.
- Confirm your option by clicking on the lower right button.
Your post is ready!
In summary, using a content calendar can increase your reach, engage your audience and improve your strategy. Is keeping your staff organized, and your content flowing.
You can start by downloading your calendar template or try our Social Media Manager tool.