In today’s market, having a social media presence is a big part of branding. Customers expect to see you on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. As a consumer yourself, you know how hard it is to cut through all the noise and the glut of content. An editorial calendar can help your business focus social media efforts and get the most bang for your buck.
Pencil Me In
An editorial calendar is pretty much what it sounds like. In this blog, we’re talking specifically about an editorial calendar for content. Call it a content calendar. This is a map of what you’ll be posting and where you’ll be posting it for the coming week, month, or even year. It’s a tracking mechanism that holds you accountable for your social media presence and allows you to make a plan that works best for your brand. There are plenty of examples and free templates online when it comes to building your content calendar. Have a look at what similar businesses are doing for some ideas and guidelines if you’re just getting started.
What, Where, When
The creation of a content calendar should consider what, where, and when. What are you posting? Is it a blog? A promotion for an upcoming sale? Maybe a link to an industry-related article? It’s good to mix up your content to keep people interested by offering more than just sales-related material. This variety can cultivate a business’s reputation as a knowledgeable, trustworthy source of information.
Where are you posting your content? It’s a good idea to tailor content to each platform and the related demographic. Even if you post about the same blog to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, your caption can be different. Consider the audience at each connection and use the language that speaks to that target market.
When are you posting content? Do some research to identify days and dates that are related to your business. An ice cream emporium can do special promotions and posts on National Ice Cream Day or other desert-related days. Include campaigns and promotions on a content calendar to ensure your social media is in line with other marketing efforts.
As a business with a social media presence, your goal is to both attract new followers and hang onto the ones you already have. This can be done by sticking to a consistent posting schedule. That gives your audience something to anticipate and a reason to return to your channels again and again. Over time, you can build a reputation as an authority in your subject matter, earning customer loyalty and trust. Going dark for an extended period or trying to play catch-up with an avalanche of posts shows poor planning that followers will notice.
Consistency is important but also allow for flexibility in your content calendar. Maintenance could interrupt scheduled posts or the launch of a new product could take precedence over the usual weekly post. The ability to shuffle content or adapt to changes is facilitated by a calendar that has all your conteinformationtin in one place.
Be sure to note any blackout periods due to vacations or other interruptions. A note indicating the absence of posts is less confusing than blank space for anyone consulting the content calendar. After all, the idea is to be able to look ahead and know what to expect.
Content Calendar Guidelines
When filling your editorial calendar with business-related content, there are a couple of marketing rules that can serve as helpful guidelines. The advantage of using a content calendar is that you can see whole chunks of time at a glance. That makes it easier to assess the kind of content you’re posting and its related frequency.
- one-third of content promotes the business or generates leads
- another third of content comes from a source that aligns with your business
- the final third of content engages with followers directly
- 80% of content should be helpful and interesting to followers
- 20% of content should sell your product
Past, Present, and Future
A content calendar is by default a record of your social media posts. It can help you avoid redundancies and also identify patterns, good or bad. Assess what you’ve scheduled by looking at the related analytics. Why not boost a post that’s done well to get even more eyeballs on it? Use your calendar as a reference by looking at past work to generate ideas or find a starting point for this year’s campaign. You can even use the calendar as a training tool for someone new to your social media team.
The way you organize your content calendar is up to you. Categorize by type of content by noting blog, video, or announcement. Create columns for self-promotional content, curated content, and user-generated content. Do what makes sense for you and your team, based on how you’re using social media. Whatever satisfies the objective of giving a clear view of upcoming posts will work.
The effort it takes to create a content calendar may be daunting, but it’s well worth the time. Take advantage of available examples and templates to get started, then customize a calendar to suit your business. The result will be a well-coordinated, thoughtful social media presence that connects with your audience.