It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But, a content calendar can help you focus and provide a sense of flow for your readers and followers.
No. 1 – Create checklists.
Create a daily, weekly and monthly checklist for each communication platform. If you have multiple platforms, it’s best to start with just one or two channels (i.e. Facebook & Twitter). A daily checklist includes actions to take every day. They may include task functions such as posting, liking, following, commenting, replying, re-sharing, and mentioning. Weekly checklists help monitor tasks that occur 1 to 3 times per week. For example, if you want to share at least 2 infographics per week, include this task on the weekly checklist. Checklists for the month are short in comparison to week and day lists. Monthly tasks require attention once or twice per month. Examples are reviewing monthly analytics and/or re-organizing segment lists.
No. 2 – Review checklists.
Review your checklists before and after each time interval. Look at your daily checklist at the beginning of the day. You’ll eventually memorize the list items after frequent repetition, however, do not skip your end-of-day review! We live in the digital era with many distractions. You will see the benefits to checking off each daily item at the end of the day. Depending on your industry and brand, weekly checklists have varied “begin and finish” days. Use whatever days make sense for your unique needs – you don’t have to use Sunday and Saturday as beginning and end days of the week. Monthly checklists are most effective when screened a few days before the beginning and end of each month. It allows wiggle room for unforeseen problems that require your time and attention.
No. 3 – Pick theme(s).
Choose a theme for the month that is consistent with your industry and brand. A predominant theme assures that varying facets of one subject area gain attention. To offer 360-degrees of content that is related to your business, pick a secondary theme. Re-curate former content that garnered lots of attention and engagement from your audience. Chances are that your followers will show interest again, which may lead them to your new content centered on the month’s primary theme. Peripheral information to your primary subject, photos, and questions also function well for secondary theme content.
No. 4 – Fill in your calendar.
Start inputting entries:
- complete daily checklist
- preview weekly checklist
- review weekly checklist
- preview monthly checklist
- review monthly checklist
Add special holidays, events, and/or your special promotions. Regular day-to-day promotions include calls-to-action (CTA’s) (i.e. “like my Facebook page”). Special promotions are occurrences that happen monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual, or one-time only. Examples are speaking appearances, recognition awards, and/or debut of a new or updated website design.
No. 5 – Write short lists for quick referencing.
Make lists of relevant keywords, hashtags, and network influencers to post, mention, or tag throughout the month. All should be consistent with your primary theme to help boost visibility and extend reach. These lists are short and handy when written down in the margins, notes section, or any empty space on your calendar.
It takes 3 months or longer to get used to new practices. Be patient. Repeat what works for you and modify or eliminate anything that doesn’t help.
Ramp up only when ready – slow and steady progress wins the long-term race!