Last week I talked about setting goals. We covered the how’s and the whys, but now I want to dive a little deeper and cover a tool that is invaluable to holding the goals you have set concerning your content and social media marketing. This tool is the editorial calendar.

The Benefits

Why should you build a content calendar? I get it you are a person who likes to play it by ear. There are things that happen that cannot be predicted and you are afraid that you will lose that spontaneity that your brand is famous for. I assure you I get it. Then again you might want to look at the path you have run so far and see how much “on Target” your message really is. You might be surprised that you find you’re actually all over the place. You have lost the message you are trying to convey by following the shiny object for the week.  What if I said a content calendar could help your spontaneity and stay on message at the same time?

Keep your Message on track with a Content Calendar.Click To Tweet

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What is your message for this year? What message do you want to convey? When a person looks at your brand they think what? Coke is all about smiling. With the have a coke and a smile campaign and this Coke is for “Insert Persons Name here” Coke-a-Cola is all about smiling. Sharing happiness. In the most boiled down essence, Coke makes you happy. That is their message. We will make you smile. So what is your message? What is your mission for your business? If you don’t have that down yet then do so. Even if you are reading this and don’t have a business. This is a good exercise to have.

What is this year going to be about? Mine is Freedom Growth and Purpose. Which form my year’s mission statement of Growing with a set purpose so that I will attain personal and financial freedom. So with your mission statement, you can then set out to plan your year. Your mission statement can be positive. Your business can ensure everybody leaves with a smile. Yes, you can steal Coke’s message just not their slogans. This is the year of “Your Positive thought” But find your message for this year.

Doing this will help you keep your message on track. So if something big happens you can respond to it. Share condolences for a tragedy or add some much-needed levity if it is appropriate. Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you can’t stay relevant. In fact, it helps you stay relevant even more. Because you can weave your message and your responses to the current event.

Get Granular

When you have an overhead view of your goal and your objective you are able to then get granular. You can look at each month and each week. If there are certain hashtag days that are coming up like Talk like a pirate day you can make special posts just for those days and have that post ready to launch at those scurvy dogs who happen to be your fans. Or if you may find that your favorite month becomes national dessert month if you are a bakery. These different events are super useful to help you plan ahead of time and be able to stay relevant in popular culture.

Easier to come up with topics

When you have events laid out and your months planned it makes thinking of a topic for your blog and social media posts a lot easier cause you have done the research as to what people are probably talking about. You know that everybody will be posting Star wars Memes on May 4th. So why not make up a great one or find your favorites and share them throughout the day. You can write a blog post centered on star wars. Choose any other event or day or week or even month of observance, and craft a blog post or two around it. When you plan your schedule out ahead in advanced you find that you make your efforts to spread your message that much easier and clearer.

How do you make an Editorial or Content Calendar?

This is up to you. You are able to design a calendar in any fashion you would like. I have used with success, an actual calendar, and a spreadsheet. Both work wonders and can be easy it incorporate into your morning routine. The trick is to get it into your morning routine. Either weekly or daily is the best. Looking at it monthly is just way too long in between times. It offers the ability for you to get sidetracked on other things and lose sight of your message.

Use An Actual Calendar

You can use a desk blotter if you like but I was thinking of something a bit more flexible like, Google Calendar has the ability to create multiple calendars that can be specific to different topics. For instance, I have a Family holiday calendar, a Family Birthday Calendar, The hashtag of the day calendar, a family calendar, and 3-4 others.

I have been able to create and delete calendars as they are needed. You are able to show a calendar and set how and when it needs to send out notifications. So the Versatility is off the charts. Then with your smartphone, you can have that calendar go with you at all times. You can add new items or edit them as needed.

Excel spreadsheet

This is a bit more versatile way to add more detail to your content calendar. You can create a sheet for each month. Then split that sheet into weeks with those weeks split into days if that fits your need.  The month has a section set up for the topic of that month. Then each week can cover a subtopic. If there are special days in that week you can mark them out.

You can also add more details as you find the need. A couple of examples could be, what do you want to have posted on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram? You can set up what images you want to have associated with each post. The potions can be as specific or as vast as you choose. If you want a copy of my excel calendar you can download it here.

The way I make my calendar is as follows.

  1. Choose the yearly theme
  2. Split that theme up into 12 parts (One For each month)
  3. Each month I choose around 6 topics to write about. These are the weekly blog posts plus two alternates in case I am not feeling a topic when I am writing.
  4. I try to add 4 keywords for each month I would like seen in each post.
  5. I also look up the National Calendar to see what the monthly, weekly and daily observances. I cross those with what national hashtag day is happening then.
  6. For the week I enter the topic I chose and add 4 specific keywords that I want to target.
  7. Finally, I sprinkle the different interesting national days of observance I have come across.

Now, this doesn’t have to be done all at once. I actually fill it out once a month. So at the end of the month, I will fill out next month’s calendar and be ready to go.

As you can see it takes a little work and discipline but the payoff is a lot less panic as you try to think of what you are going to write about for tomorrows post. DO you use a special editorial calendar? If show please share in the comments below.

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Bryan Goodwin

Social Media Manager at Goodwin Social Media
Bryan has been in the social media field in one form or another. whether it is blogging, podcasting, or trying out the latest social network . There is a good chance that you will find him talking somewhere.
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How to Create an Editorial Calendar
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