I think we’re all in agreement that content is the lifeblood of our business. Without content out in front of our audience, no one knows we’re there or what we have to offer.
And posting content willy-nilly doesn’t really work, because we lose track of where our content is and who we’ve shared it with.
There are as many content calendar templates and ideas as there are day planners and ice cream flavors. That is to say, the options are nearly endless. Some business owners do well with project management boards and visual calendars while others work better with lists and Excel spreadsheets. I’m definitely in the latter camp, relying on a Google doc to both plan out my blog content and create all my social posts that my VA posts for me.
I regularly work three months in advance on my content and have found this not only helps me combat writer’s block but also helps me develop ideas more fully. If you’re looking to create (or recreate) a content calendar for your own business, here are some tips! (And if you’re looking for a template to follow, you can download an annotated PDF version of what I use to plan my blog and social content.)
Planning for Writing
Getting ready to write can leave you with a huge case of writer’s block. Shoot, I recently suffered from it as well—staring at my computer screen without anything coming out my fingertips.
Prepping ahead of time is a big key to the writing puzzle, something we often forget to do. I have a long list of possible blog topic ideas, and I use my blogs to drive any other content I publish in a given week or month.
One way to do this is to give each month a theme. If you’re a seasonal business, like a calligrapher or interior designer, base your themes on upcoming seasons or holidays. If you’re a service-based business with course launches, you can use your launches to formulate your content calendar.
Once you have a list of themes, decide how many times you will blog (or vlog) in a given month. I post a blog once a week, but every business’s needs are different. Figure out what works for you! Then write down a topic for every blog post so you’ll stick to it!
[bctt tweet=”Stuck on #content ideas? Use monthly themes to help you plan.” username=””]
Write – and Write Some More
As I’m writing my blog posts, I’m constantly searching for insights for others in the industry. I do a lot of research to gather ideas and find other ways of doing things in an effort to bring my audience the most value possible.
In addition, I keep track of links to those resources and use them as social media posts and quotes during the week of my blog post. I will add them to my social calendar as I find them while they’re fresh in my mind and so they don’t get lost! I’m actually creating both my blog and supporting social content at the same time!
[bctt tweet=”#Content tip: Create your #blog and #social content at the same time!” username=””]
Posting and Sharing
Of course, all of this content creation would be for naught if I wasn’t sending it out into the world for others to consume. I’ve recently started delegating my blog and social graphics as well as blog and social posting to a virtual assistant. Once the blog is scheduled to go live (ideally weeks in advance!), my VA creates social graphics (if needed) and schedules all the social posts.
The best part of this system is that there’s no hunting around for social content on the fly and I literally don’t have to think about my blog or social posts again, with the exception of interacting when there are comments or questions. It’s all very low-stress and totally manageable.
Prepare for Changes
I’d be kidding myself if I thought that there would never be changes to my content calendar. As I mentioned, writer’s block happens and sometimes I have a whole month of ideas planned only to figure out I didn’t have a lot to say on the topic in the first place. That’s when I rearrange topics or scrap them altogether. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I also find that I have something I want or need to say and I can’t wait several months, until the next opening in my content calendar. In cases like these, I’ll write and post on the fly—even if it doesn’t fall on a Tuesday, my regular blog day. This happened several months ago when I felt the need to address some frustrations I was having with Facebook groups.
Another addition I regularly make to my content calendar is tweeting blogs from fellow online entrepreneurs. I love supporting these business owners and sharing their quality content with my audience.
Creating a content calendar is a huge time saver and a big stress reliever for. It’s efficient and allows me to take one huge task off my plate for large chunks of time. I plan ahead and outsource as much as I can and it’s turned my blog and other content into a great marketing tool that I can keep growing as my business grows.
If you’re stressed about creating a content calendar for your own business, we can hash it out in a Map It Out session. We’ll find a system that works for you and set you up for success.