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“What should we post next on social media?”— One question that has blurred all of our minds.
However, you can save your team from this wrath with a pre-planned content calendar. Hubspot research states that companies that publish more than 16 posts a month generate 3.5 times more traffic than those which publish less than 4.
But it does take a considerable amount of time to produce 16 well-researched and valuable pieces of content a month, and it’s difficult to conjure impactful topics out of the blue without having some kind of strategy.
And oddly enough, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented strategy, which means they resort to an ad-lib approach and come up with the topics they will cover on the fly.
While the impromptu technique is good for some businesses, it is still no excuse for low-quality content. That’s why brands eliminate the risks and start out with strategic planning of a content calendar to churn out high-quality posts.
Now that you know that your marketing ventures need to be documented, let’s find out how a social media content calendar can help you with that effectively.
Need for a Social Media Content Calendar
A content calendar helps you organize your upcoming content by detailing what and when you will post.
With this document in place, you’ll spare yourself the terror of coming up with the topic right before it’s time to get down to work and write your next post as the deadline is looming large on the horizon.
Some of the main benefits of building and maintaining a content calendar include:
1. Keeps You Organized and on Track
Scribbling your content topics on crumpled pieces of paper, post-it notes, and in random notebooks isn’t a particularly reliable method. Also, it’s likely to drift you away from what’s really important amid so many ideas and things to think about.
A content calendar will give you a better perspective of your overall marketing strategy. You’ll be able to align your post topics with your social media and email marketing content.
Besides, it will help you mend content gaps and prevent you from missing your content’s mark (or a deadline!).
2. Excellent for Brainstorming
When you start organizing your content topics with your team, the chances are that some will have a creativity surge, and you end up with a plethora of new ideas. That will help you select better topics and reserve some for later use.
By monitoring and analyzing your audience’s engagement and feedback, you’ll gain valuable insights into their preferences which you can later apply to your content and adjust
3. Maintains Consistency
The 3 Cs of content marketing might as well be consistency, consistency, and consistency. The key to always being on your audience’s radar is offering them educational, relevant, and entertaining content day after day.
Irregular posting leads to an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of scenario no matter how much your audience likes your writing efforts.
You can make use of a social media calendar tool to keep things in check.
4. Keeps Your Audience Engaged
Sometimes you can indeed wing it, but that’s not a method that will work in the long run. When you’re in a hurry to publish something, you might fail to check if it’s a repetitive topic covered beforehand.
Similarly, randomly picked topics that don’t resonate with your audience also hurt your engagement. However, a planned content calendar will allow you to spot such blunders, so you only publish fresh and relevant content.
5. Crucial for Staying in the Know
With such a hectic daily routine, it’s very easy for some important dates to slip your mind. You don’t have to memorize every holiday and be aware that tomorrow is, say, Canadian Thanksgiving Day.
Your content calendar, which is planned at least a month in advance, will inform you about that in time to prepare blogs, social media, and promo posts, so you stay ahead of the curve.
Needless to say, this approach reduces stress and allows you to take your time and craft the best possible post for the occasion instead of whipping something up at the last minute.
6. Provides Visibility Across Departments
Successful companies have their sales and marketing aligned. Stats reveal that when working together, these two departments can close 67% more deals.
A content calendar is a highly useful resource that will keep all your teams on the same page. Your sales team can see what the marketing people have planned and give them tips on addressing their audience’s pain points more precisely.
Also, the executives can take a quick look and see whether the planned activities support the overall marketing plan. This transparency is essential for honing your content strategy and better communication among teams.
7. Executes Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Content and social media marketing are intrinsically connected. A social media content calendar can help you identify your successful content pieces and use them in your paid social media advertising.
Find out your best-performing e-books, reports, infographics, whitepapers, and other valuable content organically on social media channels. Then use them for paid promotion via Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or LinkedIn sponsored content to get your message across your audience.
Given that organic reach on Facebook took a nosedive, meaning that your business page reaches less than 6% of your followers, it’s more than evident why paid advertising is a must.
8. Keeps Track of Your Performance
Measuring the effectiveness and success of your content and overall marketing efforts is possible only if you track your metrics.
Also, establishing certain benchmarks is necessary. By keeping an eye on these numbers, you’ll be able to tweak and fine-tune your content and give your audience what they need and want.
It’s worth noting that many renowned digital marketing agencies recommend building a content calendar. If you take a look at their websites, blogs, and social media channels, you can conclude that they have one themselves.
What Should a Social Media Content Calendar Include?
Let’s head straight to the most important matter and learn how to build a content calendar properly.
You can use numerous approaches to create them. But regardless of the approach, here are the pillar elements for an effective editorial calendar.
1. Crafting a Relevant Headline
When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents of your dollar, said David Ogilvy.
So, you’d better make your headlines shine if you want your audience to even consider reading the rest of your blog post or any content for that matter.
During the early stages of content development, you can use a general topic to label that specific entry on your calendar, but when you start working on a particular piece, consider your title/headline carefully.
This blog post got more than 18,000 social shares. The headline has all elements of a great headline – it’s in a list format (which also makes the post easily scannable), and it evokes an emotion (anxiety, surprise or fear).,
It’s a good idea to use a social media content curation tool to find the most popular content on the internet and social media for more headline inspirations.
2. Picking the Best Publish Dates
This is a critical piece of information, so make sure to set realistic expectations and stick to your plan. Every time you extend your deadline, you miss out on generating new leads and conversions.
Of course, we’re all tempted to improve our content and tweak it additionally. Publishing dates will help you speed up the process and avoid getting caught in the web of perfectionism.
Since you’re going to promote your content on social media, it’s crucial to learn about the best days and times for posting on every particular platform. This step will ensure that your social media posts are shared with the right people.
At SocialPilot, we have created some useful reads to help you find the best time to post on different social media platforms and seizing the window of opportunity to show and engage your audience. Explore in-depth studies of popular platforms from here.
- The best time to post on Facebook
- The best time to post on Twitter
- The best time to post on LinkedIn
- The best time to post on TikTok
- The best time to post on Instagram
3. Decide on the Type of Content
According to Cisco, video traffic will account for more than 82% of all business and consumer traffic by 2022. In a similar vein, infographics are three times more liked and shared on social media than any other type of content.
So, if you want to entice your audience, use a content mix that includes different types of content in your content calendar. Include long-form content, short-form content, visual content, webinars, podcasts, e-books, and presentations. Webinars are excellent lead magnets, while short posts can inform your audience about trends and upcoming features or the latest news from the industry.
Each of these formats serve a particular purpose. For example, longer posts with 2000+ words can be structured as useful how-to guides. A research study of more than 1 million Google search results concluded that the average word count of a first-page result is 1447.
4. Include a CTA
Every piece of content should have a call-to-action that will entice your audience to take the desired action and convert. If you don’t have a CTA in your blog post, infographic, or video, you’re losing out on numerous business opportunities.
It’s important to include a catchy CTA to propel your marketing efforts towards accomplishing your end goal. It will also help you determine whether your posts and activities are aligned with your overall marketing strategy.
5. Assign Tracking Codes
Content creation takes time, and you need to find a way to keep tabs on how the process progresses. You can use different labels to track your content, such as in progress, completed, proofreading, scheduled, and published.
Using colors can be very helpful as it allows you to communicate different stages of the creation process. This method is great because everyone involved can see whether things are going smoothly and spot potential bottlenecks at a glance.
6. Establish Who’s in Charge of What Deliverable
A lot of effort and coordination is needed to make a content piece go live. Every member of your team is responsible for ensuring that the content is completed and published as per the assigned deadline.
To understand it better, let’s consider a quick scenario. Your team is expected to create a blog that should go live on the website in a week. It should be additionally promoted on social media.
Now for this simple task, you need the help of the following team members:
- A specialist to search for ranking keywords
- A writer to write the blog
- A proofreader/editor to polish the content by suggesting quality edits
- A front end developer to publish a blog on site
- A copywriter to create a catchy caption with CTA
- A graphic designer to create relevant visuals
- A social media manager to schedule and monitor the post with all its elements intact on all major platforms
Crazy, isn’t it? A content calendar will help keep the picture clear, so the stakeholders and managers know who is responsible for what deliverable. It additionally clarifies when members are needed so they can set their priorities accordingly.
Creating content is fun, but you won’t get away with an ad-hoc approach if you want to do it properly. Brainstorming a couple of ideas on the day you’re about to write your next post simply isn’t a trade of profit. Moreover, it can hurt your content marketing in the long run.
Success lies in aligning every piece of content with your overall marketing and branding strategy. And for that, you need a detailed and itemized content calendar to create a consistent schedule.
There are multiple excel and spreadsheet templates available online. But if you are a budding agency or SMB who posts on social media frequently, use a tool like SocialPilot to keep track of your social media content schedule from scratch.
Take its free trial, and you will see its wonder in growing your audience, producing top-quality content, and distributing it successfully.