A simple editorial calendar strategy can greatly increase your productivity and effectiveness.
A great man once said that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While I don’t fear failure I never plan on failing. Nobody does. But the hard fact is most people don’t take the time to put together a solid plan when it comes to their social media efforts.
Is it a lack of focus? A lack of clear-cut goals? Or is it just not knowing where to start?
Well I’m effectively taking that last option off the table for you. If you have trouble with the other two, you are always welcome to schedule some time with me to help you work through focus and goals.
In the meantime, let’s start with a plan.
I’m going to give you at least a basic idea of how to plan your content (social and/or blogging) calendar. It’s not rocket science.
Some of you may even think, “that’s too simple, give me something more.” Well before you ask that, let me as you this— are you doing the simple work?
Are you getting it done already? Or are you just letting procrastination, inaction and laziness hide behind the mask of “I need something ‘deeper’ to feed off of.”
Okay, I wont go into a rant about procrastination and excuses— let’s just do this. Deal?
Let’s Do This!
Sit down, put away the distractions and map this out for yourself. The planning flow will look like this:
Before we get started though, I wanted to state that the first step should always be identifying your audience and topics. To keep this post simple and to-the-point, I’m assuming you’ve already done that work.
Fair enough? Cool, let’s get started.
Start with a calendar, any calendar will do. If you’re a pen and paper kind of person (like my wife) then do that. If you’re a digitalist like myself, use your digital calendar of choice. You might actually want to take a look at Coschedule, one of the newest additions to My Toolbox.
There’s also a number of great content calendar templates out there. Here’s a few I recommend:
- A Content Marketing Editorial Calendar That Works by Coschedule
- Editorial and Social Media Calendars from Web. Search. Social.
- Sample Editorial Calendar Template from Content Marketing Institute
Next, identify all the holidays or special events happening in the calendar month ahead (or the one you’re currently in). If there are any special days in that month, be aware of them and create or curate content that will be relevant/trending on that day.
On any given week there are a number of trends that you may be able to tag onto in order to gain some great exposure. There are hashtags that are specific for particular days of the week or even weekly social media events that you can tap into. For example:
- Tuesdays = #StarWarsTuesday. People post interesting/funny things about Star Wars and use the hashtag.
- Wednesdays = #BufferChat. Buffer does a weekly twitter chat.
- Fridays = #TGIF or #FridayDanceParty. I’m determined to make that a thing.
- Saturdays = #Caturday. People post interesting/funny pictures/videos of cats… yeah, I know, but it’s a thing.
Find those weekly trends that people in your target audience will be participating in and/or interested in and put them on the calendar. Twitter chats, trending topics, weekly events (such as TV shows) are great ways to join in on a conversation that is already thriving and be exposed to a larger audience.
Remember though– be relevant, not just a trend-jacker.
Now here’s where the real work is. Day in, day out– feeding the content monster (as my friend Justin Wise once put it).
I’m convinced that no matter who your audience is, they crave 3 types of content:
- Informational: Things that feed their knowledge.
- Inspirational: Things that fuel their fire.
- Entertaining: Things that make them smile.
Make it your daily goal to fill all three content types.
This goes back to understanding the psychology behind why people share things. I’ve shared about this in one of my Insider newsletters, but to save some reading time on this one I’ll just recommend you go look up Contagious by Jonah Berger. It’s a fantastic book with incredible insights.
Every day you’ll want to fill your content queue with all three types of content. Shoot for a ratio of 25/25/50.
- 25% Informational
- 25% Inspirational
- 50% Entertaining
Or maybe your audience is more of the data-head or the learned type so you’d want to give them:
- 50% Informational
- 25% Inspirational
- 25% Entertaining
Or maybe your audience is more into being inspired and you’d want to make the 50% portion inspiration and the other two 25%.
The point is to give your audience enough variety that they wont get bored, with an emphasis on what they really want most.
Now how many posts a day does this mean?
Well, I’ll let you decide. Maybe it’s an easy 4 times a day. Maybe it’s 12. Gauge the volume tolerance of your audience and go from there. Whatever number you choose, try to keep it constant and realistic because you need to feed that content monster every single day.
To feed this content monster you either need to be both creating content and curating.
Curating is the art of finding, organizing and/or presenting things. Much like the museum curator or the art gallery curator:It’s your job to find stuff that your audience will love most. Be a curator.Click To Tweet
So first decide how much you can create and how much you need to curate. Or maybe you want to start by seeing how much you can curate and then create the rest.
Either way, fill that daily quota. Some days will be easier than others and the weekly events/trends and monthly holidays/events will definitely help, but the idea is to create a content plan that will become a routine.
Once you’ve got a plan and a routine you can expand, refine and experiment.
For further reading on the subject my friend Peg Fitzpatrick has shared her thoughts on How to Get Organized with an Editorial Calendar, Buffer has a great piece about Choosing a Content Calendar, and Matthew Kaboomis Loomis has shared some great thoughts on why bloggers need a content calendar.
One Last Thing
Never trade quality for quantity. More than anything else I believe you should lead with quality over quantity.
There’s no shortage of content out there. The problem is sorting through it all to find the real gems. If you can position yourself as a maker and curator of quality content you will stand out among the crowd of link-litterers and auto-posters.
You can do better. You will do better. Now go to work.
What do you think? Simple enough to act upon? Are you already working an editorial calendar? You can leave a comment by clicking here.