Looking to upgrade your marketing strategy as a small business owner? One of the things you can do to help you with that is to have a content calendar. This handy tool is a great way to stay organized, easily visualize your planned content, and stay on top of things.
If you’re looking to create a content calendar for your business, here are some tips to help you get started.
What is A Content Calendar?
A content calendar is essentially a calendar that contains the schedule of your upcoming content for the month. This includes your social media content, blog posts, email newsletters, webinars, and other content that is suitable for your business.
A content calendar can come in different forms. You could put them in a simple spreadsheet, plot them on Google Calendar, or use various content scheduling software available online.
For larger businesses, they have separate calendars for each platform (for example, a separate social media calendar and blog post editorial calendar), but for a small business, you’ll probably have a smaller amount of content to be posted, so you can place them all in one calendar.
Why Do Small Businesses Need A Content Calendar?
As a small business owner, you might think that planning out content for a whole month might seem unnecessary. Especially if you are just starting, you might not have loads of content to share just yet.
But having a content calendar is a great way to improve your marketing process. You won’t have to waste time rushing to create a video for an event if you have planned for it ahead. Nor will you have to come up with random posts just to keep your social media pages active. This ensures that your posts are of higher quality and more relevant to your audience.
Having a content calendar also reduces mistakes. If you give yourself enough time to create your content and time to review it, there’s less chance of you producing content that is filled with errors and mistakes.
And most importantly, creating a content calendar gives you a bigger picture of your overall marketing strategy. This will help you spot areas of improvement and create content that can help you achieve your business goals, whether you’re looking to increase your brand’s visibility or get more sales.
How To Create A Content Calendar
Set your goals
Before creating any content strategy, it’s best to define your short-term and long-term goals. For example, are you aiming to:
Grow your social media followers?
Get engagement on your social media posts?
Direct people to your website?
Get readers to your blog?
Build awareness for your brand?
Drive more sales to your products?
Your goals will have a direct effect on the type of content you’ll create, as well as when and where you’ll post it. It will also make it easier for you to come up with content ideas if you know what the expected result is.
If you don’t have a set goal, not only will you waste time and resources, there’s a high chance that you’ll create content that might even hurt your brand’s image. Having goals is also helpful to give you a benchmark on whether your content is a success or not. This will also allow you to see what you can do to improve for the future.
Identify Your Audience
As with any content marketing strategy, the most important thing is to create content that your audience will find engaging and find value in. And the best way to come up with content that caters to your audience is by knowing them first.
You can start by figuring out the basic information about them, such as:
To dig deeper into how they interact with content, for example:
What social media platforms do they use?
How frequently do they visit social media sites, and when do they use them?
Do they like reading blogs?
Do they prefer long informative articles or infographics?
Do they like watching videos?
If they like videos, do they prefer to watch short or long ones?
Do they listen to podcasts?
Are they interested in webinars?
By figuring out what your audience likes and where they are usually active, it will be easier for you to prioritize what kind of content to create.
Start Planning Your Content
Now that you know your audience, you probably have a great idea of the kind of content that they’ll like. But if you’re struggling to come up with content ideas, here are examples for you for some inspiration:
Behind the scene videos
Interviews or Q&As
Educational, how-to articles
Funny or relatable memes
Freebies or giveaways
Social media games or contests
Shared content from relevant, third-party sources
For your visual content, make sure they are in line with your branding. This means that your logo design is visible, you are using your brand colors and typography, and your images/ illustrations are fitting for your brand. By having set branding, you build your brand identity with each of your posted content, as well as increase awareness and brand recognition with your target audience.
If you do not have a logo design yet, there are various logo makers available online. Most of these are free, which might be helpful for small businesses that don’t have the big bucks to shell out for design agencies.
Then for your written content, such as your blog posts, make sure those are also in line with your brand voice. Brand voice is the “personality” that brands use when communicating with their audience. For example, do you want to come off as friendly and approachable? Humorous and witty? Or knowledgeable and authoritative? Your brand voice should be seen in all your written content, from your blog posts to your Twitter posts.
Figure Out Your Posting Schedule and Frequency
As a small business, one of your goals for creating content is to increase your brand’s visibility and reach. And while being consistently active on multiple platforms is one of the easiest ways to do that, it’s probably impossible to do, especially if you have limited resources and workforce.
Your posting schedule and frequency should depend on your goals, audience, industry, and available workforce. But to just give you a general idea, here’s the recommended schedule:
Facebook - Friday and Saturday, between 6 pm-9 pm
Twitter - Wednesday and Friday, between 9 am-12 pm
Instagram - Saturday, between 6 pm-9 pm
YouTube - Friday, between 6 pm-9 pm
TikTok - Saturday and Sunday, between 6 pm-9 pm
LinkedIn - Monday, Wednesday, or Tuesday, between 9-12 pm
Blog Posts - Weekdays, between 9 am-10 am
Podcasts - Wednesday, Tuesday, or Thursday, between 2 am-5 am
Email Newsletters - Thursday, 8 am-9 am
Webinars - Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, between 10 am-11 am
Sort Out Your Process
Now that you have a great idea of the content you’ll do and the amount of content you’ll need, it’s time to set a process in place.
Figure out who’ll be handling the creation of the content, who’s going to review and approve the content, as well as who’s responsible for uploading the finished output. Don’t forget to set due dates and deadlines as well.
Having a project management tool might make it easier for you to assign tasks and create a better workflow for your team. By having a clear process in place, you can create your content in the most efficient way possible.
Start Creating Your Calendar
It’s now time to create your calendar. There are loads of free templates available online that you can use as a starting point or create your own. The important thing is to choose one that makes the most sense for you and your business.
The basic information that is usually in the calendar are:
Date and time
The platform or channel where you’ll post the content
The content itself, whether it’s a link to your blog article or a video file
Copy or text
You can also color-code your calendar accordingly; for example, mark all your Facebook posts as blue, Instagram as pink, blog posts as yellow, and so on. Your calendar will also evolve and improve over time, so don’t worry if your calendar is still simple as of now.
Measure Your Results
With the rise of technology, measuring the results of your content is now easier than ever. You can use the analytics in your chosen social media platforms, in your email newsletter tool, or check Google Analytics for your website performance.
This should give you an idea of how your content performed and see if there is a particular trend, pattern, or content type that is effective for your business. For example, do your short videos work better? Does your audience prefer reading 3000-word blog posts over your 1000-word posts? Do your posts perform better on Instagram compared to Facebook? Does posting in the afternoon instead of the morning work better for you? And so on.
Once you know what kind of content works best for your audience, you can create more engaging content in the future.
For your business to be successful, having a solid marketing strategy is key. And your content calendar is a great way to help you run your marketing more efficiently and effectively than ever.
And while creating a content calendar might be daunting at first, it doesn’t have to be. By following the steps listed above, you should be able to make your own content calendar that can help guide you in your marketing strategies.