When it comes to all the various forms of content we manage, from blogs and social media posts to infographics and videos, organization is vital to keeping all your various team members and assets aligned and on schedule.
There are numerous software packages, apps, and CMS plugins that can assist you in keeping your content organized, but one of the oldest tried-and-true tools is the editorial calendar, which today is updated in the form of a content calendar.
One of the first things we do when assessing content needs for our clients is to provide them with a laundry list of best practices for the various types of content they are looking to create on a regular basis. When is the best day and time to post a blog? A tweet? A LinkedIn post? A sponsored post? How long do you wait to launch an ICYMI campaign to support your blog? What about YouTube videos? When you start looking at every piece and type of content, you begin to see the complexity of keeping everything on schedule. Multiply that by the various departments and partners required to bring these items to launch, then review them, A/B test them, etc… and you wonder how anyone would even attempt it WITHOUT a calendar.
Something as simple as a spreadsheet, or a company-wide calendar in G-Suite or Outlook can go a long ways towards keeping everyone in the loop on what is happening, what is lacking and what is coming up.
Of course, there are more targeted solutions that help you manage things like multiple social channels – Hootsuite for instance, is one of the market leaders when it comes to managing multiple channels, and also scheduling them to launch at the right time. There is a wide selection of WordPress plugins that can repost your long-form blog in a smaller preview/bite-sized format for your social channel of choice.
A word of caution here: You can run yourself in circles trying to find that one perfect solution. Start with the basics. Get a calendar down in writing. Get it shared with the relevant team members within and outside of your organization. Start populating it with the fruit of your ideation sessions (you may want to schedule those as well). The sooner you get in a habit of scheduling your content in all its shapes and forms, the sooner you will attain regularity in your content production, and regularity is the key to building audiences – that and offering them content that speaks to them via research and in-depth persona development.
Beyond basic organization, what are some of the other benefits of a content calendar? Well, for starters you’ll:
- Build an in-depth, easy to view record of your content – one you can look back on to glean valuable data.
- See what subject matter and what formats worked the best, which ones fell short, and amend your strategy accordingly.
- Identify how seasonality affects your content, and in turn how you may need to adjust the publication times of certain content (or make room for content you hadn’t previously considered for a given time of year).
From this view, you can identify evergreen content that, once developed, can conceivably be republished at a later date with minimal updates.
You can also get ahead of various team members being OOO for the holidays, vacations, trade shows and the like. Knowing in advance who is responsible for what will make life infinitely easier for your project managers. And we all know that if your project manager isn’t happy, no one’s happy.
Finally, employing and sticking to a consistent content calendar will actually create new ideas for content. Having that calendar in front of you will spur you onward into new formats, subject matter, and audiences. Knowing that you just ran something a few months ago will force you to innovate instead of re-tread.
But you have to start somewhere. Like any effort towards organization, be it your disorganized garage or a multi-channel content strategy, the first step is the hardest part – once you get the ball rolling you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.
If you’re in need of a content strategy, an update to your current strategy, or simply want a second look to see any gaps in content coverage, drop us a line – we’re listening.