calendarCreating a content calendar can help you plan your digital communications in advance, allowing you to maintain a consistent presence, particularly on social media. Used alongside an application like Hootsuite it also means that you can schedule posts in advance, useful if you work part-time or term-time only.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is a document where you can plan in advance the content that you will share across your communications channels.

What should it look like?

A content calendar doesn’t have to have a fancy design or use expensive software. Excel is perfect for creating a functional content calendar.

This is an extract from the partner marketing blogging schedule – an example of a really simple content calendar which focuses on one channel and has one person working on it.

Partner marketing blogging schedule

Content calendars which focus on multiple channels (for example, web content, Twitter, Facebook and newsletters) or that have more than one person working on them will be a little more complex as they will need to include columns for each channel as well as information about who is responsible for producing and sharing the content

content calendar example

Adding your content

First, add any key events, campaigns or significant dates. These could be specific to your area, for example, a summer fair, or could be a date like Mothers’ Day. Think about what content you could share on these days, even if it’s just tweet acknowledging the day to your followers.

You can also add generic content well in advance. In the winter months it can be worth regularly mentioning any information you have on keeping warm or help with heating costs. In the summer you could share content on staying hydrated. If you have a lunch club every week you could share content around that – maybe a link one week and a photo the next.

Putting this in your content calendar not only nudges you to share content regularly but also  gives an overview of any gaps and ensures you aren’t sharing the same content over and over again.

Reassessing your content

Come back to your content calendar once a month or so to update it with new campaigns and events.

Also have a think about what kind of content has been most popular. Can you include similar content? Is the schedule for sharing content realistic given demands on staff time? What works better for you, planning the content word-for-word or writing the content on the day?

Scheduling content

Scheduling social media posts in advance can be really useful to reduce the day-to-day burden of social media. Our video tutorial explains how to use Hootsuite to schedule social media content. Not all social media content can be scheduled in advance, so make sure to keep a note of what’s been scheduled and what needs posting on the day.