Last week, we talked to Olivia Davis, the content strategist at Soulheart, who gave us a breakdown about how content strategy works. Today, we’ll look at an essential element of a successful content strategy — content calendars.
A content calendar – marking down the dates for social media posts, blog posts, and other types of content you routinely deliver — serves the same purpose as your real-life calendar. It lets you know what to work on and when to work on it. It keeps you on schedule and helps you ensure that your blog is cohesive and interesting.
1. Content calendars put an end to last-minute scrambling for content.
We’ve all been there burning the midnight oil because we forgot to make a post that commemorates a national holiday or news story. Or perhaps frantically writing a last-minute caption on a subpar photo.
A content calendar puts an end to this because it knows the future – literally! It makes it easy to prepare for holiday posts (Christmas in July might be a bit early, but Christmas in November, maybe not) and gives you a clear vision of what you have to produce and when so that you can prioritize accordingly.
A content calendar lets you take a bird’s-eye view on what you’re producing, giving you an invaluable opportunity to make sure that all of your content is strategically working to reach your audience. You can think about what’s been going on in the life of your business and how you can seize your unique position to help other people through your services, products, or ideas.
A calendar gives us freedom, giving us time to focus on what’s really important.
2. They make it easy to keep track of company events.
Many nonprofits have an annual fundraising event once of year. Much of our time and energy goes into planning the event because important donations hinge on its success. This can easily become overwhelming with logistics, administrative information, staff personnel, catering, and site visits. These make it very easy to forget about one of the most important things: promotion. We want people to come, and that’s only going to happen if we promote it!
Promotional content can take many different forms — social media, blogging, other advertisements — and a content calendar will make us think through promotional content ahead of time. It does a lot more than drum up a save-the-date and a few flyers. Instead, it will help you position yourself so that various different messages target all members of your audience. It will help you cast your event in a new and interesting light each time.
3. Content calendars let you be strategic.
Almost everyone who runs a company is always thinking about strategy. There’s a business strategy, marketing strategy, department strategy, a financial strategy, and, probably, a strategy for your strategy! This myriad of different strategy types underscores their importance: they are what keeps a company running in the long term. We keep talking about them because strategies are tough — it’s difficult to stay ahead of the game and keep things running in the present. However, a content calendar can slice the difficulty of strategizing in half because it helps you see all of your content at once.
At Soulheart, we talk about our strategy through the lens of our mission. Our mission is to make a positive impact on the lives of others. When we have a mission, the content calendar becomes a way to accomplish that mission. We can use the calendar to create a strategic vision for content production that works on both the small scale (creating single posts that are interesting, entertaining, and informative) and the large scale (participating in our mission to help other people while also generating website traffic).
Get specific about the results you want, and then use a content calendar to reverse engineer it all the way back to the first post you make.
4. Content calendars save massive amounts of time.
What’s the one thing you need more of? Time, of course. A content calendar won’t give you 40-hour days; however, it will maximize your efficiency.
When done right, a content calendar gives you a laser-focus on each step in the content creation process. It makes you think through the right questions so that you can track your progress and how the audience responds. Focused, helpful content drives traffic to your website and creates a solid base of dedicated readers, some of whom may become your clients or customers later on in the game.
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