As a marketer, chances are that you rely on a content calendar to plan your content in advance.
But are you working way too hard? 👀
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is your content calendar in spreadsheet form?
- Does your content calendar have every space filled with an update?
- Is every post in your content calendar unique?
- Do you spend WAY too much time planning out your posts?
- Are you choosing dates and times manually for every post?
- Do you do a lot of copying and pasting?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you guessed it: you’re working TOO HARD!
Your content calendar should be a living, breathing entity that allows you to be flexible, to recycle your Evergreen content, to plan campaigns effectively, and of course, to save time! If your current calendar isn’t checking those boxes, you need to consider moving to a tool that does.
Your Spreadsheet is Failing You
Don’t get us wrong, there’s a time and a place for a good spreadsheet.
But planning your content is not one of those times.
Spreadsheets lack the easy flexibility required in today’s marketing game; not to mention, they can severely hinder your creativity.
Who wants to input data into a spreadsheet, manually setting times and dates, then export it all out again to your social scheduling tool?
When all your content is planned in a spreadsheet, you lack the flexibility to move things around with drag and drop; you have to manually decide on days and times to post, and you have to input all your content at least twice: once to plan, once to schedule, then again if you want to recycle. (And you really should recycle.)
What if we told you there was a way that you can plan, schedule, preview and recycle your content in one place, across all your platforms, with no manual scheduling and no manual recycling? And what’s more, you can do all your social reporting in one place, eliminating the need for multiple tools?
We’ll get to that good stuff in a minute. First of all, let’s familiarise ourselves with some key foundations of content planning.
How to Make Content Planning Suck Less
No matter what industry you’re in, there are a few solid principles you should follow when mapping out your social content for the month (or year).
Give Every Social Platform a Clear Purpose
First, you need to understand why you’re using each social network.
Without goals, you don’t know what you’re working towards.
Ask yourself some questions about what you want to achieve:
- What are your goals for your overall social presence?
- What are you looking to accomplish on each individual network?
- How much new traffic do you want? By when?
Next, place some numbers behind those goals, and set individual goals for each social network you use.
Don’t be put off if you don’t know what numbers are realistic for you. By the time you’ve conducted a social media audit to see where you’re at, you’ll start getting the idea of what you could aim for.
With your brand new goals in mind, you are now ready to make a plan.
Each social network you use should have its own plan and its own strategy.
Yes, you need separate plans for each network, because no two audiences are the same.
Here’s a rough guide to what content works on which platform:
- Facebook: Videos, curated content, ads and customer service
- Instagram: High-res photos, quotes, creative ideas
- Instagram Stories: Behind-the-scenes content, videos, exclusive insider access or bitesize news
- Twitter: News, blog posts, GIFs, customer service and connections
- LinkedIn: Jobs, company news, and professional content
- Pinterest: Infographics and step-by-step photo guides
- Facebook Groups: Questions, tips and discussions that build engaged communities with shared interests
So, give each of your networks a short mission statement for how it will advance your goals. For example:
- Facebook will primarily allow us to target the exact right people with our best-performing content (via ads), in order to drive traffic, leads and brand awareness.
Instagram will allow us to show off our creative side; as well as our more playful, human side via Stories.
- Twitter will help us reach and connect with people that are engaged in our industry topics, as well as provide instant service to our existing customers.
- LinkedIn will be where we’ll attract B2B customers and new talent.
- Pinterest will function as a traffic driver for our blog and content marketing.
- Facebook Groups will enable us to engage directly with smaller groups of people with niche interests, learning from them and building relationships and loyalty.
Be Realistic, and Consistent
Make sure you’re honest with yourself about how often you can post, how many videos you can make, and how much interaction you can manage each month.
Then, when you build out your calendar, you’ll know that your plan is realistic.
At the same time, if you know that you have a big campaign coming up, a conference, or another social-heavy event, you can build it into your content calendar so that there are no longer any surprises.
When you look ahead to those big events, you can break them into small, manageable portions of work. As a result, you’re making fully informed, current decisions, based on both immediate needs and future obligations.
If something comes up that you haven’t planned for, your new content calendar will allow you the flexibility to roll with the punches.
It’s OK to change plans. No guilt necessary.
When you’ve planned to go to the beach, and it starts raining, do you still go? Of course not! Situations change and plans change alongside. Your content calendar is no different. If something comes up over the month to disrupt your carefully-curated plan, free up some space and move on. You’re the boss!
OK, so what is this magical new solution?
Here’s where SmarterQueue comes in. In SmarterQueue, you’ll only need to set up your content calendar once. Then, each month, you simply focus on adding content. That’s it. No more manual scheduling, no more copying and pasting.
- Define your content Categories
- Simply drag a content Category onto your weekly Posting Plan to define a Timeslot for the Category to post on each platform
- Add content to your Categories
- Your content calendar is built out automatically for you each month.
Assigning your content to Categories enables you to sort your content into different groups.
Content is queued to each social profile according to your Posting Plan and recycled the way you want it: providing ever-fresh content for your audiences without all the manual labour.
Have posts that must go out on certain dates? No problem – you’re always in control. Set posting times for those posts, and the rest will go out automatically, according to your Posting Plan.
You can even set up Seasonal Categories for campaigns that are only live between certain dates.
Get Smarter Over Time
When you’ve done this for a while, you’ll be better able to duck and dodge the punches that come your way.
Make sure all of your learning doesn’t go to waste!
With the help of the other three principles, you’ll be more disciplined about your content planning, and more realistic about what’s coming up each month. Plus, you’ll be better prepared for the future. Eventually, you’ll be able to plan for April before February is even over.
You aren’t stressed because you aren’t living free and loose with your content. You have goals and a plan, realistic expectations, and the flexibility to adapt if things change. No more wasting time and energy figuring out what to post each day. The result? Breathing room. Focusing less on fitting in posts for every day and more on Categories and Evergreen content means bigger thinking and better decisions.
Imagine Your Content Calendar, But Smarter
An online content calendar, that comes with you wherever you go; with content organised into Categories for planning efficiency.
No more slotting just any post into any timeslot. This calendar allows you to recycle your content for optimal reach and engagement, while also allowing space for posts that are time- or date-sensitive.
The great news is that all of this is built directly into SmarterQueue.
View all of your upcoming content in an easy calendar view, so you’ll never have any surprises. You’re always in control of what goes out, when.