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How to create a content calendar and use it to boost your business

Coming up with new ideas for blog posts, social media updates and email newsletters can be tough. Figuring out when to post can be hard too. That’s where a content calendar comes into play. A content calendar is a tool that helps you plan out your content strategy and your posting schedule in advance. This way, you can make sure you’re always creating content that is relevant to your audience and aligned with your business’ goals. Using a content calendar can even help you get team member approvals for content and copy during your planning process. Plus, having a content calendar will help you stay organized and on track.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to create a content calendar, with step-by-step instructions. Plus, we will discuss how you can incorporate creating content copy and obtaining approvals into your content calendar, making writing copy, getting copy sign-offs and posting a seamless process.

Here are steps to follow when establishing a content calendar for your business:

  1. First, decide what type of content you want to create, carefully considering your audience. This could be longer blog posts, shorter social media updates, monthly or bi-monthly email newsletters, or something else entirely. You want to think about their daily media habits and how they are going to consume their content from you.
  2. Next set some goals for your content strategy. What do you hope to achieve with your content? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Generate leads? Convert more customers? 
  3. Now, choose your topic areas. But, before you can start creating content, you need to decide what you’re going to post about. What are the main areas of focus for your business? You might want to consider creating content around your products or services, company news, industry news, or offer tips and advice. You can also tie content to national holidays (for example, National Cookie Day). You can also poll your audience and add fun content. In fact, not all posts should be direct-sell focused.
  4. Follow the 80/20 rule. What is the 80/20 rule? The 80/20 rule indicates that 80 percent of social media posts should be useful to your audience  – meaning, it educates, entertains, or offers a solution to their problems – and only 20% should explicitly promote your business.
  5. Choose a format for your content calendar. There are lots of different ways to do this, but we recommend using a spreadsheet so you can easily add, edit, and delete entries as needed. You can even use the calendar option in Google docs. You can add content directly into a calendar. Since it is live document, Google docs works great for sharing content with a variety of people.
  6. Now, you can decide which channels to post on. For your social efforts, not all businesses need to be active on every social media platform. Choose the ones that make the most sense for your business and your audience.
  7. Now it’s time to put it all together and create a schedule. Decide how often you’re going to post, and then, using your document, map out your content for the week or month. Make sure to leave room for spontaneous and timely content posts, too!
  8. Start filling in your content calendar with ideas for posts, including the title, author, publish date and any other relevant information. You can copy and paste content, images and links directly into your spreadsheet.  If you’re stuck on ideas, try looking at competitor blogs or conducting keyword research to see what topics people are searching for online. 
  9. Once you have a few ideas lined up, you can start reaching out to team members for approval. If you’re working on a blog post, for example, you’ll need to get sign-off from the writer, editor and any other relevant team members before setting a publish date. You can manage this all within one document, adding in due dates and approvals as necessary.
  10. After the content is approved, you can load it into the platforms. It is important to note that if a blog post is an important foundational piece, you should publish that first and then add the link to your other channels.
  11. Once everything is approved and scheduled, all you need to do  is hit “publish “when it comes up on the schedule! Please don’t forget to promote your content once it’s live –after all, the whole point of creating it is to get people reading it! 
  12. Finally, take some time at the end of each month or quarter to review your performance against your goals. Did you meet your goals? What posts attracted the most attention or resulted in click-throughs? What content worked well? What content didn’t work so well? What time of day was best received by your audience? What can you improve for next time? 

Creating a social media content calendar is a great way to save time and be more strategic about your content. By following these simple steps, you’ll have a calendar that will make approvals a breeze and help you get the most out of your social media accounts.

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