What’s a Content Calendar?
A big trend in social media and what I get asked about the most is content calendars. The more serious your role becomes in social media, whether it’s a personal account or you’re running a business account, the more important it becomes to create content ahead of time (or batch content) and analyze what works and what doesn’t. It’s the best way to stay organized, brainstorm, and stay stress-free.
Content calendars have been a long-existing thing in marketing and they work for more than just social media. Calendars are used in businesses to plan and control all the content that gets published about their company and can range from print to digital.
Currently, at work I’m building content calendars for all the articles I’m writing that have to go up on my employer’s website. I have 13 programs and need to write at least a batch of 4 pieces for each. That’s 52 articles I need to come up with ideas for, research, write, edit, possibly make graphics for, and publish. Having 52 assignments at one time seems daunting, but organizing my content calendar and setting up a publishing schedule helps me stay motivated and avoid burnout.
Social Media and Social Media Managers
Social media is a different beast. Companies have to churn out content daily (sometimes several times during the day) just to stay in the mind of consumers: that’s 31+ photographs, captions, and hashtags just for a feed in a month. This doesn’t even touch monitoring and responding to comments, posting stories, replying to messages, and all the other stuff each social media account needs. In the midst of all this, you really don’t have time to thoughtfully and strategically create something one day at a time.
Social Media Managers are on the rise as companies quickly realize,
- How vital social media is to their marketing plan, and
- How much work truly goes on behind the scenes.
According to payscale.com, the median average salary for a Social Media Manager reaches almost $50,000.
Not bad for someone who “sits on Instagram all day.”
The reality is being a Social Media Manager is hard and, depending on your employer or team dynamic, you might need to know more than just how to post on social media and reply to comments. Social Media Manager’s duties can range from being a photographer, videographer, Photoshop expert, Lightroom expert, Premiere Pro expert, data analyst, copywriter, or customer service representative.
Larger companies sometimes have marketing teams that already have individuals suited to meet one or each of the needs above, but for smaller companies, you’ll have to be a jack of all trades. A lot of different marketing positions are actually like this. I love to joke with people and say I know a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing.
Why Use a Social Media Content Calendar?
So, content calendars, right? I love working with them. It’s so easy to brainstorm, research, and analyze competitors and what they’re doing and use that information to build your strategy. You can map out exactly how much content you need and how much time you need to create it. It can range from a couple of weeks to months, whatever works best for your industry. Even if I might have minor changes through the month, I love planning month-long batches in case of emergencies or even when there’s time off in that month (social media is a 24/7 job, so time off is almost not a thing).
It’s also less stressful scheduling creating content to a few days or weeks and then having a break for a few weeks to just engage with your audience. Creating every day is the fastest track to burnout.
I also create my content calendar templates with a section to analyze my own stats. It helps see what the audience is really engaging with and what they aren’t. It makes it so much easier to plan future content.
I’ve provided a little freebie: a content calendar template and a brainstorming sheet. These are catered to Instagram, but if you’d like to receive a free template for any other platform (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, website, etc.), reach out to me!