A content calendar helps freelancers and entrepreneurs know what to publish, as well as when and where. It makes implementing tasks easier and also helps writers stay motivated and on track.
If you’re not sure how to make a start, our friends at DesignWizard take a look at the best way to create a strategic content calendar for 2019.
Begin With a Social Media Audit
Before creating a new calendar, it’s a good idea to take a look at how well (or how badly) your content has performed across your social media channels. This will help you eliminate the low-value channels.
It will also help you answer the questions: How have people reacted to your posts? Which types of content have performed super well on each social media platform, and which have totally floundered?
You can use your social media analytics (such as Facebook Insights) to help you with this.
Remember that, while there are plenty of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be posting on all of them. Knowing how to optimize for social media is key.
To give you a helping hand, Facebook, for example, is really useful for video marketing because more than 100 million hours of video are watched on here each day. Twitter, on the other hand, is a great place to post educational content rich with bite-sized stats and data that people can quickly absorb and retweet.
Assess how your content looks on social media, too. Could your content be better designed? If so, try using a tool like Design Wizard to make your content more eye-catching in 2019.
Perform a Content Audit - Assess What You’ve Already Got
The second audit you need to carry out is your content audit, as this will guide your content creation decisions in 2019.
Take a look at your existing content. Is any of it out-of-date or irrelevant as we move into 2019? Can some of it be updated? For example, let’s say I’ve written a blog post about 2017 car tax. In 2019, it will now be out-of-date. I can refresh it by making the necessary changes that bring it in line with 2019 car tax laws.
Identify content that can be repurposed in 2019. This means that you take an existing piece of content (for example, a video) and extract more juice out of it by turning it into a blog post, an infographic and so on. Often, it’s a good idea to target your best-performing content and then look at ways you can repurpose it.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing, too. You can use an SEO tool to help you with this, as it will show you what they’re publishing and how well their content is performing.
BuzzSumo is a useful tool here as well. This tool shows you what content in your niche performed best in 2018. This will allow you to compare it to your own content before making a new plan of action for 2019.
Create a Topic Schedule
If you were posting content to social media in 2018, you’ll already have had a posting frequency nailed down. How effective was it? Does it need tweaking?
It’s okay if it does, but what’s important here is that you work out your posting days ahead of time. Perhaps you’ll stick to publishing fresh content during the five-day week, or perhaps you’ll publish new content during the weekend, too.
It’s a good idea to take a look at your demographics and understand your user’s habits at this point, as this will dictate when you should be posting new content.
Either way, a smart move is to stay consistent. This means posting at least once a week, and preferably on consistent days. Remember that Google likes to see fresh content. The more often you post, the higher you might rank.
At the same time, you don’t want to lose your audience on social media. If you post consistently, they’ll always be aware of you.
Another key aspect of your topic schedule is the type of content you’ll post each day. For example, perhaps you could consistently post a “How To” article each Monday, while Wednesday is always reserved for a case study. Friday, meanwhile, is video day, while Saturday is dedicated to user-generated content (which is great for social proof).
This sort of planning will make it so much easier for you to come up with new content ideas each month. Instead of wandering in the dark trying to drum up a new idea, you’ve already narrowed down the type of content that needs to be created.
Create a Content Repository
Following on from the above point, it’s always a good idea to put together a content repository, which is a place to stash your content.
The simplest thing to do is to create a spreadsheet that includes the following:
Title of a post
Type of content (video, blog, podcast etc)
Create a Supplementary Content Schedule
After you’ve researched topic ideas using tools like BuzzSumo, created a topic schedule and a content repository, you should have a better understanding of what topics you’ll be going for in 2019. To aid your efforts, why not create supplementary content, too?
This can come in the form of infographics or lists, and the aim is to provide an overview of-sorts of the main content that adds more meat to the bone. It establishes more credibility for you and your brand, and increases your expertise. It ultimately enriches the user experience.
For each in-depth piece of content you create, see if you can create a supplementary piece to go with it.
Establish a Process For Inputting The Content
Once you’ve worked on the above points, it’s time to really put things into action by establishing a process for inputting the content.
First of all, whose job will it be to input the content? Is it the person who’ll also be scheduling and publishing it?
You will also need to assign to someone the task of sourcing images and liaising with the writers and editors. If you’re a freelancer who’s doing all this yourself, that’s totally fine. But you will still need to work out how far in advance you want to schedule your content.
Entrepreneurs who are in charge of a team, on the other hand, might hand this responsibility over to someone else, but they still might want each post to be approved by someone else before anything goes live.
All in all, great content is probably going to be the heart of how you get and keep your audience in 2019, and a content calendar will help you win. Once you know what you’re posting, when you’re posting it and where, you’ll find it so much easier to stay on top of your content, and this will help you to stay consistent. And consistency is key.
Learn more about social media for creators:
A Guide to Social Media Strategy for Your Creative Business
How to Get Your Dream Clients with Social Media
Facebook Advertising 101 for Visual Artists