Here at Saffire, our content calendar is our best friend! In fact, we just completed mapping out our calendar for the whole year. Whew! A content calendar is a plan, either for a few months or an entire year, of what you’re going to publish and where you’re going to publish it to further your organization’s goals. It is a complete roadmap of your outbound marketing efforts.

It took lots of time and planning to build our calendar, but we knew it would be worth it. Why? Because content calendars are the best possible tool to keep you organized all year long!

Most importantly, creating a content calendar forces you to put thought and creativity into your content instead of throwing it together at the last moment. (We’ve all been there!)

Imagine that you work at a festival known for its spectacular corndogs. Little did you know, today is National Corndog Day. You go on Facebook to see hundreds of festivals around the country posting their photos for #NationalCorndogDay. You search through your photo library but don’t see any great corndog photos available to post.

Instead, you miss out on the chance to gain some buzz and create some free promotion for you and your vendors.

A content calendar can help you make sure that you always have the perfect post for moments like this. Plus, you’ll never miss another National Corndog Day again.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few tips for getting started!

  1. 1. Identify your content

Before you start mapping out your content calendar, begin making a list of the topics you should cover. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

Who are your audiences and what do they want to see? Your audiences can include groups like: current and past customers, potential customers, vendors, board members, staff, etc. We recommend choosing 2 or 3 groups and creating content designed to keep them engaged.

What important dates, milestones or promotions does your organization have coming up this year? Ticket sales, box office times and promotion dates are obvious inclusions on your content calendar, but what about other interesting milestones? Anniversaries and holidays can make for lighthearted and engaging content! Make sure to check the National Day Calendar for other social media holidays related to your business. You can find it at www.nationaldaycalendar.com.

What kinds of assets do you have available? Who and what do you have available to help create unique content? Maybe you have a full creative team or maybe you’re using a simpler editing tool like Canva. Maybe you have a photographer or maybe you use Shutterstock. What about a videographer or even just partners that can contribute to your blog? Either way, take note of all people and tools available. This will determine what types of content you can post throughout the year.

  1. Decide when and where to publish

As little as a decade ago, there were only a few options for publishing. Today, however, there are dozens of options at our fingertips! Take a moment to take inventory of all the channels that your organization offers, and decide which content is best to post where. We bet that your organization already utilizes some of these channels: social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.…), video sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo, newsletters, e-blasts, an online blog, your website and advertisements.

Next, decide how often to post. You could try to publish a new blog every day, but if you don’t have the resources necessary that could get tricky.  Be realistic about what you and your teammates can handle. Then be consistent.

  1. Create your calendar

There are many different ways to create your perfect content calendar! Here at Saffire, we recommend using a good ol’ spreadsheet. You can find our downloadable template at www.Saffire.com/Calendar.

Make sure to include important information like: date, post type, author, prize winners, publication channels etc. We love keeping ours in an organized Google Sheet that can be updated by all of our marketing teammates.

Once you have it perfected, get posting!

 

Remember, the best thing about your content calendar is that it’s flexible! See what works best for you and your team then add or remove things as you go! Once you get it perfected, we bet your content calendar will be your best friend too! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. Next year, edit the template you create this year. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to manage your marketing presence!

This article previously appeared in IFEA’s ie Magazine.