HOW TO CREATE A SIMPLE CONTENT CALENDAR

BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ

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Running a business is time consuming. Particularly if you are a solopreneur.  On top of keeping up-to-date with all the admin, providing an exceptional service, adding new products and actually doing the job, you have all the marketing and social activity to plan and execute. Your role expands from company director to PA, accountant, designer, marketer and blogger. Sounds familiar?

So, keeping your content fresh and your audience engaged can really turn into a chore.

This is why creating a content calendar can be the most liberating thing you do, freeing yourself from the hassle of having to plan and manually share your content every other day. 

It is also essential for consistency, relevance and reaching the right audience through the right channel. 

How do you then create a content calendar? 

Commit yourself to be consistent

Ideally you want to create a calendar for a 12-month period. This allows you to forecast and plan ahead the most relevant topics for the audience you are targeting at a particular point. However, if this feels like a huge mountain to climb, do not despair, you can start by at least planning the month ahead. Then, you can use this as a basis to prepare three to six months in advance. There are no rules for how much you produce; what is important is that you commit yourself to make it valuable and consistent. Quality over quantity.

Group your content by function 

All content you produce has a marketing aim or goal. This can be raising your brand awareness, informing about a product or service, educating or engaging with your customers or simple promoting and advertising, for example. Decide how much content you need to create to cover your marketing goals and be very clear on what results you want to achieve.

Set your topics

Once you have your different goals covered, you can start planning the actual content you need to create. I suggest you aim to have between three and four topics per function. Let’s say you are an events planner, to cover your customer education / engagement function, you can create blogs around the following three topics: 

  • Perfect places to celebrate your big birthday... this summer / autumn / winter

  • How to come up with your perfect... colour scheme / party theme / etc

  • Best party menu for...small / medium / generous budget

You can then easily write about each one of these topics and distribute your content throughout the comings months or year.

Design your content planner

There are lots of digital platforms you can buy to do this, however, you can also keep it very simple and create a neat schedule sheet in Excel or Numbers.

You goal here is to decide what content you are going to publish and how you are going to share it: what platform and date.

Mine looks a bit like this:

Content calendar.jpg

It does not need to be extensive, as pointed out earlier, quality is far more effective than volume.

Distribute your content effectively

Finally, when you have laid out all the different topics you are covering, which support your different marketing functions and decided on the best channels to share your content, you are ready to start its distribution. 

The most effective way to do this is by selecting the best tools for each channel. To manage and schedule your social, you have great tools, such as Later, Buffer, Hootsuite, etc They are free for under a certain number of posts and a super easy and organised way to plan all your social feeds for the month ahead in just a couple of hours. 

For your newsletters, there are two good marketing platforms: MailChaimp and Campaign Monitor. Both options are straightforward to use and again, allow you to schedule your emails and save automated responses too.

And remember, your website is home to all the content you are creating. Ensure it has all the necessary functionality implemented, enabling you to easily share it and most importantly, your customers find it. 

Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?
— George Bernard Shaw

5 reasons why you should be producing podcasts for your business

ben kolde at unsplash

ben kolde at unsplash

2018 saw the rise of the podcast, becoming a highly popular way to share content with mainstream audiences and companies worldwide. As stated by the BBC, 2018 was the year of the ‘podcast boom’. So if your brand is not producing them yet, you are missing out on this trendy content format.

Ofcom released some interesting findings last September coinciding with International Podcast Day, where they stated that there were nearly six million people in the UK, tuning in to podcasts each week at the time.

Acast, known as Home to the World’s Best podcasts, points out in their Intelligence Report:

  • The majority of podcast users are Millennials, aged between 16 and 34

  • 27% of this audience listens to them once a week

  • On average, they spend more than 3.6 hours per week immersed in this activity


And this is just the beginning. It is only a matter of time for the love of the podcast format to spread to other demographic groups, who would soon discover the reaching and engaging power of audio content.


So, what is so appealing about podcasts?

  1. Versatility. There is a podcast for everyone. No matter the topic, no matter the length of audio, you are bound to find whatever you are looking for. From purely entertaining content, such as comedies, thrillers, reality shows to business-related topics focusing on educational and inspirational information, you have access to almost everything in audio format. With this increasing love for audio, you have a great platform to create relevant content for your audience, positioning you as an expert and driving interest to your business.

  2. Mobility. The beauty about podcasts is that you can enjoy them while in the move. You can easily fit them within your busy schedule and listen to them during your commute, while working out, or even when tidying up your house. You just need a good 4G signal or Wifi and pair of headphones. This means your customers can tune in to your content from almost anywhere at anytime, making your information easily accessible.

  3. Bond. Podcasts create an instant connection with your customers. A podcast containing valuable content as well as inspirational advice will place you in your listener’s heart. Your voice brings out your personality and enthusiasm for what you do, creating a more personal bond with a listener than a video or written article. Showing your passion in audio format can make some professional fields, such as law or accountancy, more engaging and digestible for your customers.

  4. Clarity. Podcasts present information in bite-sized chunks, enabling you to absorb the topic that is being presented quickly. We all know that lengthy articles take time to read and if we are not paying them full attention, we may not grip the main messages easily. If you haven’t got a lot of time to write long posts, invest in a copywriter and prefer the idea of creating a simple list of bullets that you can share with your customers, then the podcast is a fast and inexpensive way to do this.

  5. Relaxation. Most podcasts’s users listen to them in their free time, as a way to unwind and disconnect from their daily demands. Your listeners will engross themselves in whatever message you are sharing, engaged by its entertaining narrative. For this reason, podcasts’s content must be full of useful advice, have an enjoyable or deeply inspirational tone, and never act as an advertisement. When creating them, be playful and focus on communicating your areas of expertise with charm and personality.

What type of podcasts should you be creating for your business?

Podcasts are simply blog posts presented in audio format, so use the same style you use when writing your content. The three most-adopted formats among businesses are:

  1. Interviews. There is nothing more engaging than an interesting conversation between two people in a topic we are curious or want to know more about. Invite a client, work colleague or industry expert and ask them about topics you know will be of interest to your customers. Keep the conversation focused on the subject and ensure your questions will prompt valuable answers.

  2. Educational ‘how tos’. This is where you provide valuable information to your customers in the format of the ‘how to...’ The purpose of this format is to teach and provide valuable tips to your listeners. If you are an accountant, for example, you can create a podcast on how to save money on your tax return, where in simple bullets, you list the different options your customers should consider.

  3. Inspirational ‘best ways’. Another way you can provide uplifting content is by sharing your best ways of achieving something. For example, if you are a personal coach, you may create a podcast on 5 best ways to shift your mindset.

Whatever the subject, make sure you keep your tone friendly and positive, so your customers feel empowered and rewarded after listening to it, and above all, dedicating you their free time.

And yes, I am certainly embracing the love of audio and planning to create my new podcast series. They are COMING SOON....

There’ll only be just ONE of ME
To show what I can do ―
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There’s only ONE of YOU.

That is where all starts
With you, a wonderful unlimited human being.
— James T. Moore