BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ
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:
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.