If you’re a content creator, chances are you’ve heard about content calendars. And chances are you’ve thought of building a content calendar but ended up putting it off until you just forgot about it. I’m not trying to generalize, but I do know that feeling because I used to be one of those people who put off scheduling content. That was until I understood the importance of them.
For the whole month of March 2021, I’m building a social media strategy for my brand Making It Up, in hopes of growing my Instagram and Youtube platforms. I’ve learned a lot about optimizing my content for growth so far. But I recently learned that my strategy won’t work if I don’t put it into action. Queue the rise of the content calendar.
Before I get into that, let me rewind to the beginning and define what exactly a content calendar is.
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like, a calendar with all the content ideas you want to create dated on the days you want to upload them. It’s used by individuals and teams to control the publication of content across different social media platforms.
The beauty of content calendars is that they’re extremely customizable to your personal or team needs and you can create them however you want. You can use a physical calendar, an excel sheet, or specific softwares for content planning. The possibilities are endless.
You can set up your content calendar to be planned weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly depending on the kind of content you’re putting out and the platform you’re sharing it to. If you want to have more flexibility with your content, I recommend planning in shorter intervals. If you want more structure to your content, plan it quarterly or yearly.
To give you an idea, here’s what my Youtube content calendar for March looks like:
I like to use Notion (surprise, surprise) to host my content calendar. It’s easy to use and my calendar looks very organized and pretty.
Since I currently upload approximately one video per week, I like to plan my content monthly and review it week by week if there’s anything new I want to add or change. Even though there’s not a lot of content here, keeping all of my concept ideas and scheduling them in the calendar makes my life so much easier and it frees up brain space I can use to think of new ideas.
Now, my Instagram content calendar looks a bit different:
Because Instagram is a more organic platform than Youtube, I plan out my content biweekly and I usually only add the types of posts/stories I want to upload. Once I have that structure, I go back to it week by week to edit it and add more specific, concrete ideas.
Especially with stories, I want to give myself the freedom to post things in the moment and not be constricted by a scheduled idea, so I only schedule the concepts and the dates when I want to share them. It keeps me accountable but also gives me room to experiment.
I like to keep my calendars for each social media platform separate but you can also have a master content calendar for all your social media content if you don’t like the back and forth.
These are great examples of a personal content calendar. So if you freelance or create content by yourself you might try something similar to these.
If you’re using a content calendar in a team setting, it’s important to have certain features and more detailed information about the content you’re inputting into the calendar. When you’re part of a team, a social media calendar helps everyone stay on the right track and accountable with the content they have to produce. The content calendar is not set in stone but it gives the team a structure to build upon.
If you want to learn more about how to create a content calendar that works for a team, click here. (Fast forward to 2:50 for the demo.)
Why should I have a content calendar?
When you create content by yourself, as opposed to a team setting, a content calendar might not feel like a big deal. After all, you’re the only one who needs to know what you’re doing and when to upload, so why would it be important?
For similar reasons a content calendar is important for a team.
Your content calendar gives you a clear overview of what you’re uploading weekly and how your content is gonna look like spread out over time. Instead of having to come up with content every single week, all you have to worry about is looking at your calendar and it will tell you what you have to work on. This is especially helpful if you tend to feel stuck when coming up with ideas because you don’t have to think of new ones every time you want to upload something.
Similar to a to-do list your content calendar tells you what you need to work on and when you need to have it finished. So you can plan your days and weeks accordingly. And you’re more likely to stay on task.
A content calendar is especially useful if you like to batch produce content. It gives you a clear idea of when you need to have your content ready and when you need to schedule/upload it. If you use a software or tool for automatically uploading scheduled content, you 100% need a content calendar to stay organized.
Have you ever wanted to create lots of content but always end up doing something else or slacking off instead? Putting the content you want to create down in your calendar will help you stay accountable and make your ideas come to life.
If you only think about cool ideas but never execute them it’s like nothing happened. But if you write your ideas down in your calendar and never bring them to life, the failure aspect of it becomes a bit painful.
Your content calendar doesn’t let you lie to yourself. It’s your friend and it’s there to help you accomplish the things you say you want to accomplish. It keeps you accountable.
This is more of a personal reason but if you’re also looking to grow your social platforms, a content calendar is a big help.
It will not only help you stay organized and put out content, but a content calendar gives you a layout of what your platforms will look like week by week. It helps you keep track of important dates you can create content around or deadlines you need to hit if you’re producing sponsored content.
Having all your content ideas layed out can help you strategize better and understand what kind of content you want to prioritize to help your socials grow.
Let’s say it’s February, you’re planning on doing a Valentine’s Day video and you have some other video ideas in mind. You lay them out in your content calendar and you notice your VDay video is set to go live on February 20th. Your logic tells you no one is watching Valentine’s Day videos after February 14 so you move some ideas around and now your video is going live on the 12th. You prioritized that video because you want it to get as much engagement as possible and for that to happen you need to upload it before the 14th.
Even though it might seem like extra work right now, a content calendar will make it easier for your platforms to grow in the long-run.
I want you to remember, your content calendar is not set in stone. If you want to swap out content, you totally can! Just reorganize and switch things up as you see fit. Especially if you’re looking to upload trendy content that’s relevant at the moment.
Your content calendar is there to give you structure but remember: you’re the ultimate boss.
If you are a content creator and you’re not sure a content calendar is your thing, I recommend creating one that works for your personal goals and trying it out for a few weeks. I promise you’ll notice the difference.
It doesn’t matter if you create content for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, blogs, etc. having a content calendar will always be better than not having one.
Curious about my social media marketing project? Click here to read about my entire journey!