You got that social media job, and now you’ve buckled down and thought of a brilliant content idea. Then another one. And another one. And another.
Soon you’ve got a bag full of ideas, all of them great.
But then you ask: which one goes first? What’s next? How do they relate to each other? Wait, isn’t there an important launch some time in June; what do I have for it?
And horrors of horrors, what if I repeat something?
I know how painful, ugly and backbreaking it can be to keep track of what goes up when. It’s like holding back a rapidly growing tidal wave with my bare hands.
Not fun at all.
That’s when I discovered content calendars – the indispensible tool for every content guy.
Content Calendars are…
…calendars where you keep track of your content.
It could be in Excel, iCal or any other calendaring software (Google Calendar etc). The software isn’t particularly important. What’s important is the information that you’re tracking.
It’ll help you see things long term and how each piece of content fits into the whole scheme of things. At the same time, it explicitly states deadline for content and a little pressure is always a good thing.
I’ve created an Excel content calendar (see below or get it here) which should help you track your content spread. Feel free to use and adapt it to your needs, just link back to this post.
Please let me know if it worked for you and how it could be made better.
Get it from Google docs: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AlGETWItIds1dDF5d3lNSjRuTExNTEREZTQ1T1NRZ0E&hl=en
What’s in it?
This content calendar uses two spreadsheets…
- Master: Top-level calendar which outlines important client events and content to support it. I’d suggest filling it in 1-week blocks (or at least 3-day blocks).
Content elements should have synopses and quantities (e.g. “Interviews with event organisers & event shout outs; cross-link to videos; quant: 3”).
Keep it brief here and flesh out the details in a separate document.
- Editorial: Day-t0-day content across your platforms (digital or real life). I would put the entire Twitter or Facebook status updates here. Blog posts are indicated by blog titles and links. Photo galleries should have captions and a link to a document with captions.
I won’t go into the details of each column because they’re self-explanatory.
There’s plenty of good folk who make their content calendars available…
- Chris Brogan’s thread on his Facebook Fanpage Blog Topics about Using an Editorial Calendar is a great poll on what other folks are using.
- Smashing Magazine’s bullet-list of things to do when getting started on an Editorial Calendar is a must-read.
- Content Marketing Institute lists the different ways which you can use Editorial Calendars that will certainly expand how you see a content calendar.