6 Steps To Create An Effective Monthly Content Calendar
Often underutilized but incredibly beneficial, content calendars are the most efficient way to stay organized and get ahead on your social media strategy. These content calendars can help you create designated content themes and help determine posts to engage your audience. This new year, incorporate the planning process and use of a content calendar to enhance your social media marketing. Follow these 6 steps to create an effective monthly content calendar to integrate into your digital marketing strategy this year.
1.) Use an Actual Calendar to Build Your Monthly Plan
The key to getting started with a content calendar is to use just that – a calendar! Planning a month’s worth of content may seem like an arduous task, but luckily, there are many content calendar tools at our disposal. The easiest and most cost-effective way to start laying out a monthly plan is by downloading a free calendar template online or using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Whichever option you decide to create your content calendar with, the most crucial step is to make sure you have a place to document your plan.
2.) Incorporate National Days, Weeks, and Months
The first step in planning your monthly content calendar is to focus on National Days, Weeks, and Months. One of the more popular national weeks is National Travel and Tourism Week as a travel destination! With the pandemic hindering travel in the last year, the National Plan for Travel Day is the perfect way to inspire visitors to plan a trip to your destination in the future. Be sure to include any other day/week/month related to you! If you’re a foodie destination, look for national days that celebrate foods. If you’re unsure how to find National Days or what they are, the National Day Calendar is a great resource.
3.) Plan Out Major Events
The next step to your content calendar planning is to incorporate your major events. Be selective when selecting what to include in your calendar. Try to focus on events that have the potential to drive overnight stays. Ask yourself, is the event unique enough to drive someone to travel for this event? Once you decide which event(s) to include, don’t just add them to the calendar. Instead, plan out each phase of promoting the events. Include pre-promos like “save the date,” previews of the event, what to expect, and “day of” promos. These types of promotions are a great way to amplify the event and give consumers a heads up and allow for travel planning.
4.) Designate ‘Themed’ Days for Each Day
Now that you’ve added your national days and events to your content calendar – the next step is to fill in the blanks with daily themes. Daily themes should highlight your destination’s most differentiating niches and experiences. Pick a day to feature each, like the example below.
Depending on how many days a week, you’re planning on posting, place a ‘theme’ for each posting day. Themed days can include Pics of the Week, Travel Tuesdays, History, Outdoor Recreation, Wine/Beer, etc. Use Google Analytics to help determine your most valuable niches by seeing what your visitors are seeking. Once Identified, these daily themes will help you easily develop content ideas that will help you formulate a well-rounded story about your destination to attract potential visitors.
The key to using daily themes effectively is to use each day to focus solely on one theme for each day. Use this theme across all social networks. For example, on Wednesday, you can highlight safety features in the destination. Safety features can include how dining within your destination is socially-distanced, how your attractions have installed new sanitation practices, etc. Similarly, only talk about History on Thursdays.
Although you’re posting the same topic on each channel, resist the urge to copy and paste your captions. Create unique posts that support the daily theme to develop touchpoints featuring unique content for your audiences on various networks.
5.) Include Your Blogs and Key Landing Page Promotions
The final step in creating your monthly content calendar is to add your blog themes and key landing page promotion opportunities. We encourage writing new blog content at least once a month with refreshes to existing content that timely and relevant. With all the time you put into creating blogs and landing pages, you want to make sure that you dedicate a day to promote them by using a paid program to amplify your content to a targeted audience on your social channels!
TIP: Don’t forget the 5 Rule! Be sure to utilize the reach on each of your social media channels to promote your content.
6.) Utilize Scheduling Tools to Plan Ahead
Now that you have your monthly content calendar that features your strongest niches, experiences, events, and activities – it’s time to schedule your posts out! Utilizing scheduling tools allows you to spend more time focusing on engagement. Scheduling tools such as Buffer offer automatically populated optimal posting times on social media networks to reach your audience best. Other tools like Sprout Social, HubSpot, and HootSuite are other handy scheduling tools.
Although third-party tools can help increase efficiency, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to schedule posts and tweets right from your business account! With Facebook’s Creator Studio, easily create a post and schedule it on both Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter, head to the ads manager to schedule organic posts and create Twitter Cards!
This new year is the perfect time to start getting in the habit of content planning. Utilize these steps to enhance your monthly content calendars and increase audience engagement! If you’d like help in creating a customized content planning program for your organization, contact one of our strategists!