We’ve got so many items on our to-do list, that after a long day, we put off the things we know we should be doing but aren’t necessarily the things we love to do. Social media posts are usually in that group of tasks that we neglect when we’re already overwhelmed. We all have heard that studies show in order for social media marketing to be successful it is important to post regularly and consistently. At Watershed, we love finding ways to work smarter, not harder, and an editorial calendar does just that.
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a plan for your digital and social media engagement, to help make your life easier. It is a guide for your year (we suggest), that includes monthly themes, important dates and blog topics, and then a more detailed schedule of what you would post for your current month.
If you spend a couple of hours doing the big thinking to plan out your year, each quarter you will only have to spend a little time digging into the details. This will help you stay out of overwhelm and manage the process in small chunks.
The planning components (the big rocks) are:
- the monthly theme/focus
- the weekly theme
- daily post type – motivation Monday, tips, reshares, etc
The detailed post components (the small rocks) are:
- anyone else you would like to tag
If you don’t know what social media channels you will be posting to read our earlier article.
How to deal with the big rocks
In a document, write down your next twelve months titled Annual Calendar in a document, on a piece of paper, whatever tickles your fancy (see example below). Again, your annual calendar should identify the themes for each month. If you own a salon, perhaps July’s theme would be “Summer Styles” and August, “Get Ready For Reopening”. Nothing is set in stone so write something down and remember that you can always go back and make changes. This should only take 30 minutes.
Next, identify industry, company and community related events. These can include conferences, sporting events, performances, parades, etc. From there, add in holidays and important days. If your company focuses on sustainability, for example, you will want to include days like Earth Day and Earth Hour. This could take one to two hours if you have to do some research.
If you are going to be writing blog articles (always recommended for credibility, trust building and improves your SEO rankings), brainstorm some article topics that are relevant to the monthly theme or events. Consider the titles and jot down a few ideas for each article. Added bonus if you can think of a guest blogger for the subject. Again, allocate an hour to two. If you are doing weekly blogs, you may only want to focus on one quarter (three months) at a time.
Congratulations! Your year (or possibly your next quarter) is now planned.
Once you have an outline of the year ahead, it’s time to plan your month. This includes picking your weekly theme and daily focus.
Next, decide on the different types of posts that you plan on creating. Take a look at some of these examples from Hootsuite. When determining your topics, remember that you want to add value, not just sell. We suggest sticking to the 80:20 rule. 80% educate, inform, entertain. 20% products or services promotion. This should only take half an hour.
Daily themes are a great way to guide you on what to post for each day of the week. No pressure, this is only for bonus points! Examples include Motivation Monday, Tip Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, etc. One Motivational Monday might include an inspirational quote related to your monthly theme and weekly focus. This should take less than half an hour. (This is a generous amount of time. If it takes longer, you may be overthinking things!)
Put it in a calendar:
Once you have determined your topics, it is time to start adding them into your calendar. If you write a blog, schedule that in first. From there, establish how many posts you’d like to make each week. Say, for example, you choose three, checkerboard them throughout the month so that in the future you can measure which days and times work best. (For more about analysing your metrics, read our previous blog).
Remember to note which channels you are posting to. This helps you keep track of where you are posting and how frequently.
Once you have your topics mapped out, write down your ideas for each post. For the clothing store owner who is creating their “Summer Fun” themed August calendar, their first blog post might be about “What to Wear to a BBQ”. Their tip post might highlight one point from the article and their image will show off the related products. Perhaps they are having an August long weekend sale and so their product showcase will revolve around that.
Coming soon, we will discuss creating your posts.
Have any questions or looking for support in setting up your editorial calendar? We’re here to help! Contact us here: https://watershedmarketing.com/contact-us/