- What is a social media content calendar, exactly?
- How can bloggers, marketers, and content creators benefit from using one?
- Are there tools and templates available to make creating them easy?
- How to get started using templates and basic knowledge of social strategy.
- How to plan everything from one-off posts to entire campaigns on one calendar.
- How to organize effective scheduling workflows around your calendar.
How to Effectively Organize Your Social Media Editorial Calendar (Template)Click To Tweet
Download Your 2022 Social Media Content CalendarKeep all your social media posts on track with the perfect social media calendar template for 2022. With this easy-to-use calendar spreadsheet template, your entire social team can schedule posts, monitor deadlines, optimize your posting schedule, and more.
What is a Social Media Calendar?Here’s a working definition this post will use: Social media editorial calendars are spreadsheets or apps used to schedule social posts in advance. They’re also used to plan when and which content will be shared, manage campaigns, and track deadlines. They’re typically built using one of three different formats: printed paper, spreadsheets, or software services.
- Paper Calendars: The old-school approach for those who prefer hand-written organization.
- Spreadsheets: A cost-effective route for planning posts ahead of time.
- Software Services: The professional option with powerful automation and time-saving capabilities.
Benefits of Using a Social Media CalendarThere are tons of reasons to use a social media calendar. Before you invest the time into building one though, you probably want to know what the real benefits are. Here are four key things to consider:
- Turning chaos into harmony. Managing multiple social media accounts can turn messy fast. That kind of disorganization will kill your efficiency.
- Holding teams accountable. Calendars are great for setting deadlines. It’s easy to procrastinate when deadlines are flexible or nonexistent. Laying out a clear plan eliminates excuses for not knowing what content to publish on your social channels.
- Saving time that you can use to get real work done. No one ever has enough time. However, planning your social media outreach with a calendar lets you make the most of the time you have.
- Measurably improving your results. This is the benefit that supersedes all other benefits. After all, efficiency without effectiveness really just means doing things poorly, quickly.
Who Can Use a Social Media Calendar?Anyone creating social content — whether for a business, media company, or a serious blog — should consider using a calendar.
- Marketing teams: Marketing campaigns often have a lot of moving parts, including social components. Keeping teams organized and making sure everyone involved in a project understands the social promotion schedule is key.
- Small businesses: Staying organized with a calendar makes it much easier to save time and maintain consistency. This is important for small businesses, where resources are limited.
- Consultants: Getting all of your clients organized with their own calendar can help tame the chaos of managing multiple accounts.
- Media companies: If you’re creating editorial content, it’ll need social media promotion. Keep it all together on your calendar.
- Bloggers: If your blog is your business, you don’t have time to waste with dysfunctional tools. Make sure every post gets promoted on your calendar.
Anyone creating social content should consider using a calendar.Click To Tweet
Here’s an Example of a Social Media Calendar in ActionSometimes, it helps to have visual examples of your end goal along the way. For this reason, we have provided some great models for reference. Here is an example of what your spreadsheet template will look like once you start filling out important dates in your calendar. Once you start on your social media calendar in CoSchedule, it won’t be long before it starts to fill up with some of your great social media ideas.
How to Plan Your Social Media CalendarPlanning a new social media calendar can be a daunting task. That’s why we have laid out a short list of steps and examples for you, so you don’t have to do the dirty work on your own. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Figure Out Which Types of Social Media Content You'll CreateThe last part of your social media audit should include deciding which types of posts you’ll be sharing across each of your channels. There are four main different post types that your team can publish on social:
- Images. This could include single images or gallery posts.
- Videos. This could include live video streaming (ex: Facebook Live) or natively uploaded video content.
- Text. Sometimes catchy copy is all you need.
- Links. Links to external content (owned or curated) would fall under this category.
Plan Your Social Media Marketing Themes for the YearComing up with a year’s worth of content can seem a bit intimidating, but there are recurring events that you can add to your calendar to help fill it. Some popular events to add to your calendar could be:
- Holidays: Use National Day Calendar to find ones you might not have even heard about.
- Events: These can be company, local, or national events.
- Sales: If you have recurring sales like a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale you can use them to fill your social calendar.
- Product or feature launches: If your team is launching new products or a new feature that accompanies your project build that momentum with a social media campaign.
- Themes: Create your social content around different topics that relate to your organization. This saves your team from posting about the same things over and over again.
Set Your Color-Coding Scheme to Keep OrganizedThere is a trick to keep track of your content: color-coding. In your template, you’ll notice a color key at the end of every month. Simply color-code posts that correspond with different campaigns, events, or promotions you’ll have planned throughout the year:
Establish a Social Media Posting CadenceYou’ll likely be creating social media posts to promote content other than blog posts too. You’ll probably be creating content exclusively for social media too, with no outbound links; just awareness-driven content. Now, “How often should I post on social media?” is one of the most common questions we at CoSchedule. It’s a fundamental problem that everyone faces when they’re starting out, and one that has a tendency to nag at even experience marketers and bloggers. There isn’t a single correct answer to that question either. The best approach, then, is to use some research-backed starting points, and then adjust according to your own results from there.
There isn't a single correct answer to how often you should post on social media.Click To Tweet
Add Your Post Content to Your CalendarThe calendar is broken out with networks listed on the left. Then, there are fields for Content, Image Link, and Time for each post. Start by choosing a day and network for your post. Then, write your post copy in a Content field: Need tips on writing awesome social posts? Check out this infographic for optimization best practices on each network: If you want to really pack a punch with your social media messages optimize them for each network to encourage your audience to interact with them by using our Social Message Optimizer. Enter your post copy into the tool: Hit Score My Message. A score will generate for each of social channel. You can click on each one and edit the message individually to bring up your score: If you continue scrolling down on each channel you’ll see a brief overview of what is and isn’t working well for your message on a channel: As you continue to scroll down you’ll see a breakdown of what you can fix to help make your content even better: Once you have a message where you want it to be you can copy it into your calendar.
Developing a Calendar-Based Social Media WorkflowNow, let's explore how to use the calendar step-by-step. Follow along to plan out an entire social media marketing workflow for your team or yourself, all based around your calendar.
Step 1: Determine What You'll Be Creating or SharingLet's begin with a hypothetical social media campaign. Maybe you're promoting:
Step 2: Write Your Post CopyAs our own Nathan Ellering recently said on our blog: Think of each message as a call to action:
- Sell your followers on the value they’ll get if they just click through to read your blog post.
- Or make them question a current belief with the promise of a better solution to a problem.
- Or make them feel like they’re missing out on something amazing.
- Questions. Close-ended questions drive more clickthroughs. However, open-ended questions may drive more engagement, since you're asking for a response.
- Benefits. Hint at what's in it for your audience to click through on your link.
- FOMO. Otherwise known as "the fear of missing out." This angle can work well if you're giving your audience a deadline to act.
- Stats. Numbers that seem hard-to-believe (but are accurate), can be a great way to stoke interest.
- Facts. Again, the harder to believe, the better.
- Controversy. This doesn't mean to be offensive. It means don't be afraid of questioning status quo. If you have a contrary opinion on a topic, put it out there. You just might spark a discussion that changes what folks consider common wisdom, which isn't always wise.
Wield your words intentionally to invoke the emotional response that you want.Click To Tweet
- Network: [INSERT NETWORK]
- Post 1 Copy: [ENTER POST]
- Post 1 Image: [INSERT IMAGE DIRECTION]
- Post 1 Link: [INSERT URL]
- Post 2 Copy: [ENTER POST]
- Post 2 Image: [INSERT IMAGE DIRECTION]
- Post 2 Link: [INSERT URL]
Step 3: Hand Off Your Campaign for DesignNext, hand off your image ideas to your designer. You'll likely need to discuss your ideas with them and get their creative input before they begin design. For the sake of example, let's say this is an image we'll use for our campaign: Now that you've got a graphic, upload them to a folder in a cloud-based storage service of your choice (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). Give the folder a name specific to this campaign. Then, upload all your images. Do this for each photo in your campaign. That way, you'll have easy access to all your campaign's assets when you're ready to post them. Alternately, CoSchedule customers can use the Asset Organizer. It's a digital asset management system built specifically for marketers that makes it easy to keep visual assets organized.
Step 4: Add All Your Campaign Content Onto Your CalendarNow, you have all the content for your campaign ready. It's time to place it all on the calendar. Start by pasting in your post copy. Then, grab the URL for the image from your image storage service and paste that in, too. If you're using Google Drive, click the "Get Shareable Link" button below. Then, paste that URL into your calendar. This will make the image easily accessible later. Finally, add in the time for your post: Repeat as necessary until you've entered all your content. Follow this same process for every post you create. Use the text wrap settings in Google Sheets or Excel to control how content fills each cell in your calendar. Alternately, you can do this all in CoSchedule, too. With the Calendar Organizer, you can easily create single posts or entire campaigns. Plus, you can keep all your copy and images neatly organized, reshare top-performing posts automatically with ReQueue, and optimize post timing with Best Time Scheduling.
Step 5: Measure Your ResultsOnce you start using your calendar, you'll want to see results, right? One way to do that is to measure referral traffic to your blog or website using Google Analytics. On the first tab of the calendar template included in this post, you'll see this link to a Custom Report template for Google Analytics: Copy and paste this URL into your browser. Next, you'll see a screen that looks like this: Under "Select A View," choose which site associated with a Google Analytics account you'd like to use. Then, you'll see your social media traffic dashboard.
Three Tips to Keep Your Calendar FullKeeping your calendar full of content might not seem easy, but there are some ways to maintain consistency without exhausting your team by exclusively creating fresh posts.
Re-share Your Top-Performing PostsSpace out similar messaging on different days and post at different times. When a particular post does well, consider resharing it on an ongoing basis on your calendar. If you're a CoSchedule customer, ReQueue makes this easy to automate.
Curate ContentAdd useful links to posts from other blogs and sites your audience will enjoy. You can pre-select these in advance, or simply leave a note to find something that's trending on a given day, which may be difficult to predict. If you're using CoSchedule, be sure to grab our Chrome extension. It makes curating content from anywhere on the web easy.
When You’re Ready to Upgrade, Here’s Why You Should Use CoScheduleCoSchedule has numerous features that make for the perfect calendar planning process — amongst other things.
CoSchedule has numerous features that make for the perfect calendar planning process.Click To Tweet
- Social Network Integrations: Integrate all of your social media platforms into your calendar, so all of your stuff is in one place.
- ReQueue: Reshare your most successful social messages.
- Best Time Scheduling: Find the best times to schedule your next campaign or email lists.
- Task Templates: Build your own task workflow that you can assign people and tasks to a project as often as you need.
- Task Approvals: If a task needs a second pair of eyes before the project can move forward, assign someone to review and approve the task.
- Asset Organizer: Never fumble around for your files again with the help of Asset Organizer.