Does this sound familiar? You’re staring at a blank screen, deadline looming, wondering what to write as streams of creative and witty content flood your inbox and social news feeds. Where do those people come up with that stuff?! Here’s the secret sauce. Content calendars. Learn how to develop some kickin’ content with these simple steps, just like the pros.

The challenge is that most of us try to work backwards – attempting to write the posts before developing the strategy. The content calendar serves as a road map to develop blog articles and social media posts with meaning and purpose. Planning the work in advance can save a ton of time when you sit down to write a post. Most importantly, the calendar will keep you focused on the greater marketing initiative.

Content calendars, the secret to content marketing sanity - 1

A simple content calendar sample

Content is broken down into three basic categories: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.

Primary content consists of the daily posts, or foundational messaging. Secondary is driven out of a campaign with a start and end date. Tertiary is reactive, newsworthy content peppered on top of your pre-planned posts.

Let’s dive deeper into the steps of creating a social media content calendar.

Primary Content 

1. Based on your brand and overall messaging (attitude), select the overarching theme.

This is your all encompassing theme, the foundation of your messaging. What is the feeling and idea you want people to take away from your posts? By defining this theme at a high level, you’ll be able to develop the weekly topics and the daily posts from here.

2. Set weekly themes, based on the overarching strategy. 

If your overarching theme is your company mission, think about four pillars that comprise the company mission and use those as your four weekly themes. As the theme of the week, you can tailor the daily focused topics to that particular theme. Again, relate the message back to your predetermined topics.

3. Prepare daily focused topics. 

One of the best examples of a focused topic is #TBT, or Throwback Thursday. With each Thursday designated as TBT, you can apply that to the weekly theme. For example, if the weekly theme is technology, a TBT post would be focused on a historical event in the technology space.

Secondary Content

4. Consider campaigns and programs.

A campaign is a vertical program with a start and end date. This could be surrounding a product launch, event, new website, etc. These are additional posts on top of the primary content that you’ve already established for the daily posts. Typically, they’re focused around an initiative and are the posts to consider putting some money behind in terms of ad spend (to boost the post, for example).

Tertiary Content 

5. Plan for the unplanned. 

The third type of content, and one that you will not write in advance, is tertiary. These are the reactive posts based on current events, industry trends, and company news. Prepare for these posts by liking and following news outlets that will give you easy access to shareable content.

BONUS

Use a content calendar template.

Capturing all of this in an organized file is the way to go. In fact, if you’d like a copy of the content calendar template that we use, just let us know!

Author Marissa Hann

More posts by Marissa Hann

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