How to build a social media content calendar
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
Welcome! If you have come from my post on why using national holidays for marketing is a bad idea, that's super, or perhaps you just want to know how to build a social media content calendar the right way once and for all.
I have what I call the pick and mix method and I love it because....
I always have content ideas up my sleeve
I get told I have unique ideas for the brands I work for
I don't do what every other brand is doing on the same day
No important news gets left behind
My clients don't wang on about the same news for ages
It reminds me of sweets.
First, some background - because I have been there, done that, and it hasn't always been this way.
What should a social media content calendar contain?
Ideally your social media content calendar will sit within the framework of your own marketing calendar and not on it's own sad little island, populated only by a ball called Wilson.
Your social media content calendar will ideally have:
Things you want to post in the rough time you want to post them (week of the month is best)
Ideas of great pieces
What will link to the social post - eg videos, demo links, download/ landing pages?
Ability to move things around
Ability to be seen by others
When I started, mine were not like this. They were made to just suit my boss and get approval. I hated them, and never referred back to them unless under duress. I found them really simple, yet also full of too much nonsense.
Things I would never post were in there like 'National Music Day' - and often I thought 'but why would our customers care about this?' or 'I can't be bothered to think about which channels this would suit, so I will just post it to all of them.'
So, I devised a better way, which you can have for free.
Step 1: Don't start listing all the channels you need to post on.
Every calendar I started was like this until I learned a better way - not channel based - interest based.
Years ago I would make a little excel that would have a column that said....
Twitter - Post about apples - here's a little graphic
Facebook - Apples post - resized
Linkedin - Apples post - resized
Youtube - N/A
Pinterest - Apples post - resized
Blog - Apple blog post
And then on the top running left to right, I'd have the dates.
My documents were HUGE things, the content often had to move (illness, features not released on time, other incidents) and the document went to a little folder to die.
It looked like this - very repetitive, obvious and not helpful.
The first beef I have is the repurposing per channel being included in a content calendar.
You know what channels you use.
You will have an instinct for if your 'apple post' needs a story on Instagram or a YouTube video. The calendar should be for YOU.
Don't create something that spells out how to do social media. Make a calendar you can use.
2. Instead, create a social media content calendar based on customer interest points
The whole point is to attract customers and maintain brand equity with current customers, so give them what they want. Here's a very rough and ready example below.
As you can see the side has the interest areas that will appeal to customers.
From this, you can think in a healthy 'upcycling mindset' about what topics fit those areas.
Here's the pick and mix of ideas.
Why do it this way?
By thinking about things not in terms of delivery channels, but in customer interest points, you free your mind and make it far easier to spread your scope of what good content is. Being hemmed by date makes you susceptible to restrictive thinking such as
'Errrr it's October so I'm gonna do a Halloween post.'
That's too basic- you're better than that.
Step 3. Start refining your social media content calendar based on what you know will happen.
After this, it's time to get hands on and use your pool of ideas to make something killer for the year.
When are your releases, integrations and event dates?
Want to have a case study? When will you need it?
When will it have been 4 weeks since a testimonial? Plan in so no gaps occur.
By dragging and moving your ideas using your pick and mix design, you can now craft a calendar that doesn't miss any areas of customer interest but includes your key moments.
You can do this by week, day, or a month overview.
I like to colour code to remind me to boost or pay for eyeballs.
This is a very rough guide - but hopefully shows you how instead of a calendar that looks far too much like last years, or that always gets out of date, you can have something really relevant and useable.
If you need any help with your B2B content and B2B copywriting, you know the drill. Contact me here.