I will admit, I have not been proactive in creating a content calendar. The community I have been managing has been fairly small. They were very much consumers of the information I was spewing out at them, not conversationalists. But as we have started to grow, there is more and more interaction and more of a structure to our community of people. Which means I need to be more organized.
With growth, I have noticed that I need to spend my time focusing on a lot of things, not just content; Analytics, reports, meetings, etc. Having a content calendar will not only help me keep organized for myself and for my community, but it would also help my coworkers have a better understanding of what my goals are and what I post about on a day to day basis.
But starting to create this calendar hasn’t been easy! The article Content Calendar 101: Tips and Tools, by Shai Coggins of Vervely suggests finding an approach in between being too organized and planning every single Tweet and Facebook post versus flying by the seat of your pants. How can I find that balance between scheduled tweets and making sure my community knows there is someone who is actually monitoring and is there when they need them?
Richard Millington, of the book Buzzing Communities, has a helpful chapter about ‘Content’ and how to develop a content calendar. He writes:
“Many community managers fall victim to reactivity. As the community grows, urgent issues increasingly take priority over the community manager’s work. Time spent on initiating activities, building relationships, recruiting members and creating content gradually diminishes in favor of responding to the urgent issues of the day.”
And this is true– it is what I feel like I am experiencing now. I need to develop a content calendar to be of benefit to both me, my community, and my organization.
Here are some of the tips for creating a content calendar I have come across:
- Choose the categories that you will talk about
By monitoring your community, you will know what kind of content they respond the most to. Is is news? Interviews? Images? User-generated content? Job Postings? You might think your community wants a certain thing, but they will show and tell you by the way they react to what you post.
- Establish Intervals (Millington, 103)
Millington says that your content calendar will repeat its categories at a consistent interval. This can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. Intervals will be entirely based around your organization, there really aren’t any rules on what types of intervals you should establish. However, they should be consistent, otherwise it is confusing for your community. If your audience expects you to post job opportunities once a week on Fridays, keep it that way; your community will then know what to expect.
- Get Help
It’s okay to ask for help from your coworkers. Maybe other departments in your company keep monthly calendars of events (or for other things such as meetings or interviews) that are going on. Ask if you could be on their distribution list. That way you can pull from what they are already doing so you are in the loop.
Do you keep a content calendar for your community? How did you get it started? What tools do you use? Please share your suggestions on the best ways to start a content calendar and how to keep it updated.