You know the adage: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” The sentiment that rings true in so many areas of business management extends into the digital space as well. Specifically, your digital content strategy.
I speak to a lot of people who take a “ready-fire-aim” approach to their online content and social media, and it’s understandable. As business owners or even part-time employees, you only have so much time that you can devote to tweeting and blogging outside of your day-to-day. You get an idea during the day, pull out your smartphone, and let the characters fly. Nothing wrong with that.
The harsh reality: In today’s world of search engine optimization (SEO), micro-moments and social media, your digital content strategy is as integral to your brand as the sign in front of your shop. It’s how people find you online, build their trust in you as a brand and can ultimately decide whether or not you are worth their business.
Just as with every aspect of your business operation, your digital content strategy requires proper management and a rock-solid plan. A digital content calendar will help you plan your content across all of your digital channels, stay organized by knowing where your content lives and efficiently schedule messaging to optimize your digital experience.
Try it out: Create a calendar containing important dates, newsletter sends, blog posts, events, marketing campaign dates, etc. Anything that you think should be kept on the radar during the month, is important for marketing purposes, or opportunities for content. Once you see all of these elements in one place you will automatically have a better grasp for how to approach them from a content perspective.
You can plan your digital content as far in advance as you wish, but I recommend planning on a monthly basis to ensure you give your various channels — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. — the attention they deserve. It also saves you time down the road, as you only need to do this once every month.
Once you have a monthly snapshot of your content opportunities, start laying out your social media posts on a separate calendar. A “social media planner,” if you will. Identify opportunities from your content calendar and write Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts to draw attention to these opportunities. Include links to your website, photos, video or even polls to capture greater engagement. This can be done on a monthly or weekly basis.
It is also beneficial to include a “content repository:” a spreadsheet that keeps track of all of your online content for the month. If you post a blog article to your website or shoot a video at an event, document its name, purpose, URL or digital location. That way when it comes time to schedule your social media posts, you’ll know where all of your content is without having to hunt around on your website.
Don’t have time to come up with your own calendar? No worries. Fortunately for all of us, Hubspot has created a great template that includes a content calendar, content repository, and individual social media planners to keep your content organized and optimized.