We were exploring new content pieces to curate for a client in the home improvement space and came across a really great blog post that we believed would really resonate with our target audience. Of course, we plugged it into Our Bible – The Content Calendar, straight away. We’ve come to rely on our “Content Calendar” like Tony Stark relies on his trusty “Jarvis”.

That’s when we realized something : not too many people know what a content calendar is and how helpful it’s been for us (and how it could help them, too). So we thought we’d share our first hand experience with our readers in this blog post.

We have a question for you : How often have you posted a piece of content on your social media profile, only to realise that it would have been more relevant in another context? If your answer to this question is “every so often” ; read on…

Organising your communication (any communication)

Communication rests on 2 pillars – Content and Context. Both Content and Context must be in sync if the message must be delivered effectively.

Here’s why : Putting out content (however great it may be) on a topic that has lost sight of its context is a waste of time. Likewise, creating ad hoc, amateur and badly crafted content for the ‘in thing’ that is ‘trending’ will just irritate everyone.

Enter ‘The Content Calendar’

This is where a Content Calendar comes into the picture. It provides a relevant context for a specific piece of content to “sit in” while allowing the curator to look at a piece of content objectively before touching the ‘Share/Retweet’ button.

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is a schedule that defines the context for your content. It provides the creator of the calendar with both a high level and a ground level view of the kind of content she is going to put up. Consequently, it will also indicate how coherent the ‘social message’ that’s being broadcast will be to the target audience.

Why should I be using a content calendar?

  1. A calendar will help sort disparate pieces of content into themes. These themes can then be mixed and matched to provide a steady stream of consistent and timely communication to specific segments of the target audience.
  2. Evaluating content is another great advantage that a calendar provides. Questions such as “Is this piece of content relevant?”, “Will this Tweet sit well in the overall theme I’ve decided for my posts this week?”, “Is this post better off being published in this week or even two weeks from now?”
  3. Reduce “Content Fatigue” : Internet users now suffer from a common condition known as “content fatigue”. Content fatigue occurs when information supply breaks through the ability of the brain to assimilate and make sense of it. The result? Relevant content is sometimes ignored because the reader has seen so much irrelevant “stuff” that she no longer cares. Content calendars will help mitigate some of this risk by ensuring content is spaced out into bite sized chunks that are easy on the eye (and brain).
  4. “But I have nothing to post!” : We’ve also had experiences where social media content publishing is patchy at best and non-existent at worst – not because of a lack of interest or time – but because we simply have nothing to post. The solution? Look at your content calendar for gaps that need filling. Spend your time plugging in those gaps rather than adding more and more posts to an already content rich time period.

How do I create a content calendar?

Creating a content calendar is easy. All you need is a spreadsheet to organise your posts around the broad messages and buyer personas that you or your Brand wants to communicate. The key challenge lies in ensuring that the messaging content and context are spaced closed enough to provide information in a timely manner and spaced widely enough to prevent content fatigue.

More on creating a content calendar, in our next post.

Conclusion

Content calendars are useful not only for personal social media habits, but also for companies that curate a client’s social media. With more and more ‘content scheduling tools’ like HootSuite entering the market, it’s imperative that posts – like the campaigns they form a part of – are planned carefully.