How To Create A Content Calendar (and save hours of time!)
When I recently shared a glimpse at my content calendar on Instagram stories, I didn’t anticipate how many dm’s I’d get asking how to put one together.
Content calendars weren’t always a part of my life. In fact, when I started blogging, my blogging schedule looked something more like a sporadic and unplanned slew of random recipes being published whenever I felt like it.
Now I look back and want to kick myself for not using a content calendar sooner. Why? Because content calendars COMPLETELY changed my business.
After implementing a content calendar system, my blog views increased by 10x in a few short months, my Instagram account grew by 100,000 followers, and even my e-mail list saw a spike in subscribers.
Do I have your attention now?
Before we dive into how to build a content calendar, let’s quickly talk about why having a content calendar is so important.
Why use a content calendar?
You’ll be more committed to a schedule
Content calendars are an amazing way to create and stick to a schedule and keep yourself accountable. It’s important to make sure you audience knows when they can expect to hear from you, so having a content calendar system in place will help you do so.
Plan ahead for important dates
I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who used to miss blog posts for important holidays and events because I simply didn’t plan for them. With a content calendar, you’ll be able to plan way ahead of time for holidays and events and ready to serve your audience when those days come around.
Organize your content buckets
If you’ve never heard of a content bucket before, it’s essentially the different categories of content you include on your blog or social media channels. Having a content calendar will help you better organize these categories and make sure you are providing your audience with more balance.
If your main dish recipes, breakfasts and desserts, a content calendar will help you visually spread these types of recipes out so you are not overloading your audience with 5 breakfast recipes in a row.
This one’s my favourite. Content calendars will save you hours of time. You’ll be more organized, be able to plan ahead, and ultimately free up tons of time in your business.
How to create a content calendar
So now that we understand why content calendars are so important, let’s dive into how to create one.
P.S. For starters, I like to use a simple excel spreadsheet to make a content calendar, but you can build one in Google Calendars, a printable calendar template, or even in your notebook. Choose whatever works best for you!
1. Determine what your audience wants to see
Before diving into choosing what type of content creation, take a minute to figure out exactly what your audience wants to see. You can do this by reviewing your analytics and seeing what content has been popular in the past, polling your audience in Instagram stories, or sending out a survey to your e-mail list. Remember, you’re creating content for your audience, so you want to make sure the content you create is something they actually want.
2. Decide how often to publish
It’s time to chose how often you’ll post to your blog or social media channels. There are no right or wrong amount of times to post, what’s important is to choose something that works for you. If you can only commit to posting once a week, then start with once a week. If you like posting 7 days a week Instagram posts 7 days a week. Just remember to choose something realistic for you. (You can always change this as time goes on, so don’t worry too much!)
3. Create categories
Decide what categories you want to share on your blog and social media pages. An example of three categories could be recipes, workouts, and personal development. Creating these categories will give you a theme and a better sense of how to create content within each of these categories.
4. Research opportunities
Spend some time each month doing some research on your categories to see if there are any upcoming opportunities. If you’re a dessert blogger, maybe national chocolate day is coming up, which could be a great opportunity to provide your audience with some delicious chocolate recipes!
5. Do a brain dump & refine ideas
After you’ve spent some time doing research, do a brain dump of all your content ideas for the month. This can be done on your computer or on paper. Just write down anything that comes to mind. There are no bad ideas at this point.
Once all your ideas are out, now it’s time to refine them. Choose the ideas that make the most sense to you, and that you think will resonate most with your audience.
6. Plug your ideas into your content calendar
Once you’ve gone through the process of refining your ideas, you’re now ready to plug these ideas into your content calendar. Open up your Excel sheet, Google Calendar, or notebook and write down your content ideas and the date you’ll publish them. I like to plan out a month at a time, but you can plan less or more if you prefer.
It’s time to build your content calendar! Block off an hour in your calendar this week and commit that time to building your own content calendar. You’ll be amazed at the changes it will make in your business and your life.
Happy content planning!