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A guide for beginners – part 2

In Part 1, an outline for a content calendar was reviewed. With a content calendar you’re more likely to stay on track with your messaging, be more organized in your publishing online, and have a great overview  of your advertising at your fingertips.   

The content calendar has a few layers. You get to choose how many layers you want! And here’s a brief outline to help you get started.

Tip 1 – The core categories

You should include these core categories:

Publishing information: 

  • Posting date – the day you post is the day you publish
  • Posted to where – what social media are you using (Insta, LinkedIn, Facebook….) and include your website and blogs in this.

Theme:

  • What’s your topic – does it match your branding in style and tone?
  • Include the headline (title) of your information.

Format:

  • This includes text document, podcast or video, FB story or Insta story, or what other platforms you’re using. Maybe you’re posting on Medium or Reddit, or in an industry specific blog.

Call-to-Action (CTA):

  • Include an invitation to your customer to do something – whether it’s to comment, register for more information, download another report, get a catalogue (yes, they still exist!), or call for an appointment, as examples.

Why are these categories important?

These primary categories will show you if you’re staying true to your brand, to your customer needs, what information you’ve posted where, and which calls to action were most effective.

It’s an easy snapshot for reviews and for future planning.

Tip 2 – Editing Basics

There’s lots of useful information to track as well as the basics. You can consider these categories in editing.

1) Readability:

This is how easy your information is to read. Good advice is to write at about a grade 6-7 level editing menu.  There’s wiggle room in there depending upon your writing style and your reader’s preferences.

Your goal is to keep your customer reading without having to think too hard or stop to figure out what something means.  The easier it is to read, the more likely your customer will stay engaged to the end of your article.

When you edit your document check the readability score (grade level or FK score) and track that. You can do this in the editing tools in Word.

If you think that is too low of a reading level remember Hemingway wrote much of his works at a Grade 5 reading level.  

It’s your voice and style, and the topic that makes your information interesting to read.

2) Word Count:     

Depending upon where you’re posting, you may have guidelines.  Blogs are often 300-600 words while an article can be 900-1200 or more words.  Facebook has word counts and so does LinkedIn. 

Check for any guidelines before you start writing. Being aware of this is good to know before you launch your version of “War & Peace” when only the Cliff’s notes can be used.

Tip 3Brilliant Idea Bank

As you write and work through your ideas, you’ll come up with more. You can add a category to bank your ideas for the future.

You may come up with an idea for a training program, an e-book, a seminar or something else.

These are great ideas and its useful to keep them in sight, so you remember them as time goes on.

Tip 4 – Subgroups

This brings back memories of when I was a librarian. Everything was catalogued by two main groups (author and title usually) and then into subsets so it could be found and used.

Let’s imagine you’re writing a self-help article on stress and food. You might classify it simply as ‘stress – nutrition.’ If you’re writing an article on stress and focusing on getting a good night’s sleep, you might classify it is as ‘stress- sleep.’

Whether you go to this depth is up to you. It does depend upon your business.

Once you’re organized, capturing extra data like these categories only takes a minute or two to add to your calendar.

For such a tiny effort, it may be worth it in the future. My suggestion? Try it for a while and see what works for you.

It’s alive!

Your content calendar is not a dead document.  It shifts and changes without effort. Why? Because if you’re like me, you’ll read something and get an idea and make a note.

Then, if the idea is time sensitive, you can add it into the calendar for next week if you choose. Or even that day if it’s urgent or exciting and you have the time.

Remember, it’s easy to revise your calendar as you go.

Who uses content calendars?

Content calendars are used by copywriters, marketing strategists and savvy business owners.

Whether you’re working alone or in a team. A content calendar heightens your focus.  And, when you’re focused, your business will be more successful.

Like I mentioned in the first post, the dragons are out there in the dark holes of cyberspace. You don’t want to go there.

To stay out of the dark holes and avoid being a dragon’s snack, you need to be writing oodles of content for the online world.

The days of meeting your customers face to face are shifting. Even if your business is about meeting your customers in person,  more customers are using the internet to find you

BrizfFeel™ collected data in 2018 exploring 50 consumer behaviours. They surveyed 30,000 consumers ages 18-64.  If you’re unsure of the importance of having up=to=date and interesting useful content, this might help you decide:

“46% of consumers said they find their inspiration for purchase using social media, followed by: 41% using e-commerce platforms, 27% using blogs, 26% using individual retail websites, 19% using deals & coupons websites, 15% using comparison websites, 11% using newsletter email from brands, 9% using online communities & forum, and 6% using digital magazines.”

Your ability to promote yourself and your business with great content on a regular and consistent basis is vital to succeeding or having a chance at the success you desire.

It’s simply about showing your skills and talents through the information you’re posting on all your social media. And with everything else you use to connect to your customer.

A content calendar is the map for YOUR business journey  

It keeps you on track and out of the dragons’ lair.

It takes away the pressure of trying to figure out ‘what to do next’ and keeps you in action.

Imagine your future and what you need to be ready to do:

  • Whether you’re planning a retreat (you need materials for the retreat and promos to get your clients).
  • Or you’re putting together a series of infographics or podcasts, you need content.
  • Are you refreshing your website and adding pages with updated info? Add it to the calendar.

Your content calendar helps you plan your timelines, keeps you moving and building your resources for your brand and business.

Try it. Play with it.  Discover how taking a bit of time to plan saves your energy and resources for other important tasks.