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content strategy: how to create a content calendar
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How to Create a Content Calendar

Social Media content strategy is an essential marketing tactic for brands nowadays. Every business from Neiman Marcus  to Nike utilizes social media strategy. Social Media managers are responsible for jumping on the latest trending topics and keeping abreast of current conversations. Anything from live tweets to related news stories serve as pieces of content used to engage and interest audience types. This is where a content calendar comes in handy! 

WHAT IS A CONTENT CALENDAR? 

Content calendars serve as the cornerstone for social media marketing strategy. Social media strategists use them as an organizational tool to display what content is being curated. Often times they resemble a physical calendar including details such as how, when, and where content is to be published, this includes various versions of similar posts for different social media channels. The practice of curating a well-constructed social media calendar takes into consideration the types of content your audience is likely to want to see. Knowing your audience is crucial in properly being able to entertain them as well as establishing yourself as a thought leader.

DECIDE WHAT CONTENT TO POST

Building a long-term social media strategy is a good starting point and allows you to set realistic goals in the long-run. The best way is to start by conducting a social media audit based on old content, this includes all social platforms. Conducting an audit requires analyzing metrics and insights in order to decide which posts are resonating with audiences. Take a look at posts with high levels of likes, shares, comments and various other forms of engagement. This will give a more comprehensive idea what’s working and lay way for posting ideas in the future. 

If you don’t have an online presence established, it’s best to perform a social audit for a competitor. Make sure to research items such as account hashtags and keywords with the highest level of engagement. This will give you a better sense of what topics are currently trending as well as provide an example. It’s good practice to only post content that is relevant to your industry as it doesn’t always have to be product-based. This can include anything like industry news, old company throwbacks, or industry tips and tricks. 

Once you complete your audit, whether it be your own social or a competitors platform, make sure to take note of specific trends. When you analyze the numbers, you’ll start to see patterns forming in terms of what content is more likely to resonate with your audiences. This could be topics, hashtags, or keywords that are industry specific. It’s a good practice to jot it down as this will help you brainstorm effective ways to expand on some of that content. Focus on what makes your brand unique, what is your niche? Having a keen understanding of what makes you  unique will greater assist you in creating and curating content that is cohesive to your brand identity. 

The following are social media audit tools: 

1. Critical Mention Social Media Monitoring
Founded in 2002, this social media monitoring software is great for content strategy and public relations purposes. The platform utilizes real-time social listening and analytics methods to track mentions on specific networks, audience values, share of voice and social mentions over a period of time.

Website: https://www.criticalmention.com/media-monitoring/social-media-monitoring/

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2. Digimind
Based in France, Digimind is a global social media monitoring company that provides solutions for clients in the form of consumer insights by focusing on brand mentions. This greatly helps streamline the process to create buyer personas based on target audience demographic and interest.  

Website: https://www.digimind.com/consumer-insights

3. Netbase Social Media Analytics
Founded in 2004, Netbase utilizes Artificial Intelligence methods to scan social media sources for conversations about your business. This includes shares, comments, and mentions. The social analytics platform helps brands better connect with consumers in real-time as well as establish business identity. 

Website: https://www.netbase.com/applications/nb-social-media-analytics/

CREATE A POST SCHEDULE 

Once you’ve conducted your audit, you’ll have a better idea in terms of which posts are resonating with audiences. Take a minute to analyze trends such as popular topics or themes, this will help lay the groundwork for developing your schedule. Frequency of posts varies from industry to industry as well as what social media channels are being utilized. It’s a good habit to stick to a regular posting schedule as long as you have something of substance to add to the conversation. Be mindful of posting outdated or redundant content as this can be damaging to your brand image. You want audiences to be able to anticipate what’s coming next. 

 The following are tools used to create an editorial calendar: 

1. Hootsuite 
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that supports social network integrations for sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The best part is the publisher interface closely resembles a content calendar. This allows strategists the ability to create, schedule and multi-post content across platforms either in real-time or far ahead of schedule. 

Website: https://hootsuite.com/

2. Basecamp 
Basecamp is a scheduling software that is often times utilized by project management for organizational purposes. The main benefit is that it allows collaborative real-time communication amongst various team members, making it an ideal platform for content calendar creation. 

Website: https://basecamp.com/

3. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is probably one of most widely used applications in content creation. The time-management and scheduling service allows social media strategists the ability to organize content by date and time in order to maximize exposure. You can currently download the google calendar application for free from the Google Play store. 

TRACK YOUR CONTENT

The ability to track quality metrics is huge in terms of strategy. Your content calendar serves not only as a baseline for social media strategy but it can also give valuable insight for campaign effectiveness. Once you launch your campaigns pay attention to what content is performing well and try to incorporate those ideas in the future. This is the time to plan metrics goals for specific platforms. How one piece of content performs on one social platform varies greatly so it’s a good idea to make adjustments accordingly. 

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CONCLUSION

Having a well-structured content calendar helps to further ease the stresses Marketers encounter daily. By pre-planning and approving content months in advance, marketers and social media strategists are able to shift their primary focus on other aspects of marketing strategy. The constant worry of what to post and when to post daily can be an invaluable waste of company time. By carefully curating and planning posts far in advance it not only reduces work flow stress but also minimizes the likelihood of errors. This is why content calendars have become the almighty grail in terms of marketing tools.