Day 3 of how to plan a content marketing calendar: Make it manageable

Day 3 of how to plan a content marketing calendar: Make it manageable

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without at least knowing where you’re going, and roughly how you’re going to get there.  Today’s section is all about breaking your journey down into small manageable steps so it doesn’t seem like a huge scary task of three months of solidly producing content, all day every day.

So, if you’ve completed the exercises from day 1 and day 2, you now know what you want to achieve (the Epic Essentials), and you have some ideas in your head (Your customers questions and burning desires). Now we’re going to think about what sort of posts you will use to achieve them and how often you’re going to post.
But before we get going, there are a few rules I want you to keep in mind when doing these exercises:

Rule 1: Be realistic
If you work by yourself and have a business to run, I doubt you’ll have the time, or energy, to be able to post in-depth how-to articles every day. Maybe once a week would be more realistic. But if you’re simply posting an inspiring image or sharing a short video, this can be done in a matter of minutes.

The most important thing it not to set yourself up for a fall. Yes, Seth Godin blogs every day, sometimes twice a day. But if you set a ridiculously high expectation, you’ll struggle to meet it and then the rest of the schedule will collapse.

Rule 2: There’s no ‘right answer’
There’s no hard and fast formula for how often to post. And remember you don’t have to stick to it religiously. If something burning comes up that you can’t wait to share, then of course do it, don’t hold off because it’s not in the calendar.

Action step: Think about what sort of posts you want

  • You might want a mixture, such as one in depth article or discussion every fortnight, interspersed with quick tips and sharing other helpful stuff.
  • You might want videos, downloads, slideshows or recipes.
  • You might want to know exactly what you’re writing about in advance, or you might want to be influenced by the news, other events, and what other people are publishing.

Action step: Think about how often you want to post

For most businesses, generally 1-3 posts a week is about right. If you’re posting quick tips or a great image, 3-5 times a week might be fine, or you might want to concentrate on producing just one ridiculously useful in-depth article per month.  Any less than once a month though and it loses it’s regularity and people might forget about you.

Action step: Put your ideas into a schedule

If you want to post more than once a week, putting your thoughts into a schedule makes it feel much more manageable. Instead of thinking “how on earth will I find epic content for my blog for three whole months?” It makes you realise it’s actually quite achievable.

I like to look at things on a 4-week basis, and do a table with weeks 1,2,3 & 4 at the top, and then the number of posts each week down the side. If you want you can write when you plan to publish each post as well. Let’s take this example below…

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Tuesday mornings In-depth how to News-related or seasonal post In depth discussion Best of the web round up
Thursday lunchtime Quick tip Quick tip Quick tip Quick tip

 
So for three months you only really need 24 ideas, and 12 of these will be short and snappy tips. Three of them will be you curating other content, and another three will be dictated by what’s going on at the time. So really you only need six in-depth articles. It doesn’t seem as scary now does it.

Action step: Is your schedule realistic?

Next you need to work out how much time you think you’ll need per week to stick to your schedule.  I find per week is the best way to look at it, if you work it our per month, it starts to look scary again.

Using the example above, you might need 30 minutes for the quick tip and 2-3 hours for the more in-depth post.  So ask yourself, can you commit three and a half hours each week to your content marketing. If the answer is yes – great!

But if you don’t think you can, then go back to your schedule and see if you can take things out, or spread things out a bit more. You might want to play around with what feels right and it’s always best to start small. Once you’re in a routine of posting regularly, you can always add more as you become more of a pro!

That’s it for today. Congratulations, you now have all the building blocks to plan an awesome content marketing schedule. Tomorrow is where the real magic happens and we’ll really get your creative juices flowing.

6 Comments

  1. Very good tips for managing a workload. Too often we see the elephant and forget that we eat it one bite at a time!

    found you from NaBloPoMo and marking to come back!

    • So pleased you found it useful Noel. I love that quote about the elephant! xx

    • Thanks Kathy x

  2. These were great tips! I have been scheduling my posts now and find that it helps a lot! I like to have at least 3 done so that if life gets too busy (doesn’t it always) then I have stuff in the can and ready to go and it frees me up to spend time in my craft room creating new content. Thanks so much!

    • Scheduling is definitely my next thing to master! Thanks Winnie x

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  1. How to plan a content marketing calendar: Get inspired | explore communication - [...] Update: Click here for day 3′s post on how to plan and awesome content marketing calendar: Make it man... ...
  2. How to plan a content marketing calendar: Epic content | explore communication - [...] need your outline schedule from yesterday,and the ideas and inspiration you wrote down from the day [...]

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