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Harnessing the Power of a Content Calendar: A Guide for Small Business Owners

content calendar guide

As a business owner, your plate is already full. The last thing you have time for is worrying about consistently posting on social media. You likely feel that pressure to consistently post and push out quality content. But, with everything else that you have to manage, it probably feels impossible. This can lead to creating mediocre content that gets posted whenever you find the time. 

However, creating and publishing content in a haphazard, disorganized manner is like navigating a ship without a compass. That’s where a content calendar steps in, serving as your strategic roadmap in the vast sea of content marketing. It can help relieve some of that stress.

Not only can a content calendar help with your stress, but it can also improve your content marketing strategy. 64% of the most successful companies have a documented content strategy, which includes a content calendar. This tool can help you plan out your content in advance and overall lead to smoother sailing.

Keeping track of all content-related activities while managing the day-to-day business operations can be quite a task. A well-maintained content calendar can streamline this process, bringing a level of consistency to your publishing schedule and improving the overall efficiency of your content marketing strategy. Here’s how to develop and maintain a content calendar for your small business.

Why Use a Content Calendar?

A content calendar serves as a visual representation of your planned content activities over a set period of time. It organizes your content production process, highlighting what, when, and where you should publish. It also offers visibility on important dates and upcoming events that can be integrated into your content strategy. Plus, it allows you to stay on top of your content, which is very important if you are a busy person.

The main benefits of maintaining a content calendar include:

1. Consistency

Regular posting maintains a consistent presence on your chosen platforms and keeps your brand top of mind for your audience. You can choose to post certain types of posts on set days or times so that your customers always know what to expect. Or, if you just want to ensure that you consistently have content scheduled to post, then a content calendar will solve that problem for you too.

With a content calendar, you can visualize and plan exactly how often you want to post. By knowing what days and times you want to post, you can streamline the process of creation. Staying ahead of schedule will help relieve your stress about posting on social media as a busy business owner.

2. Strategic Planning

Calendars allow you to plan around key business events or seasonal trends, ensuring you make the most of those opportunities. By having a content calendar, you can visualize your planned content. This allows you to make sure that you won’t miss out on any important dates within your business, industry, or holidays.

On another note, you can move scheduled content around if something more pressing comes up. For example, if there is a specific trend or topic that needs to be discussed immediately, you can simply move posts around to create space.

3. Efficiency

Having a clear content plan in place helps to avoid last-minute scrambles for content and encourages effective time management. With a busy schedule, it is easy to not have content ready to post or any ideas of what to create. With a content calendar, you can have a brainstorming session and plan out a batch of content. Then, you can create that content gradually and have it ready to go.

By knowing when and what you want to post, content becomes easier to create. If you are able to stay at least a couple of weeks ahead of your content, then you never have to stress about having something to post. If you have some extra time, you can create content and fill up the calendar. Content calendars provide a great opportunity to be ahead of schedule and overall make your life easier.

4. Collaboration

If you have a team, a content calendar offers transparency, enabling everyone to understand their roles and deadlines, which fosters a more collaborative work environment. Depending on the certain content calendar you choose to use, your team can collaboratively work on scheduling and creating content. A lot of calendar tools allow for multiple people to edit it. This allows everyone to know their responsibilities and due dates, so there’s never any confusion.

Building a Content Calendar

So now you know why you need one, but how do you make one? Well here are 3 simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Define Your Content Strategy

Before you start to fill in your calendar, it’s important to have a clear content strategy in place. Understand who your audience is, what kind of content they want, which platforms they use, and how frequently they would like to see content from you. If you already have a set content marketing strategy, then you probably already know a lot of this information.

It is necessary to understand your audience so that you can create and post content that they want to see. Plus, it will help you in creating your content calendar in the most effective way possible.

Step 2: Choose the Right Tools

There are many tools available for creating a content calendar, ranging from simple spreadsheets to sophisticated software. Choose a tool that fits your budget, team size, and complexity of your content plan. Some popular options include Google Sheets, Trello, Asana, or content-specific tools like CoSchedule or DivvyHQ.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter which content calendar you choose, but how you use it. A free calendar tool can be just as effective as an expensive one if you use it correctly. Just make sure you have a set plan in place to efficiently manage your calendar and you should be set.

 

Step 3: Start Filling Your Content Calendar

Once you’ve chosen your tool, start populating your content calendar. This should include the content topic, format (blog, social media post, video, etc.), publish date, author or responsible team member, and the platform(s) where it will be published.

To put it more simply, make sure you include all the elements of the posts you make on social media. Other than the information that is needed for each piece of content you upload, you need to make sure that whoever is responsible for creating that content is listed, as well as the date and time.

The beauty of a content calendar is you can fill it as much as you want. If you want to have a rough draft of your posting schedule months in advance you can do that. Just make sure that when it gets closer to creating that content, it is still relevant to your brand and industry.

 

Maintaining a Consistent Content Calendar and Publishing Schedule

Okay, so now you have a content calendar, but how do you maintain it? Here are 3 tips to help you stay on top of your calendar:

1. Stick to Your Plan As Much As Possible

Once you’ve built your content calendar, stick to the planned schedule. Consistency is key in content marketing, and a regular posting schedule helps to keep your audience engaged. You already made your plan, so make sure you give it time to work.

2. Remain Flexible

While consistency is important, so is flexibility. If a new trend or current event emerges that is relevant to your audience, don’t be afraid to shift your content plan to address it. It is easy to move content around, so whenever you feel that something needs to be added or moved, then go ahead and do it.

3. Review and Adjust

Regularly review your content performance. Use analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your content calendar accordingly. If a certain type of post is underperforming, don’t be scared to try something new. The same goes for if something is doing really well. Go ahead and adjust the calendar to include more of that content. It really is a game of figuring out what works well and what doesn’t, and a content calendar allows you to easily see and make those adjustments.

Final Notes on Building Your Content Calendar

Building a content calendar and maintaining a consistent publishing schedule may seem like a daunting task at first. But, with a well-defined strategy, the right tools, and a commitment to consistency and flexibility, it can become a smooth and efficient process.

Remember, the main goal of a content calendar is to make your life easier, so go ahead and give it a try.

Ready to Launch a Content Marketing Plan for Your Small Business?

 

We know that carving out the time, resources, and energy to create ongoing content for your brand or business is a full-time job. That’s why we created Breezy – your instant content marketing team.

You don’t need to hire multiple full-time employees to handle all of the strategy, planning, writing, designing, and publishing of content. You also don’t have time to wrangle tons of different freelancers to get this all completed. You need one expert team that can help get all of the amazing thought-leadership and subject matter expertise out of your head and into formalized, engaging content that keeps you top of mind with your audience.

We’re that team!

See how we can help your small business, startup, or agency with a free consultation. 

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"I highly recommend working for Breezy if you're just starting out as a content creator. It's a really great way to get your feet wet and see what types of clients you like working with."
Hannah Warren
Content Creator

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