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Monique Bouchard Monique Bouchard
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The Marketing Edge - The content calendar: A structure to reduce stress!

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If you are a business with a social media presence or a website with a blog, you’ve probably heard people talk about posting new content on a regular schedule. You may have figured, “Oh yeah, I’m on Facebook all the time! No problem!”

But then you realize that it’s Thursday and you should have posted something already, but you just don’t know what to say. And so you haven’t said anything … in weeks.

To you, my friends, I say, “Take heart, you are not alone!” Content presents a challenge for everyone who creates it and there are ways to make that process easier. One of those is by making a content calendar. After all, fortune favors the bold AND the prepared!

The Big Picture

Consider your action plan and goals for the year. Everything (or nearly everything) should work in support of that goal, including your content. It could be to increase interest, sell more, get more calls, educate and inform…whatever your goals are, your content can help to meet them.

The Year in Review

Think of the significant times of the year for your business or organization. Just jot down what comes to mind, month by month. It could be that business kicks in every year in June and slows in October. Maybe you have a sale on Valentine’s Day every year, product updates that release each quarter, or a community BBQ every August. Whatever those are, note them month by month.

Save the Dates

You’ll now start to put the year in order using a calendar or a spreadsheet with dates. Note any promotions the month before you have them. For example, you want to talk about your June sale in May, so people have time to hear about it. Make a note of any important holidays and if you need to announce something about them, like an office closure.

Fill in the Blanks

Look for the places where you don’t have much on your list yet and think of how you’ll fill in that content. Creativity can guide you in this task. A candid shot of the office, praise for an employee, a customer testimonial, a little hint or piece of advice related to your business, an item on sale…there are many ways to create content that can generate a response.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, (and Usually a Picture)

By answering these, you’ll have all the information you need to create effective content. Who’s your audience? What is the call to action or point of the material? Where are you going to put it – website, social channels, email newsletter, ad in the paper, etc.? Why are you posting it – how does it meet your goal? When will it be published? How will it achieve your goal? And add a picture if possible – we are visual people so image use in support of your content can make a big difference in your message being remembered!

Track the Effect

It can feel intimidating to plan out a whole year, but a content calendar will help you break down your communications into a plan which can be reviewed and reused. It also lets you schedule posts on social media, allowing you to maximize your effectiveness while you’re setting up your content.

(Monique Bouchard is an account manager and content creator for Sutherland Weston.)


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