Whether you write for a blog, for a website, for social media or run campaigns, your work begins by asking: “What should I be writing about today?”

For many people, this is an ad hoc affair when they think on the go about something to write. Magazines and professional publishers have always planned many months in advance what to release and at which precise time to get the maximum results. And so should you.

To get started in your planning, here are 7 tips to consider to design your content calendar, also known as editorial calendar, to schedule your content for the next 12 months:

1.     Always start with your audience needs and how to match their goals to your offer

2.     The more thought you put into planning your content at the beginning of the year or the month, the easier it will be to stick to a routine and avoid running out of ideas

3.     Plug in first the major events/dates of the year that are significant in your industry and jot down some ideas of what you may publish on that day. Add some keywords that people are likely to search that are relevant to your ideas

4.     Plan to use rich media content in your calendar, i.e. a mix of text, infographics, images, videos to make your content engaging

5.     Think about what you can do to engage in conversations ie reply to comments, thank people who mention you, contribute to other people conversations. Be generous with the ‘competition‘ by mentioning who is doing something well and sharing some of their posts.

6.     Schedule in your content calendar a social media plan with a mix of useful tips, news industry news, behind the scene of your company, promotion of your product, competitions and contests to run throughout the year

7.     Use a simple but actionable tool to build your content calendar. It doesn’t need to be complex if you are not running a large marketing department. An excel spreadsheet could be just what you need with the right structure to plan your content in a logical and integrated way. You can share the file on Google docs, Dropbox or any other file sharing app, if you have many contributors.

I’ve been using an excel spreadsheet for several years to organise my own content and for some  clients and you can access the content calendar 2017 to start to create an integrated content plan with blogs, emails, social media and more.

The fully customizable Content Calendar 2017 contains the following tabs:

  • Monthly 2017. In this tab, you can list the public holidays, key dates and the campaigns to run monthly. You can also use this tab to choose one word to create the theme of the year, for example ‘Momentum’, ‘Focus’ or ‘Partnership’ to summarise what you need to focus on to achieve your best year ever.
  • 52 weeks. In this tab, you can plan for the 52 topics of the year. It can be 10 subsections of 12 themes that are relevant for your business.
  • Daily posts. This tab can be used to schedule your blog posts.
  • Social plan. This tab provides you a structure for Monday to Sunday and the type of information you could share on social media. It also includes the image sizes optimised for each social media, a Twitter checklist to use to optimise your tweets including guidelines for promotional tweets.
  • LinkedIn tab.  This tab provides you the structure to use to schedule your LinkedIn posts
  • Twitter tab. This tab provides you the structure to use to schedule your Tweets
  • Facebook tab. This tab provides you the structure to use to schedule your Facebook posts and for status update
  • Instagram tab.  This tab provides you the structure to use to schedule your Instagram posts
  • Sources and hashtags. This tab provides you the place to store list the sources of information you use to find information and the hashtags you use or follow.  
  • Partners-competitors. This tab provides you the opportunity to list your existing and potential partners as well as your competition that you want to follow. This is the perfect way to outline opportunities you spot for a win-win partnership (which value you can provide them & the value they can provide you).
  • Emailing schedule. This tab provides you a template to schedule your monthly or weekly newsletters well in advance and thinking through what will be sent out.
  • Interview schedule. Use this tab to plan ahead and research experts to interview and when the video, audio or article will be released in your schedule to make the most sense.

You can get your copy of this fully customizable content calendar 2017 here.

You will also receive this content calendar and many more marketing templates in our upcoming 6-week program, How To Establish A Profitable Business Online, starting the 07 February.

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About Francine Beleyi

Francine Beleyi is bilingual French-English, international digital and change consultant, entrepreneurial journalist & speaker who helps corporate executives, entrepreneurs and organisations, to adapt and thrive in the digital age.

Francine spends her days speaking with and studying the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the new economy, and sharing her findings with her clients and those who want to understand and master the new rules for business growth.

Visit |nucleusofchange | @FrancineBeleyi.