The booming creator economy has changed the way online businesses and entrepreneurs operate. Content creation is one the most important parts of many online businesses, and managing all different platforms, and content types can be challenging. This is why every online entrepreneur and content creator can benefit from having a content calendar strategy set in place.
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar or editorial calendar is a tool that all businesses use to manage and plan out their content needs. Content calendars usually include things like social media posts, blog posts, upcoming launches, email newsletters, and important business dates.
While having a content calendar is already a huge step forward and can help you simplify your business, it alone won’t work unless you use it strategically. This is where content calendar strategy comes into hand.
Like with most parts of your business, for something to be effective, whether it’s the new launch of your course or community management, you have to have a strategy.
By planning out your business’s content needs and optimizing them, you’re making sure that your content flow is organic. And you don’t spend more time than you need on content creation. Using your content calendar strategically helps you do that.
Why do you need a strategy?
Having a content calendar strategy has multiple benefits. Here are some of the key reasons why online course creators need to implement it in their business:
1. Helps maintain brand consistency
The majority of your business success is going to come from you being consistent with your business and its content—regular blog posts, social content, and podcast episodes are what will help you build a brand around your business and help it grow.
Having a content calendar and a set strategy in place helps you guarantee that you’re showing up and being consistent with your content over all platforms. Showing up regularly on your target customer’s timelines and feeds is crucial to building trust and relationships with them. This can later turn into long-term customers.
2. Helps with organization
When we have too many things in our mind to decide on, we get overwhelmed—it happens even for the best of us, and it’s called decision fatigue.
Planning and executing are two different actions requiring a different set of skills. You might overlook certain things if you’re trying to do both. Having a content calendar strategy in place allows you to plan. And then have that plan to refer to when it’s time to execute, create, and post your content. You’ll be armed with strategy and a plan in hand, ready to go.
3. Track progress
The best way to gain confidence and grow as an entrepreneur is to track progress. A strategic content calendar helps you track your progress. This allows you to see how fast or slow your business is growing and how efficient you are with your time.
We tend to naturally over-estimate how much we can do in a time period. A content calendar will help you be better at evaluating yourself. This will allow you to better allocate your time, tweak the strategies that are working, and eliminate those that are not, which will all benefit the overall growth of your business.
4. Make it easy to work with a team
When you’re starting off, you might not have a large team or any team. But as you expand, you’ll be adding more people to help you run your business. A content calendar strategy can help you easily manage your team workload without much hassle. Having a plan and a curated template with a year’s view for every member of your team to see and use at the same time will be much easier than emailing back and forth.
5. Work smarter, not harder
Having a strategic content calendar will allow you to be smart with your content. You can plan in advance and see which content can be re-purposed for different platforms. This way, you can save time instead of creating fresh content for every single platform every single time.
It’s a life-saving tip if you’re a solopreneur without a team helping you build your business, so don’t skip on it.
Creating a content calendar strategy
So, you’re convinced of all the benefits of a content calendar strategy. And you’re ready to streamline your business, so what’s next? We have a simple five step process of how to create a content calendar strategy that works for you:
Step 1: Identify your content needs
You probably have tons of different platforms you’re creating content for—social media, online course, podcast, blog, guest blog posts, etc.. Your first step is to sit down and put all of your current content platforms in your content calendar.
Try answering these questions:
- What are 2-3 platforms I create content for?
- What are the secondary platforms I want to grow my business on?
- How does my content schedule look?
- How many times a week/day/month do I post?
- What days and times of the week I’m posting on?
A strategic content calendar is going to serve you long-term so consider a year’s view when you’re planning. This brainstorming can help you decide which platforms you might want to transition to later down in the year.
For example: Maybe you have been using Instagram and TikTok to promote your business. But in the Q3 of this year, you want to start creating content for your podcast as well as do some guest blogging. Note those channels in the content calendar, as this will help you prepare and plan for the future more strategically.
Step 2: Map out your content
Once you know what platforms you will be creating content for, it’s time to look at the content itself. Try answering these questions when planning:
- What posts you’re looking to create?
- What type of content does each platform need — video, audio, photos, posts?
- Is the content going to be evergreen?
- What posts can you re-use on multiple platforms?
- Will there be multiple formats needed for certain platforms? Ex: Instagram has Reels, Stories, and Feed posts
Get into the nitty-gritty details of what sort of content you’re looking to create to achieve your business goals, and note it all down in your content calendar strategy. Having all the details on the paper, where you can see them, will help you feel less overwhelmed about execution.
It will also help you prepare in advance, which brings us to step three:
Step 3: Plan the content
Now that you know what you’ll need to create and what type of content, it’s time to look at your whole year and plan your content. Planning is crucial because it will allow you to create content strategically with a plan for growth in mind.
Try answering these questions:
- Are there any launches you’re planning that require content?
- Are there any holidays that might be relevant for your business to take advantage of?
- Do you need to contact people in your industry to be a guest on their podcast, invite them on your podcast, or write a guest blog?
Put all of that in your content calendar strategy and mark it so that you have a rough plan of when you need what type of content. This will help you stay on track, so you have plenty of time to stick with your deadlines.
For example: You need to organize interviews with experts in your niche for your podcast. This takes time, so you want to make sure that you leave yourself enough time for connecting with experts, inviting them, setting a date for recording, and then recording itself. A strategic content calendar will allow you to easily navigate it all as you’ll be able to see what content needs preparation way ahead of time.
We have a free “course idea worksheet” to help you get started on the right foot—no matter what stage your business is in.
Step 4: Create the content
Now, it’s time for the fun part—content creation. We at Teachable love using the content batching technique to create content. And many different content creators swear by it as well. It’s easy and efficient and doesn’t require extensive time management skills to accomplish. So, anyone can use it to create content for their business.
You can batch content in three easy steps:
- Research and prep: You already know what type of content you need. Now it’s time to research and see what content you can create on topics in your niche.
- Brainstorm and outline: The second step is to put your research on paper and start outlining your content. It doesn’t have to be pretty; it can be rough drafts and plans of content that will make the creation easy.
- Create: This is exactly as it sounds—set large chunks of time out of your day for content creation and take photos, film videos, write course material or blog posts.
In three easy steps, you can create content for your business, helping you stay on top of things, grow your business, and foster your community without much stress.
Step 5: Keep it visible
For your content calendar strategy to be efficient, you need to have it on display and visible at all times so that you won’t just plan it all and forget about it.
Make sure that once you’ve done the work of creating your content calendar and planning your content, you have the content calendar in a place that you access on a regular basis. Consider a digital tool to help keep your calendar in place and in front of you each work day.
This will help you always stay on top of things and not lose track of time, as you might feel like you have more time than you actually have. It will also serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come with your business so that when you have a rough period, or you’re feeling down, you can always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.