When content calendars are not the answer

content calendarContent calendars can be an excellent tool to plot out your social outreach strategy for creating and sharing content over time. The calendar may include links to existing resources like e-books and white-papers, videos and other downloads. These are easily scheduled in a content calendar and that allows you to see the story you are weaving over a period of time and also step back and see where there are opportunities to create more information or to curate relevant content from other sources.

All good right? Yes and no. It may be tempting to fill in the calendar with all the marketing info you possibly can and call it a day. Schedule it in Sprout Social or Hootsuite and you’re done. Awesome. NOT.

Write this down and put it on your monitor. 75% of the content you share every day should be about your network and their interests, not about you. This content may be curated from relevant news stories, breakthroughs in the industry you are related to, regulatory issues or re-shares to support the people within your networks. The remaining 25% can be about you, though it still should be useful and valuable information not canned marketing speak, and that 25% can certainly be planned out in a content calendar!

What does a content calendar look like?
It varies a lot sometimes it’s a shared Google spreadsheet or a literal calendar on a whiteboard. It’s good if it is in a format that can be shared with your entire team. This makes it easy for people to edit and add their own ideas and plan ahead. Here’s a good tutorial on creating a content calendar and a free template to boot.

Once you get some items in your content calendar step back and take a look. It should give you ideas to look for the other 75% of content through searches, curation tools like Scoop.it or Feedly, and keyword alerts with apps like Mention and Buzzsumo.

Bottom line? Content calendars  aren’t a shortcut to social media engagement. They’re a planning tool that can help you get a better big picture of your messaging and the time to engage with your network and support and add value to it in real-time.