Do you use a marketing / content calendar?

I was invited by the folks at Industrious Office (sweet new facility at Ponce City Market in addition to their original location at Peachtree & 17th) to host a weekly meetup / chat about all things digital marketing. The topic for yesterday was the marketing calendar. We had a great, open discussion about where you start, how you manage, and how to best utilize a marketing or content calendar. Here are some of the things we discussed.

How do you start? There are 4 main pieces of information that you really need to get started on a marketing calendar:

  1. The name of the campaign or campaign item
  2. The date the item is going to be released
  3. Who owns the item
  4. What’s the current status of the item?

Starting with these 4 things, you can then customize the calendar to your needs. I use a Google Spreadsheet for my calendar because it’s free, easy, and great for sharing and collaboration. Here’s a sample of one of the calendars that I use. What goes into this calendar? Lots of stuff. Note first that this particular calendar is 100% for scheduled social media posting on Facebook & Twitter.

  • 50,000 foot view – the month-at-a-glance view is on one tab. This view shows what topic we’re going to post when.
  • Posting times – through testing and measuring, we learned what posting times get the best results, and those results are measured in engagement (for this particular client).
  • Total posts per day, week, and month – this view gives you a really good view of your cadence of scheduled posts, though it does not take into account at all your active posting. That’s tomorrow’s blog post.

The next tab is a detailed view of each individual topical bucket. In the screenshot above, you can see “Topic 1”, “Topic 2” etc. Those are topical buckets. We arrived at those by taking a really high view of all available content, and then dividing it all up into buckets. Those buckets become the organizational structure of our social content. Each topical bucket then gets its own tab in the spreadsheet where we enter each individual post.

Here are the fields of data that we capture for each post:

  • Date(s) – when is the post going to be posted to the social channel?
  • Facebook Post (Original) – the text of the original post for Facebook
  • Facebook Post (Edited) – edited post if applicable
  • Tweet (Original) – the text of the original post for Twitter
  • Tweet (Edited) – edited post if applicable
  • Char # – a formula to count the number of characters for Twitter
  • Image? – Y or N for an image. Most often, it’s “Y” because you should always include a great image on social
  • Image URL – we store all the images in Google Drive. Just click the link to see the image
  • Hashtag – we also include the hashtag in the actual text of the post, but having it here as well makes for easy searching
  • Approval – client approval (or not)
  • Comments – any comments from anyone about the post

The one thing that I have not yet found is a tool for collaborative editing and posting for several social channels. What I mean by that is that we can’t actually see what the post will look like in a Google Spreadsheet. It always looks different. A great idea for Buffer or Hootsuite (or you!!) to build would be a scheduling & editing tool that displayed an actual proof of what each post will look like on each medium so that collaborators could share, edit, comment, preview, schedule, and post. Like WordPress for social media posting.

What do you think about that?

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