Why You Need to Create a Content Calendar
Tips to help you keep your content on track
By Jessica Alex
So, you’ve taken a great photo, posted it on the ’gram and got lots of likes. Then, two weeks have passed, and either you’re scratching your head, thinking of what to post next, or life has got you so busy that you forgot to post. Does this sound familiar? I’ve consulted with various creative entrepreneurs and noticed a common thread among them: “I want to post regularly, but I get stumped.” or “I have content; I just don’t know how put it all together.”
Related article: What in the World is Content Marketing, Anyway?
Pressuring yourself to find something to post last-minute is not the move — at least not if you want to be consistent with your content. First, I want you to look at your target audience. Where are they? How do they like to receive their content? If, let’s say, they are on Instagram and YouTube, and they also like listening to podcasts, then those are the places you want to start. Whether you are able to do one platform or all three, you then want to plan at least one month ahead. Why? Because it will help keep you on track! This is coming from personal experience. When I plan the timing and where I’ll place my content, it gets done. When I don’t plan, the content is very scarce (unless the frequency of posts was adjusted, based on the posting platform, which leads to my next point).
Now that you know what platform(s) you want to use, the next decision is the frequency of your posts. Your research may show that posting on your Instagram feed one or two times a day works, whereas for your YouTube videos and podcast, you may only post once a week.
Then, you want to figure out what type of content your audience responds to best. Perhaps on Instagram, you get the most engagement when you post videos and use your stories daily, too. On YouTube, you may find you get the most views when you do “how-to” videos, and the same holds true with guest interviews on your podcast. Although you can find reports online that can guide you on what type of content people respond to best, based on stats, what will really help you to figure out what content your audience will respond to is ... your audience, over time. So, while you are planning ahead, still pay attention to what your audience appreciates the most, and keep that in mind as you continue to plan for the future.
Also, planning ahead doesn’t mean you can’t make last-minute changes. And it doesn’t mean that if you use automated services, you schedule your post and forget about it. Circumstances can change from day to day, so you have to be flexible, and most importantly, you have to be present. Why? You want to remain authentic and show you are keeping abreast of current events. How can “setting it” and then “forgetting it” affect your authenticity? Well, let’s say, for instance, you are planning a post about having ice cream on a sunny Thursday, because the weekly forecast says that is going to be the only beautiful day of the week, and you know your audience likes photos of ice cream. It’s now Tuesday, and the weather report has been updated: Wednesday is now going to be the only sunny, warm day that week, and Thursday is going to have rain showers all day. What do you do? A) Do you post on Thursday with the original caption “Love me some ice cream on a sunny day 🍦☀️” or B) Change your post schedule to Wednesday, instead or C) Keep your schedule as is, but change the caption to “Rainy days like this have me yearning for summer days 🍦☀️”? The answer is really up to you, but I’ve had this happen to me. And I would go with option B or option C. Otherwise, my audience, who is predominantly in the same city as I am, potentially may scratch their heads if I went with option A 🤔. Now, posting about ice cream on a rainy day might not be that big of a deal, but hopefully, you get the idea! Be prepared with plan B at all times to avoid being stuck if your original idea or content plan isn’t going to work.
Creating a content calendar can also help you with consistency. For instance, it can help you have a consistent look for your Instagram feed or assist you with regularly scheduled postings. Sometimes it’s not enough to know you are posting weekly or monthly. On some platforms, you may find it will also help you with your consistency, and increase your engagement rates, to post on the same weekday. With consistency and engaging content, maybe your audience will start to look forward to your TGIM (thank God it’s Monday) podcast or your Friday afternoon YouTube videos that help them get even more excited for their weekend.
A content calendar can help give you a sense of direction, create themes, stay consistent and give you the kick-in-the-butt you need to keep your content going. For the next three months, try creating a content calendar a month in advance, and let me know how it’s working for you.
I want to hear from you! Email me at hello[at]jessicaalexmarketing[dot]com and let me know how creating a content calendar is working for you.
 Some people plan up to a year ahead.
 Some entrepreneurs use automated services to help schedule their posts in advance, as opposed to posting live every time.