A great content strategy will guide your marketing efforts and make content creation a heck of a lot easier!
What is a “content strategy,” you ask?
It’s simply a plan for how you’ll use content to achieve your marketing and business goals.
I’ve worked in marketing and public relations agencies for years. From my professional experience, I learned how important it is to create content strategies that get real results for clients.
But agencies aren’t the only businesses that should implement content strategies. You should make one, too!
I created this guide and content calendar template to help you make your own content strategy. This information will be useful for anyone who uses social media for business, including (but not limited to):
- Small business owners
- Marketing executives
Keep reading to learn a quick and hassle-free way to plan a whole month of content in advance!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. All opinions are mine alone. Read my full disclosure policy for details.
1. Enter your name and email in the box below to receive a link to the Content Calendar Template in your inbox.
2. Copy the Content Calendar Template to your Google Drive.
Follow the link in the email to access the template.
Then, go to File > Make a Copy, and you’ll be able to copy the template to your Drive. You need to be logged in to your Google account to do this.
3. Use the following instructions to fill out the template.
Here’s an example of what the completed content calendar will look like:
4. Choose the platforms you will post on.
Look at the “Full icon bank” columns. Find the icons for the platforms you plan to use in your content strategy. Then, copy and paste the corresponding icons into the “My platforms” section.
After you’ve chosen your platforms, you can delete the “Full icon bank” columns if you want to get them out of the way.
Full icon bank
5. Under the “Brand traits” column, list the things you want your target audience to know about your business.
I recommend starting with 3 to 5, but you can add more over time.
You will use these traits to brainstorm content topics later on.
6. Under the “Recurring themes” column, list any themes you want to have in your content strategy.
Examples could include weekly email newsletters, themed days for Instagram posts, or any themes that repeat from day to day, week to week, or month to month.
Recurring themes are great because they make it easier for you to plan content. Instead of having to come up with a brand new idea for each piece of content, you’ll already have a general theme to work with.
As part of my content strategy, I have two email newsletters that I send twice per week. I send one on Monday and Friday, and I send the other on Tuesday and Thursday.
However, you do not need to have a recurring email newsletter if it doesn’t make sense for your business objectives. Only create themes that align with your goals!
7. Update the “Content ideas” column whenever you think of a new idea you want to add to the calendar.
You do not have to fill this out completely in the beginning, but it can help you organize your ideas if you have a brainstorming session.
Make sure you refer back to the “Content ideas” section when you’re planning new topics into the calendar!
8. Find the first day of the month in the calendar, and type a “1” in the box in the upper left corner of the given day.
The rest of the days of the month will automatically populate. If there are any boxes that extend past the number of days in the month (Ex. 32, 33, 34…), you can go ahead and delete them.
9. Decide how frequently you will post on each platform.
Prioritize the top one or two platforms where you can best reach your target audience.
For example, if you generate the most sales from posting on Instagram, you’ll want to post more frequently on IG as opposed to Facebook.
I would recommend posting at least 5 times per week on your top platform. Depending on your audience, you may want to post more frequently than that!
10. Copy and paste the icons for each platform onto the days you plan to post.
On the left side of each day, you will see four small boxes. That’s where you will paste the platform icons.
You don’t have to fill all four boxes. Only fill the ones that are necessary for your individual content strategy!
11. Next to each icon, type the content topic you plan to post on the given date and platform.
You can brainstorm content topics by referring to your:
- Brand traits
- Recurring themes
- Content ideas
If you’re stumped, here are some questions that can help you think of relevant and engaging content ideas:
- Are there any upcoming holidays or events that you want to create content for?
- What are your most frequently asked questions, and how can you answer them with your content?
- Which trending topics are relevant to your business?
- Which topics are most popular with your audience? (Hint: check your analytics!)
- What can you teach your target audience?
- Which problems can you solve for your ideal clients?
Ponder those questions for a while, and I bet you’ll come up with some amazing topics for your content calendar!
12. Once your calendar is filled out with topics next to each icon, start thinking about the graphic, photo, video, and audio content you will need.
If there is any content you need to shoot, plan the date, time, and location for the shoot under the “Shot list” column. Write the specific shots or scenes you’ll need to capture.
If you plan your shot list in advance, you’ll make sure you get all the content you need to post!
13. After you’ve planned a whole month, start preparing content strategies for the rest of the year!
The great thing about this digital content calendar is that you don’t have to complete everything all at once. You can plan little by little and add ideas as they come to you.
One of the most important lessons I learned from working at a marketing agency is that planning relieves stress and takes the guesswork out of content creation.
If you plan your content further in advance, you’ll save valuable time that you can dedicate to other areas of your business!
But wait, there’s more… learn my winning hashtag strategy!
On Instagram, I get about 50% of my post impressions from hashtags… and guess what? I want to share my hashtag research process with you for free so your hashtags can win, too!
Enter your name and email below, and I will send my hashtag strategy guide directly to your inbox!
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Let me know what you think of this content calendar template!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me.