Close-up of businesswoman planning timetable using smartphone

As we venture back out and business starts to resume pace, are you ready to make up for lost time? Have you got your marketing plans confirmed with strategic content and messaging for the next few weeks? Are you equipped and able to join the conversations in your community? Could you be ready to respond in an instant?

We’ve previously shared our thoughts on creating an effective social media strategy and building on from this, we thought it might be helpful to go into a little bit more detail around content calendars.

As we are now midway through the month, we should already be looking ahead to July (hopefully you have your content planned and prepared – and possibly even scheduled – already for the next two weeks). You need to know what key themes and talking points are likely to be coming up that you can add value to.

If we take July as an example, we know that governments around the world have committed to getting tourism up and running again that month, so travel/tourism will potentially be a hot topics, as will hospitality, particularly once the schools finish and people contemplate their usual UAE summer exodus.

Ordinarily, there may be a list of events happening, and whilst the majority of these have probably been postponed, they may also be happening virtually, so it’s worth checking the status to see if there are ways you can be involved, or simply so that you can follow the conversation yourself.

In terms of specific days, if you spend some time now, you will discover a wealth of awareness and celebration days that might be appropriate topics for your organisation. I keep all of mine for each month on a spreadsheet, and as an example, the events below may be of interest for content themes and topics:

- 2nd July: Schools break up for summer

- 7th July: World Chocolate Day

- 30th July: International Day of Friendship

- 31st July: Eid

These are just a few examples of events that are likely to provoke conversation, however you need to establish whether these are of interest to your particular target audience, and if you have any value you can add on these topics (rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon and making a desperate attempt to be part of popular content themes, which is incredibly transparent).

Once you have a list of events, days and topics that you think will work for you, as well as any marketing priorities and messages for your organisation that need to go out in that particular month, you can plot them all down (despite all the tools out there, I still like working with a simple Excel sheet). This will make sure your content is spaced out and organised well so that the messages do not overlap and confuse people.

Think about ways to repurpose content so that you are reaching all audiences (different people respond to different styles/types of content, and engage differently on different platforms) and not reinventing the wheel and creating extra work for yourself. If you want to do something around safe travel at the beginning of the month to tie in with schools breaking up, then you could create a written blog post for your website (long form content) with some top tips, this can then be shared across your social media platforms as a teaser, driving people back to your website to read more. At the same time, you could create a talking head style video post sharing the same tips and advice, which can also be shared across social media. A series of graphics can be created, each image giving one of the tips – these can also then be shared across social media, and maybe you can also create an infographic of the tips and advice you have shared in one longer  image. This will give you a variety of content, to be shared over the course of the week/fortnight, it will ensure you get maximum impact for one topic, and the reinforcement of seeing your messages and content on the topic will help the viewer/reader to retain the information and remember what you have said. Just make sure every time you share a piece of content that you have a different message/call to action, and you don’t just repeat what is mentioned on the graphic/video/blog post. This is also a great opportunity to use different hashtags for each post and ensure maximum reach.

Once you have confirmed the content you will be sharing, you can plot each of these posts into your calendar. To make sure there is consistency, try to ensure the same types of content go on the same days each week, and make sure you don’t send the same post across all of your channels on the same day at the same time. There is no harm sharing the same content across all of your channels, but make sure you spread it through the week, as optimum viewership will be highest at different times for different channels.

You can also research your hashtags in advance and include these on your planner so that you know which hashtags will get used on which days, and that nothing is missed. Review your choice of hashtags on a regular basis to see if they are all still as relevant and effective as when you first chose them.

At this stage you should at least be able to have a draft plan together for next month, with placeholders for the types of content – this should give you enough time to get the content (videos, graphics, etc) created and approved in time. Ideally try to ensure you always have final posts drafted and approved at least a week before posting so that you are never caught on the back foot – unfortunately it’s all too easy to fall behind!

If you have any questions about content calendars, or would like any advice, or to see any examples, please do feel free to email sam@footstepcommunications.com

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