As a business or entrepreneur, your website, blog and presence on social media platforms provide you with a unique opportunity to converse with potential clients and peers. Using these mediums, you can cultivate a clear image and learn about the people you want to connect with you. A successful blog and social media presence, which converts users into clients, gives before it asks. You will need to develop a content calendar which provides viewers with useful and actionable content while sharing the benefits of purchasing your services or products.

Content calendar development happens in two stages. The first stage provides a general schedule and topical overview. The second stage generates specific topics, delivery methods (email, social media), and bonus content for users (templates, lists, infographics).

We’ve built a template for this that you can download here!

Part I

Set a Topical Schedule

To start, determine your posting days. You may choose to post only during the days of the traditional work week or to post through the weekend. Pay attention to internet use habits of your desired audience. A good rule of thumb is to post at least weekly and on consistent days. The more often your site presents unique posts — the higher your site’s ranking will be in search engines. A higher ranking leads to more unique views and potential clients.

Once you’ve selected when the posts will go live, choose a blog post “type” for each day. For example, if you post Monday through Friday, Monday’s posts would be “How to” article, Wednesday’s posts would be a review of resources, tools, or products, and Friday’s posts would be personality features of successful people in your industry.

Supplementary Content

After defining your general topical approach, select supplementary content to share with your audience. Lists, infographics, PowerPoint presentations providing in depth information or an overview, or a special email, enrich the audience experience while adding to the credibility of your blog and brand. Keep in mind that while some of this supplementary content can be sourced via social shares, you’ll want to develop much of it yourself. You want to enhance the end-user’s experience with your offerings not another business’.

Social Shares

Social shares are today’s advertising word of mouth. Develop a few ideas regarding the type of content you want to share to social media, the types of posts within your calendar best suited to social sharing, and the platforms you want to use. Think in general terms. for example, your Friday personality feature could be shared on Instagram using a picture of the person and a link to the blog post.

Part II

Generate a Series of Topics

Now that you know where you’re going, you need to determine what you’re going to do to get there. Set up a content calendar template for posts which includes each of your post days for the next four weeks, a month’s worth of posts. Fill the template with a blog topic/title, suitable for the blog post type for each day.

Generating topic ideas can be challenging. Take a few minutes to brainstorm a list of ideas you want to cover on your blog. Next, make another list of what you know and what you want to learn about potential customers. Based on these lists, generate a list of topics using an intersection of what you want to communicate and content your audience will find useful.

Also, use the opportunity provided by your blog to integrate your business and promotional plans with the content of your blog and social shares. Do you have a promotional contest planned for the next month? Use the blog and your social presence to promote the contest and engage your audience.

Identify and Create Shareable Content

Videos, infographics, templates, and lists are shareable content, because recipients can use them immediately. Review your topics and determine which ones lend themselves to incorporating supplemental content. “How to” articles and reviews support the inclusion of infographics and lists which summarize blog post content; they act as printable, shareable, and most important useable quick references for your audience.

Select Social Sharing Platform

There are literally hundreds of social sharing platforms on the internet. Carefully select the social media platforms where your industry peers and your audience congregate on the internet. You may choose one or more, but be careful with choosing too many. You or your team will need to be able to consistently manage the content pushed to each platform.

For example, you may choose to use LinkedIn and Instagram if you have a business with highly visual offerings like athletic gear or tech gadgets. Within the template, select the posts you want to push to social media platforms. Use the template to indicate which platforms will receive content from which posts.

Integrate your content calendar into your daily operations. Update it as your business strategy evolves and allow it to compliment your other promotional activities. Content calendars clarify the direction of external communications, promotions, and networking.

Jon Westenberg