Plan the work, work the plan

Knowing what to post on all of your social media platforms every day can be, well, a little chaotic.

You have to find relevant articles to highlight or things to say to engage your audience, post on all of your channels (sometimes multiple times a day!), check on any responses, and cross your fingers that your audience actually likes it. And if you’re not planning ahead, you’re likely doing all of this on the fly, alongside everything else on your plate. We know it’s a lot.

Building an editorial calendar is an easy way to simplify the whole process. It’s an organizational tool for you to view all of your planned content across different channels, over a set time period.

Wondering what that looks like? Let's walk through building one together: 

  1. Step one is simple. Build a table using whatever platform your prefer. (We love using Google Sheets!) Organize your columns by the days of the week. Boom, done. If you’re building one in Google Sheets we suggest making each week a new tab so you can keep everything in one place! 
  2. Next, we’re going to build out the rows in your calendar. The first few rows should include all the social media channels you post on (or want to post on!) at some point during the week. 
  3. After your social media channels, think about any original content that you’re already putting out that you might want to highlight on those channels. Do you blog a few times a week? Include blog posts as a row so you can see everything together.
  4. Include events as a row. Maybe you host them, maybe you just love to go to them. Either way, including events will remind you when to highlight them on your social media posts! 
  5. Finally, include metrics. Hopefully the last few weeks of Instagram Insights have instilled a deep love of analytics into you. If you choose to include this row you can highlight what did well (and what didn’t do quite so well) on a weekly basis so you can learn from your mistakes.

We’ll make it even easier on you; here’s our editorial calendar template, which you can save a copy of and tweak to fit your channels and content. Bam!

Think it sounds a little too basic? Well, it is. And that’s on purpose! There are lots of fancy, complicated tools that claim to make this process easier, and if those are working for you, that’s awesome. Keep using them! But often we sign up for fancy tools, use them for a few weeks, and either forget to keep using them or get frustrated at how much time it takes just to keep them updated. 

Look, this isn’t a new idea: Planning is something a lot of us should be doing, but aren’t. Fancy tool or not, just make sure you’re using some sort of calendar so you can:

  • Strategize! By including things like events and blog posts in your calendar, you’ll remember to keep your social posts relevant to each week. Maybe your company creates cards with Leslie Knope quotes that you want to highlight on Galentine’s Day (Feb 13th, by the way) or you want to make sure you mention your client’s networking event a few days before it happens. When you have everything in one place, it’s easier to keep up.
  • Visualize how your content is distributed throughout the week. Do you sometimes start the week full of optimism and tweet 4 times on Monday, 2 times on Wednesday, and by Friday you don’t even have time to think about Twitter? Using an editorial calendar will help you post on a regular basis throughout the week by spreading things out. That way when you’re in a bind and not sure what to post later in the week you can check your already planned out calendar and tweet away!
  • Have other people review your content! Showing your editorial calendar to someone before you post can be the difference between a social media success and a cringeworthy fail. (Like these).
  • Be consistent. Now that you have a tool… use it! Use planning to your advantage to maintain your desired posting frequency. Set aside a little time each day to review the calendar, add to it, schedule out the day’s posts, and check on your feeds. The whole process shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes, or you can split it up into two 15-minute chunks throughout the day. Consistency is key!