Whether you work for multiple clients at a marketing agency or you’re managing your company’s social media yourself, creating a month’s worth of content can be a daunting task. You have this big, blank calendar in front of you just waiting to be filled and it isn’t going to fill itself. Take it one step at a time.

Define Goals

The first thing that you need to do before any marketing undertaking is to define what your goals are. What are you trying to achieve? This might (and likely will) change from month to month so it is an important step every time you get ready to plan your content.

You might be looking to grow your page, reach as many people as possible, get engagement, or simply inform an existing audience. Each goal will have a different approach and execution. For instance, promoting a blog post is unlikely to get as much engagement as a post where you ask a question since people will have to leave your page to consume the content. You might have a new product or service that you want everyone to know about so your content would be tailored to entice people to share it.

Defining your goals will also help you to outline your budgets of both money and time. It’s helpful to know how much money you can put into promoting posts and where that money is best allocated, and you can decide how much time & money you’re able to spend on content creation; creating a video, hiring a freelancer, purchasing stock images, etc.

Part of the planning process is also deciding how you want people to react to your posts. Do you want people to laugh, think, ask questions, or learn? How often is too often for them to see your posts? Who is your audience and what appeals to them?

Look Ahead

This is the idea stage. There are resources out there to spark inspiration and help you come with some content ideas.

Hashtags & Holidays

When you’re thinking ahead and planning next month’s social calendar, a great place to start is a list of upcoming hashtags and holidays. Finding a ‘day’ that’s related to your brand can be a jumping-off point for some content, and if there isn’t something that matches, looking through the list can still help spark inspiration.

By starting with a compiled list of hashtags and holidays (or one that breaks down each day with more detail), you’ve got general ideas to pepper your calendar with. There are three types as they relate to your brand;

  • Not at all relevant. Most of the days in the list will fall into this category but they aren’t completely useless. They can still spark ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise.
  • Somewhat relevant. These will fit your brand if you twist them a little bit or come at them from a different angle, creating a great opportunity to be creative and show a different side of your brand than just promotional posts.
  • Perfectly relevant. These are the ones that were created just for you. There won’t be many but you should have no trouble coming up with content for these days and should double-down on them.

Pro tip: You can use these hashtags & holidays simply as inspiration but not necessarily jump on the bandwagon. You don’t need to include the tags or mention what day it is, you can simply take the idea and run with it.

Recurring Themes

It’s common practice to recurring types of posts. Doing so helps you keep your content well balanced, helps maintain variety, lets your audience know what to expect, and spurs creativity by giving you some limitations. It can be a lot more difficult to come up with a bunch of posts about absolutely anything than a bunch of posts that limit you based on a recurring theme of Fact Friday, Weigh-in Wednesday, Tip Tuesday, etc.

When it comes to self-promotional posts, you can recycle posts that inform or educate people on some of the features of your business. These can be useful for new followers and good reminders for existing ones.

Look back

A part of planning ahead is also looking back to see what has worked and what hasn’t. If a particular type of post hasn’t worked before, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily bad, but you may choose to craft a similar post differently, take a different approach, use different language, or nix it completely.

Curated Content

A client might wonder why you use curated content to send potential web traffic to another website instead of their own, or why you create posts that aren’t directly related to their industry.

Using every social media post to sell services or have a call to action is the worst thing you can do. People will be very quick to ignore or skip over those posts because they’ll be tired of constantly being asked for their business. However, giving people value in other ways (by entertaining or informing them), will keep your client’s brand in people’s minds for the next time a potential customer needs their product or service.

Unless you have a really big budget, you can’t create enough content to inform people of all of the advice and information that’s available out there. Some content is short and instructional, whereas other content is longer and requires a lot of research. Curated content is useful because, in most cases, you don’t have the time, resources, or budget to create your own whenever you want to share any tip, advice, or bit of information.

When you are finding and posting curated content, it’s important that you don’t just share the link. Read the articles or watch the videos and write something to go along with it to put it in context, provide some additional information, summarize, or put our own spin on it.

Outline

Once you do have some general ideas of types of posts you’re going to be making, it’s time to start filling your calendar with them. The way you choose to do this can be different for everyone based on how you learn, think, write, or work. You can start a spreadsheet with cells of each day & account, you can scribble on a paper calendar, you can use Post-It Notes, or use a tool specifically for creating and scheduling posts. Whatever works best for you.

Take the ideas that you’ve collected and start to expand on them. Picking which post belongs on which day should be easy because, outside of specific holidays or weekly recurring posts, everything should be able to spread around evenly.

Pro tip: Every month, when you ask your client about anything noteworthy that’s coming up for you to post about, also ask about how things will change week to week. This is make-or-break in some industries. For instance, a wildlife sightseeing business is likely to have very different offerings from the beginning of the month to the end as animals move and migrate.

Once you have your days planned, finalize the copy for each post, tailor them for each social network, research hashtags, and find or create any missing graphics or images.

Execute

You’ve got your month planned out, you’ve got content written, and you’ve got your media ready… It’s time to post. Much like the calendar planning stage, there are a lot of different options:

  • Post natively. This might be recommended if you’re new to this type of work and/or social media in general. Creating your posts manually in the beginning will help you learn more about the platform, more about your page, how posts work & are formatted, and how to fix a problem if one arises. Get your hands dirty before digging into a third-party tool.
  • Schedule natively. Facebook has a feature that allows you to draft & schedule posts for your Pages. You still get the benefits of posting manually, plus the convenience of previewing what a post will look like before you publish and scheduling them all at once so that you don’t have to do it every day.
  • Third-party tools. Once you know the platform and your page inside and out, it’s time to start looking at tools that make your life easier. Tools like HeyOrca allow you to plan, schedule, create, and upload media for posts, then send those posts to clients for approval. There are a lot of tools out there, some with different features, costs, and ease of use. Once you know what you need in terms of users, features, and cost, you’ll find one that works for you.

Conclusion

There was a time when content for a brand’s marketing had a very long shelf life. The same idea would run in print, TV, radio, or digital media for months or years. It’s a different world now, and as it gets faster, the shelf life of content gets shorter. Coming up with new content & strategies for a brand’s social media every single month can be a difficult and daunting task. Sometimes the ideas will just flow, sometimes they won’t. For times they don’t, you need a strategy for coming up with them. Use this guide as a starting point to help you find some inspiration and create some social posts.

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