There’s no denying how important quality content has become. We all consume a variety of content each day and it’s easy to fill up all your time by planning and creating content in your business. Sure, you can hire someone to help with this, but if you’re just starting out or have a higher budget, you will likely need to do some of the legwork upfront.
This is when planning out your content calendar can come in handy. But you may be wondering how to do this and how far out you should plan out your content calendar. I’ve seen some people plan out a whole years’ worth of content, while others map things out by the month or per quarter.
Wondering what will work best for you in terms of managing your time and energy more productively? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Start With a Broad Goal or Idea
In order to properly plan your content calendar in advance, you need to have an over-arching goal. Most people set new goals each year, you so you can start with that. Decide what you want to accomplish for the next 12 months and how your content will contribute to your progress.
You may get some core ideas and start to form a timeline just by laying out a specific goal or two. Try to break down your goal and establish mini-deadlines for when you want to reach certain milestones.
For example, if your goal is to launch a new product or service by August 1st, you can plan out which important pieces of content you’d like to work on and publish leading up to that date.
Be Mindful of Important Events
One easy way to plan out content in advance is to focus on national days and common events. You can find a calendar of all the national days online and see if you want to plan content around this. Or, simply stick to important holidays and events that your audience will be partaking in.
It’s always wise to make sure your content is relevant to your audience and timely. We can’t change the date for certain holidays and national days so prepare in advance to save time and fill up your content calendar more quickly.
Break It Up Into Seasons
I really like the idea of being able to plan your content calendar out by the season. As a small business owner, I like to plan my goals and action steps out by quarter. You can also have a quarterly or even a monthly focus to make sure you cover all your bases.
To fill your content calendar, you can even plan a monthly column or share reader stories covering a variety of topics. Also, consider surveying your audience to see which topics they’d like covered. This is a great way to get ideas and plan out your content calendar in advance.
Repurpose to Plan Your Content Calendar More Efficiently
One mistake I made initially when planning out my content was believing I had to come up with new content constantly. I actually did this for years and tired myself out.
When I found out about repurposing content, it seemed much easier and more realistic to me. Here’s how it works. If you have different platforms like a website or blog, social media, a podcast, YouTube channel, or an email list, realize that these platforms may all have a different audience.
Be sure to promote your content on social media (a few different times) as well as to those on your email newsletter. I used to struggle trying to figure out what I’d send to my email list and try to brainstorm ideas for hours.
It’s much easier to take an idea or topic from an existing piece of content and use that to plan your content calendar for multiple platforms at once.
Leave Space For Spontaneity
Realize that a plan is just a plan. There’s no telling if your content plan will actually be executed. What scares me a little about planning out content in a year advance in advance is that there’s no telling what the year will look like.
Just this year alone has taken so many twists and turns that no one could have seen coming. It’s important to make sure your content calendar is flexible and you leave room for timely content that you may want to put together in the moment.
Remember to keep your content relevant to what people are interested in learning about at the time. You can’t always plan for this, bu having an overall content calendar will help you get organized and save some time.
So, How Far Out Should You Plan Your Content Calendar?
As you can see, there are many different ways to plan your content calendar in advance to save time and get more content out efficiently. Start by focusing on your core goals and decide how much content you want to publish each week. Remember to add in repurposing efforts to make it a more productive process.
I’d also recommend timing how long the process would take when planning out just 30 days of content to start. You may even want to create systems in your business to help streamline the process.
Have you ever considered planning out your content calendar in advance?