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Learn the #1 Skill a Community Manager Needs to Have: Planning a Content Calendar

Content Marketing

Learn the #1 Skill a Community Manager Needs to Have: Planning a Content Calendar image bigstock Business Plan small 300x183

A Content What?

One of the most important skills to have when managing a community is the ability to create a proper content plan. Your social media presence is all about consistency; if you post sporadically then no matter how awesome your content is, you will never gain momentum.

However, it is almost impossible to build consistency without a pre-determined content plan to guide you. Without this plan, there will inevitably be days where you are far too busy with other work to plan out and post content, and this is why your content plan is so important.

Why Do I want a Content Plan?

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  • Having a guide to what sort of content to create or curate for the day helps you post consistently. If you get the planning out of the way ahead of time then you only have to execute on your plan when it comes time to post.
  • Your content plan also makes it possible to create an over-arching community strategy with goals that you can plan your content around.
  • Balance. If you plan out your content ahead of time, you can make sure you don’t have too much of any one type of content (like too many posts about your products and too few posts that engage your community.)

What Will My Content Plan Consist Of?

It’s not necessary (nor advisable) to try to plan out every post and the content you’ll use a year, months, or even weeks in advance. Otherwise, by the time you get your content posted, it could be old and not at all relevant to what everyone else is talking about, or the conversations that your audience wants to have.

What you actually want to prepare is this:

  • A year-long calendar with monthly and weekly themes
  • A weekly calendar with daily themes and defined time slots for posting content

And that’s all you need to ensure you post consistent content that ties in with an over-arching community strategy!

How Do Monthly Themes Work?

First, you have your monthly themes. These are a very broad topic that your community has shown an interest in. Your weekly themes for each month will be derived from these monthly themes, so make sure that there are at least 4-5 sub-topics that you can focus in on for each of your monthly themes.

  • Monthly themes are broad topics that have at least 4-5 sub-topics that will interest your community.

Where Do My Weekly Themes Come From?

Once you’ve planned out your monthly themes, you can now establish your weekly themes for each month. Your weekly themes will simply be sub-topics of the topic you’re focusing on for any given month.

  • Weekly themes are a sub-focus of your current monthly theme for any given month. Make sure each weekly theme has enough potential for at least 5-10 good daily posts (depending on whether you post once or twice a day, or more).

Where Do My Daily Themes Fit In?

Lastly, we have your daily themes. These can be different types of content that appeal to your audience. Maybe you have a Mobile Monday where you share a mobile related story that is relevant to your community, or a Throwback Thursday where you post a funny old photo that your community will want to share, it’s just a loose theme that you’ll either find or create content to fit into.

  • Daily themes are a topic of focus: product related posts, mobile related posts, whatever fits the needs and interests of your community, break it down into segments and make it a daily theme.

Now your content fits a structure like this:

Yearly Strategy/Goals

Monthly Themes

Weekly Sub-topics

Daily Focus

Can You Show Me How It All Fits Together?

Your overall goals are represented in your monthly themes, from which your weekly themes are derived, and your daily content fits in with your weekly theme and your daily topic of focus.

So, let’s say your goal was to increase downloads of your productivity software, and your monthly theme was “A More Productive You.” Your weekly theme is “More Time for What You Love” and it’s Wednesday, so your daily focus is a photo that your community will want to share.

So, you might end up with a photo of a family enjoying a day at the beach, and in your post you would talk about how more productivity and better time management would lead to less time at work and more time doing what you love. Include a call to action with a link to download your software in the post.

Now, thanks to your content plan you’re meeting your goal (more downloads), your content fits in with your monthly theme (“A More Productive You”), and by examining your weekly theme (“More Time for What You Love”) and your daily theme (a shareable photo), when it comes time to post on this day, the content you want to curate or create is obvious and you don’t have to spend too much time thinking about it. All you have to do is execute on the plan.

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