How To: Plan Your Content Calendar Like a Pro [with Free Template]

By Barry Hott

How far in advance do you write your social media content? A few seconds? An hour? A day? A week? A month? While it’s great to be responsive and write relevant content, much of that can be planned in advance. The best holiday posts aren’t thought up on the spot, they are planned and created weeks in advance. Planning your content 2-4 weeks in advance will help increase the quality of your content and decrease your stress.

Here are four tips to help you plan content like a pro:

  • Establish boundaries for your content. What topics relate to your brand and your fans? They can range pretty far from your brand’s main focus and they aren’t always obvious. Think about what your customers and fans like. Don’t know what they like? Ask them!
  • Pay attention to upcoming holidays, seasons, and events. There are many tools available that can help you stay on top of holidays or other weird days of the year. Bookmark days that are relevant to your brand or community and then create posts about them. When using less-known days like ‘National Fried Chicken Day’, it’s important to remember that many your fans might not already be aware of the holiday and you might need to explain.
  • Create evergreen content. Create content that can go up at any time. If you have an urgent post that needs to go up, you can bump your evergreen content to another time.
  • Make Google Docs Spreadsheets your best friend! Google Docs Spreadsheets let you create a customizable spreadsheet online where your changes are automagically saved and you can revert back to previous versions of your document at any time. You can also share and collaborate with others in real time, so multiple people can contribute to the latest version of the calendar. There are many helpful formulas and tricks available that can make your life easier. I’ve made a free content calendar template that uses some of my favorite tricks, including counting characters of tweets automatically, so you know when you go over 140.

By putting more effort into your content ahead of time, you’ll be able to more readily react to current events and other last minute changes.

How far in advance do you plan your content? For more content tips, download our Introductory Guide To Content Strategy and 4 Methods For Breaking Through The Social Clutter.

[…] per day. So, to ensure you are getting your content in front of you audience’s eyes, create a content calendar that outlines your plan for at least a week. You should align these posts with your marketing […]
Teresa Calisto April 17, 2014
Thank you so much! Will start using it today. Happy Easter!
[...] Social Media Content Calendar [...]
[...] Likeable has a blog post with a free content calender template to plan your content marketing. [...]
Missy Hardesty February 24, 2014
Thank you for this!
easywebrec January 20, 2014
Thank you for this. I'm trying to streamline the company content plan and this has helped no end. Especially the tweet counter! Genius!
[...] If one of your resolutions for the new year is to create more content, listen up! We know that content management can be an overwhelming task, especially if you have several contributors to your business blog. So, how can you best plan which topics will be covered and when without duplication? The answer: an editorial calendar. (Image via Likeable) [...]
ThePortl August 9, 2013
Helpful! Thankyou!
[...] Likeable Media’s Interactive Content Calendar Template [...]
[...] http://www.likeable.com/blog/2013/04/how-to-plan-your-content-calendar-like-a-pro-with-free-template... [...]
Hannah Monroe June 19, 2013
Hey Barry! Great template, thank you! :) Do you know if there is a way to make an image thumbnail in the spreadsheet a link to a bigger image/the actual image URL? For example, if you are planning images with text and you don't want to make them full sized in the spreadsheet to avoid making it cumbersome, but you can't read them at a smaller scale - is there a way to easily link to them via a thumbnail? I know I could simply add another column for "image URL" to click to see the larger image, but it would be so nice to just click the image! :)
icolorstudio June 6, 2013
Thank you for the template....great work....only thing is, I can't put anything in the first box for FB post....pls help...thanks.
Missy Hardesty February 24, 2014
I think the font is just set to white in the first box. I had the same issue. Just switch it to black and you should be set!
[...] How To: Plan Your Content Like a Pro [w Free Template] | Likeable Media - A Social Media and Word of... [...]
[...] a brand, you can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in content calendars, struggling to come up with the right thing to say. You spend hours laboring over your updates on [...]
Risdall May 10, 2013
Helpful template!
Jacinda Green April 30, 2013
Thanks for sharing! I was trying to come up with a content calendar for my PR internship last week. I think this example will be very helpful.
[...] 4 tips to help you plan: Establish boundaries Pay attention to upcoming events Create evergreen content Make Google Docs Spreadsheets your best friend  [...]
Adriana April 26, 2013
I took a look at the content calendar template and it looks great. The only thing I would add is a column for "category". By categorizing each post (e.g. Holidays, Tips & Tricks, etc..), you'll be able to measure the success of each category and therefore tweak your content accordingly. Just a thought ;-)
barry April 27, 2013
That's a great idea, Adriana! Fortunately, you can duplicate the spreadsheet and add any additional columns, especially ones that will help you track performance!

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