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.