A content calendar is hands down one of the best tools to managing your sanity when it comes to social media. You’re going to be creating quite a bit of content, yes. But you’re also going to be curating content - meaning you’re going to find and share blog posts, articles, quotes, books, images, and videos that other people have created that your ideal reader will find interesting or helpful. So having a single place where you can copy and paste content that you either find or create yourself will help you keep everything in order.
I know that examples are really helpful, so I’ve created a sample content calendar for you to look at to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. I also have a blank content calendar for you to download and use to manage your own content. You can personalize it so it works best for you and your book. I can show you how to do that during this week’s call if you need help.
This content calendar breaks down the kind of content that you need into columns: blog posts (that you write), calls-to-action for your newsletter sign-ups (more on that in a minute), quotes from your book, inspirational thoughts, questions to ask your readers, links (from other blogs/authors), and fun posts.
Your content calendar will ensure that a) the blogs that you write stay alive and are continually shared, b) the content stays balanced and is not only focused on you and your book, and c) the information you provide is focused on connecting with your ideal reader.
Here are some other content ideas you could use:
• Blog Posts
• Character Quotes (for Fiction writers)
• Pull Quotes (from blog posts or other insightful sources you want to share)
• Funny Quotes/Pictures
• Writing Tips
• Your Reviews of Other Authors' Books
• Other Authors You Like/Respect
• Thoughts On Writing
• Special Promotions (when you’re getting ready to release your book)
• Free Content
• Reviews of Your Book
Obviously you can add or take whatever you feel would connect best with your ideal reader. This is completely customizable. The key here is to create a system and process.
Next, it’s time to fill in the calendar with the relevant content. Create an attention-grabbing headline for your blog post along with the link and hashtags in to the “Blog Post” column and you’re good to go. Pull some intriguing or helpful quotes from your books, inspiring quotes from other writers, etc., and create images for them (more on that in a minute). Share blog posts or interviews from other authors or influencers that you respect.
The key here is to have quality content that you know your ideal reader will respond to ready and waiting of you to post.
And you know you will have at least six months' worth of blog posts coming in from last week’s call, so it will fill up in no time. :)
Now that you have your content organized, it’s time to get it scheduled. This is going to require a social media management tool. This a handy online tool that will help you schedule social media posts ahead of time.
This is the key to saving you a massive amount of time in posting to social media every day. You schedule it in your management tool and it does the rest for you - it’s brilliant.
The two most popular are Hootsuite.com and Buffer.com because you can schedule Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram posts all in one place. We personally favor Buffer because it’s less overwhelming, it’s very easy to use, the customer service is great, and does a much better job posting images for you. Hootsuite gives you more monitoring and analytics tools.
Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer free plans for individual use, so you can check them both out to see which works best for you.
If Instagram is one of your key social media outlets, there is a scheduling tool called OnlyPult that works wonders - it’s a HUGE timesaver and will help you keep things consistent and updated. They have a free 7-day trial that you can check out to see if it’s for you. Buffer did just add Instagram support, but it's not quite as slick as OnlyPult.
Once you decide on your social media management system, go in and set up your schedule with the times we found to work best for your social media outlets.
Here’s how I personally use the content calendar and Buffer together:
Every Wednesday I load up my Buffer account with posts for the week (not sure why I picked Wednesday, but it’s stuck!). I have found that two posts per day on Facebook and five scheduled posts on Twitter (not including retweets or responses to other posts) are ideal for me. You might find that to be different for your readers - they might respond to more or less. We can discuss that within our call this week.
I copy and paste one post from each column in my content calendar into Buffer. Then I highlight the column blocks the calendar in light yellow to indicate that I've used them. Once I've used up a column I change it back to white for another round.
You’re always going to be adding to the list with new blogs posts, links you find interesting or helpful, great quotes, etc., so you will have tons of content to share with our readers. It takes some time to build up, but you’ll find it happens very quickly.
You might be thinking, "Why would you reuse that content?" Because not everyone sees every post you share at a given time. And (hopefully) you're adding new connections every day, so this is new content for them to see as well.
Since you have the content ready to go with links, hashtags, and eye-catching headline copy for your ideal reader, it’s just a matter of copying and pasting. Filling up your Buffer account for the week should take about 15 minutes. Boom!
Here’s a breakdown of the average number of posts per day on social media. Again, as you get to know your readers more, they might respond to more or less.
Facebook: 2 times a day
Twitter: 6-8 times a day
Instagram: 1-2 times a day
LinkedIn: 1-2 times a day
Pinterest: 1 time a day
The 3:1 Factor
Something to keep in mind with your social media posts - subscribe to the three gives and one ask factor. What this means is that for every three posts where you share insight, ideas, fun pictures, and other ways to connect with your ideal reader, you have one ask. The ask might come in the form of asking them to read a blog post, subscribe to your newsletter, leave a review on Amazon, etc.
Give three, ask one. This insures that you aren’t constantly pushing the sale of your book or in marketing mode overdrive. You have to give in order to grow your audience - you need to create content with intentionality.
One of the best things that you will walk away with from these coaching sessions is a system that makes more efficient use of your time online that will give you results. We have “trimmed the fat” and you will know how to spend your time more effectively on marketing and connecting with your audience.
Now that you know what you need to focus on, it’s also important for you to schedule time to actually create the content and put these practices to work. Because in order for you to see results, you have to do the work.
So this section is about scheduling at least 2 hours per week where you can write your blog post, create images, curate content, or put into practice the elements that we nail down to best help you find and connect with your readers.
And the amazing thing is that the more often you do this, the easier it gets. It will become easier to write blog posts because you know who you’re talking to. It will be easier to create images because you will practice and know what works best for you. Just like practicing an instrument or sport, you get better the more consistently you work at it.
Here's a system that will help you get started. This will help you create a personalized process that will work specifically for you. The idea is to schedule the big, more time consuming things first and then fill in the rest.
- Take a look at an average week in your calendar. Ask yourself how many hours per day you have to work. This might be different every day due to your family and other commitments, so write down how many hours you have each day.
- First and foremost, you're a writer. So block off time every day to write. Once you have that blocked off, find where you can fit in two to three hours per week for your marketing. Maybe every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday you set aside an hour per day to work on your marketing. Or maybe you can dedicate more time and do an hour per day. You need to spend a minimum of two hours per week on marketing, but if you have more time to dedicate to it, bring it on!
- Next, go to your blog topic list and assign a topic for the weeks you plan on publishing the post. Then mark the day(s) that you will actually work on writing the post.
- Once you have that scheduled, fill in when you will schedule your social media posts into your social media management tool (Buffer, etc.). When you use the content calendar that we mentioned earlier, it should only take about 15 minutes to schedule posts for the entire week.
- Next, set aside time to create images for your blog and social media posts. Don't worry - I have the world's easiest tool to help you create amazing images very quickly and easily. I am by no means a graphic designer or technical and I use this! It's called Adobe Spark and I have a link on how to use it below. :)
- And finally, set aside 10-15 minutes every day to check in with your top tier social media outlet. Leave some comments, like a few posts, interact with connections, etc. I literally set my alarm for 10 minutes every day so I don't get trapped the social media time suck.
I can tell you from personal experience, this takes a lot less time than you anticipate - especially after you get your routine down. And remember, the setup often takes the most time. A little work on the front end creates a lot less stress in the long run.
We all love to find ways to save time and do our job more effectively, so here are some tools that will help you implement what we just talked about:
This is the Instagram scheduling tool we mentioned earlier. If you go to our website and scroll to the bottom, you will find our affiliate link where you can get a discount! You can also click here to find out how to use OnlyPult.
This is one of my all time favorite timesaving tools! It not only helps you find and connect with your ideal reader on Twitter, but it helps you clean up your account. It’s awesome! We also have a free ebook on how to grow your Twitter connections using Manage Flitter. If you haven’t downloaded that yet, you can grab your copy here.
Feedly helps you keep track of all the blogs you follow. You can find and follow bloggers and share content that you find to your Buffer or Hootsuite account and schedule it to post when you want it to.
To be perfectly honest, I just discovered this site and am still working through it, but so far I really like what they have to offer. Board Booster helps you keep your content flowing on Pinterest. You put certain boards on a “loop” and it will re-post those pins when you want them to go out. It’s a tad bit clunky, but it’s the best option that I’ve found to help you keep up on your Pinterest boards.
One of the biggest complaints/frustrations that I’ve heard people say about Twitter is that it’s too overwhelming. The newsfeed is crazy and you feel bombarded with information. That’s where Twitter Lists come in - I have a blog post on how to best use them.
This is THE BEST way for you to create images for your social media outlets FOR FREE! Adobe Spark is an easy way to create custom images that will stand out. Images are essential to your online strategy and Spark is one of the best resources to do that - even for the technically challenged. :) Don't believe me? Then take a look at the blog post I wrote that gives you step by step instructions on how to use Spark.
We have a blog post on how to use and create these simple images that can be used on all of your social media platforms.
This website has to be one of the best things out there because it provides you with FREE images that you can use anywhere. And they are AMAZING high res photos!
During our call this week you and I will walk through your schedule and create a system and process that will work best for you. We will plug in all the elements and details that we've worked through to make sure you get things done, are spending your time wisely, and see results quickly.
I have a content calendar template for you to use as well as a sample template so you can see how it works. Simply download the document and start pasting your content into the calendar. You can also adjust the topics/subjects in the top row so it fits your process.
As always, if you have questions just let me know!
I’m looking forward to our call!