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How I Plan and Create My Content Marketing Calendar

May 5, 2021

Today we’re doing a deep dive into my calendar and how to create a well-rounded content marketing calendar for your online brand or  small business. This is such an important topic so we’re going to talk about why content is important in the first place, the different types of content and their purpose, how to actually plan the content marketing calendar, and how to create the content. This is a SUPER jam packed set of tips and I hope after this post you feel more confident and ready to create content you love! 

Tips for creating a content marketing calendar for online brands and small businesses

Why is content important? 

The first reason that content is so important is that you get in front of new audiences. Content marketing is simply marketing your business, so it’s pretty important. Through this marketing you can build and grow an audience that feels more connected with you. We want to build the “like, know, and trust” factor so that they feel like they know you and want to dive into what you offer – and then buy from you. Content marketing can also help you grow your email list, which is an important part of growing a business or brand. Seriously, no matter what kind of business you own, I always tell my students and followers to grow their email list! 

The end goal of this marketing is to lead to direct (and indirect) sales. The content you push out online should and will lead to sales. Seems like kind of a no brainer, right? The final reason content is important is that it allows us to serve our audiences well. We can show up and help them learn from us, connect with us, and understand us. Not only are we connecting with them on a more personal level, but we’re also priming them to want to purchase from us. 

What is content? 

If you’re thinking “what in the world is this content you keep mentioning?!”, we’re about to dive right into that!! We’ve got a few types of content we’re talking about: email list, blog, podcast, social media (Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok), and search driven social media (YouTube and Pinterest). I know it seems like a LOT, so pick two types of content and master those first. 

When you decide which two to pick, think about where your ideal audience is and focus on those. If you can, make sure one of those platforms that you’re mastering is one that you OWN like your blog, podcast, or email list. These are platforms that you’re not fighting against algorithms to be seen and if something in the social media world ends for a day, you can still reach your audience. The other really should be a searchable platform like Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest. 

Personally, I do work on all of these platforms (except a podcast) but it’s important to note that I didn’t do it all at once at the start. Over the years, I’ve built up these platforms and I’ve gotten help. My VA helps me manage some of these platforms! And we also repurpose content across the platforms thanks to our workflows and systems. But, if you’re just starting out, start SLOW and master those workflows and platforms first!! 

Planning the Content Marketing Calendar 

Now, we can dive into planning out your content marketing calendar! This is the part in the process where you decide when to post and what you’re going to share. Basically, anything that you need to do before actually planning the content is done in this step. To begin, start with a foundational long form piece of content that you’ll repurpose into other kinds of content. For me, this is my YouTube videos! They then become blog posts, Instagram captions, Instagram Reels and so on. You get the idea! Long form could also be a blog post or a long Instagram caption. The possibilities are endless. 

Another thing I like to think about when deciding on topics for my content is to sift through educational and personal content, otherwise known as my content pillars. I break them down into smaller categories like Social Media, Content Planning, and so on. Then, on Trello, I keep a running list of ideas so that when it’s time to finally sit down and create the content, I have a BUNCH of ideas. Whatever it is you share about: make it useful for your ideal clients! A bonus tip: keep a list of questions from your audience! Those are topics they clearly WANT to hear about – so make it easy on yourself. 

Finally, I have a calendar for each of the platforms I use. If I don’t have a plan in place, I won’t share – so it’s important to me to have a content calendar for each of the big platforms I’m focusing on. I house mine in Trello because they have a calendar view which is amazing! For Instagram, I LOVE using Later! If you need help, read my tutorial here! One other thing to think about when you’re putting your content calendar together is to be mindful of launches and promotions coming up so you can include those in your planning. 

Creating Marketing Content

The last thing we’re diving into is HOW to create your content. My first tip? Workflows are your best friend!! I personally use Trello to plan a lot of my workflows. I literally list everything that needs to be done from A to Z for each type of content. These checklists help me know exactly what’s going on for each piece of content. I also highly recommend batch working on these pieces of content. I think about batch working on a macro AND micro level. On a macro level, having one day a week that you do a task makes sense! But, you can also think about it on a micro level. As an example, that looks like doing all of my filming for sitting components of videos at one time. If I went video by video, I’d be up and down for different places and positioning, which wastes time. 

It’s great to have all of these workflows ready and in place, but honestly it comes down to discipline. I don’t always feel motivated to do the things I have to do for my business, but I am disciplined so that I stay consistent because I know the results are huge. And, last but not least, I’ve asked for help. This is SO important, especially if you’re a fast growing business. Don’t be afraid to outsource and ask for help!! My VA helps me spread my content out on all of the platforms so that all I have to do is show up, film, and edit. But, remember: this came with time. I had to do the work first so that when I brought her on, it was easy for her to jump in and take things off my plate so this got even easier. 

Content marketing creation is SUPER important for small businesses and online brands, but I know it can feel overwhelming. I hope these tips have helped you feel more comfortable with all of the planning that goes into sharing strong and useful content for your audience! 

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