Hello, Alt Summit friends!
Thanks for joining me for the Plan a Year's Worth of Social Media Content workshop. I'm going to go over the process again just to make sure that you've really got it and that you have all the tools you need to finish your calendar.
I've put together a worksheet bundle to help you with this process. They're free and they make calendar building much easier so if you don't mind jumping on my email list, use the form at the top of this post to grab that bundle.
The goal of this workshop is to create a social media calendar you can stick to without being overwhelmed. This creates a consistent experience for your audience/community and gives you a way to get that dream content out of your head and into your feeds.
The first thing you need to do is narrow down the kinds of content you want to put out on each social media platform. My advice is to only pick 3-4 post types for each platform and then repeat those over and over. Again, this creates consistency for your audience and cuts down on the creative energy you'll spend figuring out what you're posting every day.
Don't feel boxed in by this! Choosing a few post types to repeat again and again doesn't mean you can't ever try a different type of post out. We're just building a base social media calendar to make sure you're getting something out as often as you'd like. Think of this calendar as your lowest minimum commitment. You can also be a little bit extra if you've got the energy.
You might already know what post types you want to repeat on each platform, but to help you out I've listed out some post type ideas.
I've left space at the bottom of these sheets either for you to write down the post types you've selected or add a post type that isn't listed but is something you want to consistently share. For example, on my genealogy Instagram, I share photo grids where I compare generations of people. That's a pretty unique post type but it's on my list because I do it often.
If you're not sure which post types would work for you but you have been posting to social media, I have a worksheet that can help you see patterns. It's a bubble worksheet where you can assign a color to 6 post types (or fewer) and then color in the bubbles on the days that you posted that type of social media. This creates a visual tracker that lets you see post type patterns.
Once you know what types of posts you want to commit to for each social media platform, you can build a skeleton calendar. At this point, you're just writing down the platform and the post type on the calendar day you want to do it. For example, you could put Instagram: Outfit of the Day on every Monday in your skeleton calendar if you want to make that a weekly series.
This is going to be a calendar that you repeat every month and there are some basic things to keep in mind:
>>> Put your must-have social media content in the center of the calendar and move outward. You'll be using this skeleton calendar as a template for all the real calendar months but because of the way days fall, you're not going to ever get that whole skeleton calendar scheduled. The things you schedule in the middle of the month are the things you'll definitely be adding to your schedule so put the important stuff there.
>>> You do not want to overcommit yourself. Blank calendars always seem like they're begging to be filled with commitments but if you're having a hard time getting one YouTube video out every month, you aren't going to be able to follow a calendar where you've scheduled two videos each week.
>>> You are not adding in actual content yet. This is just a calendar for post types. You are also not accommodating holidays/special events because this is a repeating calendar that should work for every month. If you have a special series coming up and you want to get it on your calendar, we'll make space for that in the next step.
>>> Try to make your post types work together. If I have a YouTube video where I'm teaching something scheduled on one day, I'll follow it with a blog post where I share the video and break down the steps and a few social media posts sharing highlights and referencing that video. You can get a lot of mileage out of the same creative work.
Once you have your skeleton calendar, it's time to look at the actual calendar and start filling in your social media posts.
If you have a special event coming up where you know you'll have to create a specific type of social media for a specific period of time or on a specific day, this is the time to put that into your calendar. Otherwise you'll probably end up overscheduled for those days.
We still aren't putting in the actual content - this is just to get those social media post types down on paper. Take your skeleton calendar and apply it to each month on the real calendar for as many months as you're planning, using only the days that appear in the real month. (So if you have a month that starts on a Friday, you're going to ignore that first Sun-Thu on the skeleton calendar and just start with the Friday posts.)
As you're writing down post types on the real calendar, leave space underneath the post type because that's where you'll be writing the actual content in once you're finished transferring the skeleton calendar over. If you need to, make yourself a calendar key and use symbols for the different types of posts or abbreviate the post types so everything fits.
When you're finished transferring, you should have a custom calendar that's just waiting for you to fill in content ideas. To do this, start with calendar-related things like holidays, conferences, vacations, and other content that wouldn't make sense unless you posted it at the right time. I made a list of events to keep in mind but this is far from comprehensive so try to think forward and list all the things you'll want to cover.
You might be surprised by how much seasonal and event-related content fills up your calendar. Don't forget to post a little early for each holiday to give people time to be interested in your content.
Once your seasonal content is in, fill in the rest of your calendar with your content ideas. This is where you'd want to pull from those lists of dream posts that you keep meaning to get to.
Here are pages to track post and video ideas, as well as your progress on getting those ideas into your feeds:
Don't have enough dream content to fill your calendar? Don't have a list of dream content at all? There are a few ways to tackle this problem that have worked for me:
(1) Find the best content that already exists in your field or niche and try to top it. You don't ever want to copy other people's content but you can take an idea that someone has written about and build on it by doing more research, adding more resources, breaking down the steps into a simpler process, etc.
(2) Consume media to get inspired. I get great ideas for posts by experiencing how other people teach things in books, podcasts, videos, etc., even if they're not teaching things related to the things I'm talking about.
(3) Skim post title prompts to see what jumps into your head. Even though they can seem a little canned, some post title structures just work and they're well worth a look if you're feeling creatively blocked.
Again, this is your calendar, designed by you to be a helpful guide, not a cage that you can't escape OR a homework assignment you're bound to fail. If you get started on the calendar you put together and you realize that it's a little overwhelming or it's just not moving your brand in the direction you want to go, feel free to tweak it or start fresh.
Did you love this process? If you're someone who really likes using worksheets to get organized, particularly as a creative entrepreneur, I do have an inexpensive entrepreneur bundle in my shop with more worksheets for all the things you're tracking AND if you're also trying to organize all the things that come with just being a human I even have a super entrepreneur organization bundle.