How to Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar

At it's core, a social media "editorial calendar" is really just a place to keep, plan and organize all of your social media posts. Let me show you a simple way to create a social media editorial calendar that works! Click to read or pin for later.

Many brands that present well on social media (Instagram in particular), appear breezy, effortless, and as if they are simply sharing their day-to-day happenings. But the reality is that those brands are actually totally buttoned up. Their social media presence is planned well in advance and executed to a “T.” If you look closely, you’ll notice cohesive themes that build on each other and tell a story. You can achieve this as well with some advance planning and a great system. Enter: the social media editorial calendar.

At it’s core, a social media “editorial calendar” is really just a place to keep, plan and organize all of your social media posts. If you manage a handful of social media platforms, each with their own image size requirements or post length limitations, plus varying ideal post frequencies… it can be a lot to keep track of! Certainly too much to just “wing it” from day to day.

Editorial Spreadsheet

There are many different methods, tools and opinions out there regarding social media planning, but I like to keep it simple. I use a single spreadsheet for all of my social media posting, with separate tabs for Instagram, Facebook (and Google+, which gets the same content as Facebook), and Twitter. Each of these tabs has the following columns:

  • Day of the Week: Although I have the actual date and time in the next column, I like to be able to see what I’m posting this week at-a-glance, by day.
  • Date/Time: The date, and sometimes the time, particularly if I post multiple times per day to that channel.
  • Post Copy: The actual words that get posted.
  • Link: The URL that I’m sharing, if applicable.
  • Visual Asset: I list the name of the image, or briefly describe the image I will post, if applicable.
  • Length (Twitter only): I use the length function [=LEN(cell number)] of my spreadsheet tool (Google Sheets or Excel) to calculate the characters in my tweet to ensure I stay under 140 characters.
  • Scheduled: If I have uploaded the message to HootSuite, my preferred tool for scheduling my social media posts, I put an “X” here.

In addition to having one tab per social media channel in my spreadsheet, I also have a tab at the end that I call my “Content Bank.” This is where I save links to articles or other content that I find that I will want to share later. Maybe an article isn’t relevant at the moment I find it, but I know I’ll have a use for it someday. Or, often the content that I put on this tab is an article that I found particularly useful, and I know I’ll want to share it over and over again.

We all have times of “feast or famine” with our ideas and creativity, and I love to be able to fall back on my Content Bank when my brain is feeling dry.

 

The Big Picture

At the beginning of the year, I create a spreadsheet that includes post slots for the entire upcoming year. When you have your entire spreadsheet formatted for the year, you can easily go through and add in any key dates, like holidays or other special promotions and product launches that you are planning on. Even without the specifics of the promotions, I start to “pencil in” notes about where and how often I will start promoting certain things. However, at this point, I just have a rough skeleton of my year.

One month prior is when I start to get more specific about the actual post content. For instance, some time in September, I will write all of my posts for October. In a perfect world, I get everything queued up in advance so I can focus on other aspects of my business, until mid-way through the next month, when I’ll write more posts for the following month.

Keep the Content Flowing

It can be a challenge at times to keep your social media presence flowing consistently. As I mentioned earlier, we all have times of abundant ideas and creativity, and other times where we aren’t sure what to post next. To help with this, have a place (ONE place) to keep random ideas as they come to your head. For me, it is the note pad app on my iPhone. I jot my ideas down, and when I have time, I transfer them to the Content Bank on my spreadsheet.  I know that if I need ideas, I can either look on this Note on my phone, or check my spreadsheet… nowhere else!

Download my free social media quick start guide (see below) for step-by-step instructions for creating a rock solid social media strategy for your business.

So tell me, how far in advance do you plan your social media posts? Any other tips and tricks that you can add to this?

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8 Comments

  1. Reply Chuck Moran | @baldguystudio

    Great post, Molly!

    I can’t claim to be anywhere near as organized as you are, though getting much closer is now a 2016 goal! I really like the idea of laying out the whole year in sketch form, and then filling things in as dates approach.

    The two tools I use for my newsletter are Pocket (http://getpocket.com) to quickly store posts and articles I want to save to read and possibly quote later, and Trello (http://trello.com) to write, store and organize my content.

    Thanks for sharing your process!

    Chuck

  2. Reply Susan Grear

    I hate social media! I can’t seem to post anything which is why I want to speak with you! I follow all of these businesses on Instagram and it all looks so easy and they all have tons of followers, but when it is time for me to do it…I go blank! So…it never gets done!

    H E L P!

  3. Reply Sandra CC

    The major problem in our company and in our team was that we were using several different tools and platforms to manage our work. While we were communicating through so many channels, emails and messages were getting lost, we were forgetting important dates, content was often late, and from time to time we were missing out on events and dates which are important for our industry. Now everything is in one place and our tasks and dates are clearly defined. So, generally, now we create a social media plan for several weeks ahead (4-6).

  4. Reply Jackie

    I have recently started using Schedugram to automatically post my Instagram content and comments. I still have sooo much to learn. Do have much experience with this service ?

    • Reply Molly Marshall

      I haven’t used it, but I need to take some time to try out some new things. Thanks for the suggestion!

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