Today I’m going to show you how to create an annual social media content calendar.
Having a vibrant, thriving presence on social media can be a great boost to your business, but it requires consistent attention and a steady stream of content. Having a solid content calendar in place can reduce stress and save you tons of time.
Different people might have different ways of creating and using a content calendar, but for me, it is all about having a high-level vision for the year. I want to see ebbs and flows in my business (like launches or other promotions), and I also want to always have a pulse on what is coming up. No more holidays sneaking up on you!
A content calendar is not made up of complete posts, finished visuals and written captions, it is simply a general idea of what goes where. There can be different levels of detail in your calendar, and this is what we are going to go over today.
Always Start With Your Goals
Before you start creating any social media content, we always need to start by thinking about our goals. Having clearly defined, written down social media goals that support your overall business needs are a non-negotiable for me. (And they should be for you, too! Without them you risk wasting crucial resources of time and effort!)
I already wrote an in-depth article about writing effective social media goals that you can check out if you feel that you need some clarity in this area.
3 Reasons an Annual Content Calendar is Helpful
1. It Reduces Stress
Having an annual content calendar gives you a full year of direction! Instead of looking week to week or month to month, you’ve got a broad, top-level overview of everything going on in your year. Will things change? Absolutely! But there will also be plenty of times where things go as planned (2020 excluded here – ha!) and you are able to execute on your calendar with ease.
2. It Saves You Time
You can use your calendar to batch content, creating weeks or even months of content at one time! You can use your annual content calendar as part of your brainstorming process, then go back and create your final content as needed.
3. It Establishes a Repeatable System
Once you have created your annual content calendar once, it becomes much easier in subsequent years. You should not have to repeat all the steps (below) in as much detail. From year to year you simply tweak what worked and what didn’t to continuously improve.
5 Things to Put on Your Annual Social Media Content Calendar
- Holidays. Add any holidays that are important to you to acknowledge, are significant to your audience, or that you want to create any kind of promotion or sale around. This also includes “fun” holidays like National Donut Day, etc. and/or appreciation weeks or months.
- Annual events. Add any annual events that are important to acknowledge, are significant to your audience, or that you want to create promotions or sales around. This could be something like a tradeshow, reports or findings that are published in your industry, or something with mass appeal, like the Oscars or Super Bowl.
- Seasons. Not necessarily weather seasons! What is going on in the world that is important to your audience throughout the year? For example, if parents of school-age children were your target customer, you might want to add things like spring break and back to school.
- Your vacations, life events, and time off. These might not be things you want to promote, but knowing when you will be out of town or will have your mind on other things can be a helpful stress-reducer. You can see well ahead of time where you won’t be able to create as much content, or will need to plan and work ahead.
- Promotions or Launches. Now that you have all the things you can’t move around on your calendar (the holidays, annual events and other seasonal stuff that just always happens), you can decide when your launch or promotion periods should be. If you sell physical products, and you want to do a Christmas sale, you can easily see where you want to promote or run the sale. If you sell services, you could also want to run sales, but you also just might want to focus on certain services during certain times of the year to make sure everything is getting promoted equally. If you sell digital products that you sell during defined promotional periods, you can put your open and close cart dates on your calendar.
Add “Nudges” for Planning
At this point, our paper, super-high-level overview has probably exhausted its useful life and it is time to go digital! It is also time to go the next layer deep.
Now that we have these top-level events put on our content calendar, I like to work backwards and create “nudges” for myself that remind me when I need to start thinking about something or planning for it.
For example, the Thanksgiving to New Year’s period is an important revenue season for a lot of businesses. I might want to put a reminder on my calendar in August to start thinking about and planning for the holidays.
You can get as detailed as you want here. Remember, you have permission to change things! But I find it helpful to start dropping in dates for bigger things like launches.
If I know my cart is going to be open for my new social media strategy course from September 14th to 22nd, 2020 (spoiler alert: you might want to pencil that in on your calendar 😉), I might start back-up dates for when I want to drop certain pre-launch content.
Creating Your Monthly Content
Considering my social media goals, there might be things I want to be sure to promote or mention monthly.
For instance, even though I am constantly directing people to go download my Instagram Strategy Guide, I like to specifically promote the guide in a post completely dedicated to it once a month.
Another thing I like to do monthly is put up a post that specifically tells people I am open for booking services for the following month.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post dedicated to mapping out a month’s worth of social media content. The article contains the step-by-step instructions for brainstorming, batching and completing your content each month.
These are the steps to creating an annual social media content calendar to keep you focused and consistent. What would you add?
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!