In the digital communications industry, everyone is obsessed with one thing: a content calendar.
You can download a variety of free templates all over the Internet, and they're everywhere. Industry gurus swear by them. Consultants make big promises based on them. And over and over again, social media professionals share that if you commit to a rigid, column, spreadsheet-style content calendar for your digital marketing efforts, you'll get HUGE SUCCESS (all caps). So we line up tweet on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m., email blast on Monday mornings, Thursday morning Instagram post ...
Well, that's great and all, but who has time for that?
If you're a small business owner, content creator for a blog or just the person who's in charge of an organization's Facebook page, you barely have time to make the content, let alone plan out the minute it's published.
But here's the secret: You don't need a grand, to-the-minute marketing calendar to start gaining success from digital marketing efforts. But you do need to make creating, sharing and managing content a priority. Accomplish both with a content to-do list.
1. Commit to a weekly or daily list of content to create
If you're a small scale business not dependent on digital marketing initiatives for sales, I've got good news: you can accomplish a lot with minimal effort. Three highly visual, engaging Facebook posts, two quick tweets with images and an appropriate link and two Instagram posts utilizing appropriate hashtags could be more than enough to meet a marketing objective of brand awareness and lead generation.
So write a weekly to-do list of content you commit to create each week. Keep that list handy, and check it daily, creating content as you get a spare 20 minutes each day. By the end of the week, you've executed content -- without being attached to a strict schedule to maintain.
2. Monitor your list for effectiveness
Since you're generating content as you go, monitor its effectiveness and change your list as needed. If Instagram is generating higher rates of engagement with your business than Facebook, consider swapping a Facebook post for an Instagram post on your list. If Twitter isn't generating the leads you're looking for, drop two tweets and add a Facebook post.
Your list isn't your Bible, it's your guide. Change your path as each platform is or is not worthy of your time.
3. Promote effective content for even higher rates of engagement
At the end of the week, look to see what content performed the best and turn it into sponsored, promoted posts or advertising campaigns. If a video natively uploaded on Facebook did well, boost it for as little as $10 to reach a higher audience. If an Instagram post received high levels of engagement, consider making the exact same piece of content an ad in your Ads Manager. That way, you're not wasting time natively building ad campaigns, hoping that content works -- you already know that the content is effective, saving both time and money.
No matter how you manage your content or digital marketing efforts, nothing will work unless you commit to consistently creating content that is engaging.