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Your Content Calendar is Flawed, and Here’s How You Can Fix It

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  • Your Content Calendar is Flawed, and Here’s How You Can Fix It

Maximizing the impact of your social media presence is all about creating compelling content and sharing it with your audience in a consistent, relatable way.

If you’re already on top of concepts like how to schedule Tweets and how to add Facebook cover photos that enhance your business in the eyes of followers across the major social media brands, it’s possible to get complacent and assume you’re doing your best already.

However, the reality is that sometimes there are more fundamental issues at play, determining whether your campaigns fly or fall short.

A flawed content calendar is a great example of this; unless you know what to look out for and what pitfalls to avoid, you could be misled into thinking that other elements are to blame if your content doesn’t click with customers.

So what are the most common compromises made with content calendars, and how can you remedy issues rather than allowing them to spiral?

Dealing with disorder

content calendar

Image Source: Pexels

The most obvious example of an imperfect content calendar is one which is put together without any thought going into the overarching structure.

This can often come about if you sit down with your team and spitball different ideas, eventually settling on a list of content options which you think will gel well with your brand identity, and be relevant to your followers.

Unless you then take the step of working out where the different proposed projects should sit on your schedule, you could succumb to the temptation of ordering them in a way that’s essentially random.

Sure, you might get lucky and schedule Tweets on Twitter or Stories on Instagram in a way that works by chance. But it’s just as likely that a disordered, poorly planned content calendar will suffer low levels of engagement.

The doubly damaging aspect of this is that randomness in scheduling makes it much harder to glean actionable metrics and insights from the content you post. You won’t know what elements are really impacting performance, and you could learn the wrong lessons.

The answer is to reframe how you approach content topic choices in the first place. Don’t brainstorm ideas and try to smash these together with the products and services you want to promote; start from the other direction and use these core elements that make your business propositions unique to inform your content calendar.

It might seem like a minor change, but it’s one with major implications, as it will give you more concrete goals, and steer you away from the allure of a scattergun approach to scheduling.

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Image Source: Pexels

Rebalancing your priorities

Another issue with content calendars that plenty of brands make is trying to set up different strategies and content streams for each and every platform they occupy.

This makes a lot more work for your team, and also means that you aren’t extracting optimal value from the content you conjure up.

The fault here is thinking of social media as the main priority in your content creation and scheduling. By doing that, you’ll end up in a never-ending cycle of chasing interactions and trying to achieve perfection, but never reaching it.

Once again, all that’s required is a slight adjustment to your perceptions, in this instance relating to the role of social media as a whole. Treat it as a place to showcase your content, but make sure that the content has innate value which isn’t reliant on the particular platform that it’s shared on.

You’ll notice that the pieces of content which do best and go viral are those that are impactful and engaging in their own right, regardless of where they appear. As such, your priority should be content quality, not platform-specific posts that are hamstrung by their quirks.

Tools like the BeFunky poster generator can help here, of course. You’ll be able to make content that passes muster on all your social feeds, as well as being suitable for your blog and any other platform on which you choose to use it.

Another upshot of rebalancing your priorities in this way is that your content calendar should be simplified. Paring back your output so that a smaller number of higher quality posts are pushed out across multiple platforms, rather than having unique offerings across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, will streamline your social efforts significantly.

Unifying your marketing output

If the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, then a well organized content calendar won’t help much.

The problem comes from how modern audiences engage with their favorite brands, because it’s likely that they’ll connect with you through more than one site, service or solution. The people who follow you on social media will also probably be on your mailing list, particularly if they have previously made a purchase and are interested in what your brand has to offer going forward.

Thus if you’ve got different team members, or even entirely different departments, dealing with separate aspects of your digital marketing, you have to ensure a degree of unity and coordination between them.

For example, having your email marketing campaigns synchronized with your social media publishing schedule is crucial. You don’t want certain people to feel left out by not being kept in the loop on news, updates, product announcements and promotional offers. Likewise you don’t want your content strategy to seem fragmented to those who do engage with your brand in more than one context.

Having a content marketing strategy that is based around communication and collaboration between colleagues, as well as a content calendar that is shared and consistent across the board, will save you from this scenario.

Resisting the urge to chase trends

If you’re able to publish content that’s both relevant to your audience and also taps into the broader zeitgeist, then obviously that’s a good move. However, if this is the lynchpin of your social strategy, then it will do more harm than good.

The reason for this is that by chasing trends, you’ll tend to be pulled away from creating content that your followers actually want to see. This can come about if you are overly focused on optimizing for a particular hashtag, a specific keyword or a movement that’s got plenty of momentum on social media without really being relevant to your brand.

This flies in the face of advice that you may have seen elsewhere, because there’s the potential to gain short term traction by aligning your content calendar with current events. This might deliver attractive spikes of engagement for brief periods, but won’t deliver the long term growth and sustainability of your social presence that must be given priority in your planning.

That’s not to say that you can’t jump onboard certain bandwagons, such as by using Monday hashtags or Wednesday hashtags to associate your posts to the start of the working week or ‘hump day’.

Broad trends like this can be applied to virtually every brand, which makes them manageable. It’s those that are irrelevant or even inappropriate for your products, services and industry that have to be avoided.

In short, if your content calendar serves search algorithms rather than your audience, it will be second rate at best.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Embracing data to inform decisions

Looking to the past is the best way to prepare for the future. This is true of many areas of life, and definitely applies in the context of a content calendar for social media marketing purposes.

Unless you are only just starting out on your journey to prominence on social platforms, or in the digital sphere more generally, you probably have data relating to the performance of past campaigns.

This information will show you whether a strategy worked well, or left something to be desired. It’s only by analyzing the data and learning from it that you can hope to make improvements going forward.

Integrated analytical tools, as well as third party solutions, are your route to reliable data on content performance. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, as if you do it will only result in repeating the same mistakes.

So what metrics actually make a difference to your content strategy and your scheduling? Well, a good example is the ratio of impressions to clicks and conversions. Posts that are seen by a lot of people, but fail to encourage active engagement, are probably targeted in the wrong way.

Conversely even if a post doesn’t get a huge number of impressions under its belt, but does result in a high proportion of interactions, then you could determine that timing may have been the problem.

Basically, it’s a bad move to make guesswork and intuition your modus operandi for plotting out a content calendar and rating the success of posts. Let the data guide you and you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.

Clarifying responsibilities

Even if you have managed to put together a content calendar that is well thought out, packed with high quality posts, and informed by past data, everything can fall apart if the responsibilities of managing it are not clearly assigned.

The more team members that are involved in overseeing your content output, the more important it is to ensure that everyone is aware of their role and what is expected of them.

You must hand out key duties in a logical way, and cover everything from the sourcing of images and the approval process to the actual publishing of content when deciding on your management structure.

Another important aspect at this point is documenting the ins and outs of the policies and processes you choose to use. If there’s any ambiguity or uncertainty, it can derail a carefully curated content calendar. If there’s clarity, then the chances of snarl-ups or conflicts occurring will be minimized.

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Image Source: Pexels

Setting a sensible schedule for your content calendar

Let’s say you’ve read this far and you’re confident that the aspects we’ve covered don’t apply to you. That’s great, but perhaps there’s one thing you’ve overlooked; the volume of content you produce.

This is another aspect of the process that’s difficult to get right without a decent amount of data on past performance to hand. But there are some rules and best practices to follow which will prevent you from encountering common complications in this regard.

It’s a classic Goldilocks conundrum. Spew out content to your feeds and your website too frequently, and followers will either be overwhelmed, or will struggle to find what they want amongst the deluge.

Be too sparing with your posting schedule, and your growth will stall because people won’t receive enough regular value and interest from your output.

Consistency is again impactful as a tactic, but staying within a reasonable remit for content publishing which is neither too intrusive or too sparing must also be part of shaping your schedule.

Publishing at the same time each day, or on the same days each week, will build reliability and a rapport with your audience. Adjusting this according to the market you’re targeting and the expectations of the demographics that are in your crosshairs is also essential.

Also factor in the nature of the platform. Weekends are quieter on LinkedIn, for example, because of its business-focused nature.

The bottom line on a content calendar

As with any aspect of digital marketing, your content calendar should not be expected to skyrocket your brand into the social media spotlight from day one.

Instead, you have to see it as an asset which is there to be refined, iterated upon and scrutinized. If something isn’t working, changes must be made, and there’s no point being precious about a strategy if it is objectively flawed.

Furthermore, fixing an imperfect content calendar isn’t a one-time deal. What works today might not fly tomorrow, and the fluid, evolving digital sphere benefits those that are flexible and adaptable.

As you get accustomed to the various facets of fulfilling your content scheduling and publishing ambitions, the path forward should become clearer. Lastly, there’s no point trying to pigeonhole yourself along with competitors, or attempting to emulate every aspect of another brand’s success; go your own way and you’ll reach your destination sooner.

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