There are very few things I love more in life than a publishing calendar.
Did that come off too strong?
When it comes to marketing your business, having a publishing, editorial or content calendar is paramount for any indy who actually wants to leverage and produce quality content for their consumers. Call it whatever you may, these calendars help solopreneurs strategize, organize and plan ahead. By knowing what you’ll publish when, you’ll always be prepared to deliver.
How Often Should You Share Content?
What kind of plants and flowers should someone put in the yard of a new home? Your answer would probably depend a lot on who the person is and what their yard looks like. The same goes for deciding how often to share content, the first step in building an effective calendar.
The key is finding the schedule that keeps you motivated, yet doesn’t burn you out. While I’d generally argue that more content is better, the truth is that better quality content is the best. You may be publishing once a day or once a month — it all depends on what kind of schedule fits the needs of your business and yourself.
Your audience can also help you identify how often you should publish. Are they begging for more? Or have you recently increased the number of podcast interviews you do each month, and they’re not getting much traction? These might be clues your audience is expecting more from you, or only expecting you at certain times or certain days.
Making the Most of Your Calendar
In my work as a content strategist, one question my clients ask me most often is, “What goes on my publishing calendar?” Well, quite simply, any content that’s important to your business, and all businesses are different. Blogs, podcasting, live and prerecorded video and audio, and long-form social media content can all be on there.
When you create a calendar, you’re able to plot out general themes, link different forms of media and prepare the best times to share this content with your audience. For example, in 2018, many of my clients are looking to embrace Facebook Live videos in their content strategy. One in particular had been posting long-form social media content and blogging for some time, and was hoping to gain new traction by embracing video in her organization’s brand story. But how?
She had the option of replacing blog posts on her publishing schedule with live videos. She could also add an extra publishing day to make room for the additional content. However, when we looked at her publishing calendar, we noticed there was a natural pattern of lulls between her long-form social media posts. The live video would nicely fill those spaces.
Publishing calendars also help keep a record of all previously scheduled content. Want to link back to something you wrote earlier? Great. No more scanning page after page of website content or scrolling endlessly through your social media feeds. An organized calendar allows you to search quickly through what you’ve already shared.
Remember – Consistency Is Key
Being consistent is what trains your audience to pay attention to you, and you want them coming back, right? For most solopreneurs, choosing a consistent day to show up is the first step. If you’re publishing monthly, do it on the 15th of every month. If you’re posting twice a week, aim for once on Monday and once on Thursday.
Just remember that you can update or change your schedule if necessary. For example, the popular blog “Wait But Why” maintained a consistent schedule of posting a new, well-researched, long-form blog post every week on Tuesdays. Oh, but then sometimes it was Wednesday. Then more days would go by. Then, posting would go back to every Tuesday. Finally, Tim Urban, the author, who had already built a big following, wrote about the inconsistency. He explained that sometimes, the work that goes into one post takes longer than another. However, because he’d already developed a cadence to his publishing calendar, his fans knew to expect him approximately every week, even if it wasn’t always on Tuesdays.
So, how will you approach your publishing calendar? If you’re feeling anxious about what to include, start small. Fill the spreadsheet, document or actual calendar with just the next two or three pieces of content you’ll share and when. Then, when you get the hang of it, schedule out more content further into the future. Soon enough, you’ll be managing your calendar with ease.