A successful content strategy requires careful deliberation, strategic planning and continual evaluation. A highly organized content calendar should be a part of every content strategy. Incorporating flexibility into a content calendar organizes content to a degree that posts seem random.
- Plan posts in advance so that flexibility can be built in. During the planning period, define the objectives and messaging to target each week during the following month. This will give the added benefit of more available "evergreen content," which is content that stays relevant.
- Plan to post content around cyclical military events like training exercises, meetings or community events (e.g. Marine Corp Marathon, Warrior Games, etc.) and other scheduled events, missions and holidays.
- Establish content pillars on your content calendar to aid in the execution and curation of posts and align any existing production efforts to fit the platform's strategy.
- Use platform analytics to determine days and times with highest traffic and engagement and post the most engaging and important content during those times.
- Adjust content according to current events and incidents.
- Use unit/office resources: Who and what content is available.
- Use colors or symbols to indicate the purpose of the planning content on each platform.
- Build in unit/branch/service campaigns (e.g., Women in the Marines, observance months, large training exercises) to ensure the content is fulfilling the commander's intent.
- Use monthly themes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- Weave in popular hashtags and topics (e.g., #MotivationMonday, TBT, On This Day) throughout the week to be complementary to campaigns, monthly themes and weekly objectives.
- Differentiate content across platforms while adhering to the same themes and strategies.
- Know which posts align to the unit's various themes and strategies for the month and be prepared to explain and react to them.
- Set a measurable goal and objective for the months/weeks. This should fit into your overall social media strategy.
- Use platform analytics to test the content calendar. Determine if post engagement is up because of the content type or because it was posted on a Saturday.
- Decide when to evaluate a post: every other day, every 2-4 days or weekly.
- Decide what to evaluate for each post. Some questions to ask are:
- What is the lifespan of the post?
- Does it have more reach/engagement?
- How does it play into the overall content strategy and social media strategy?
- Perform a weekly evaluation and ask:
- Did the platform meet established weekly objectives?
- What posts were most helpful?
- At what times did posting receive the most engagements?
- How did your posts perform with quantitative metrics (number-based) and qualitative metrics (human-based/audience reaction)? Does one affect the other?
- How can positive posts be leveraged to increase the engagement rate? How can negative posts be avoided in the future?
Below is an example of a content calendar where the theme is Building Community. Read through to see how planning, themes and evaluation are worked into the calendar.