Now that you’ve learned why your nonprofit needs a content calendar, let’s talk about how to build one. You can start from scratch or use a template as a starting point. There are many examples of spreadsheets, as well as visual calendars. (Stay tuned for my templates below!)
What should be on your content calendar? You’ll want to include the basics, like:
You may also want to include:
There are four components to building and effective content calendar: creating a template, adding relevant dates, building the content team, and planning and creating content. First, you’ll want to start with creating a template.
What are your content channels? How big is your team? What is your content workflow process? Would you like a free template or a paid app? Do your research and determine if you want to build one from scratch or purchase one online. I recommend either Google Sheets or Trello for content calendar templates.
Once you have that sorted, compile your current content together, including all channels, posts, and frequency. Keep your strategy in mind and review your content in light of that. Are your current goals still relevant? You’ll want to make sure all your content is evergreen.
Next, add your relevant dates, such as holidays, fundraising campaigns, yearly campaigns (including annual reports, impact reports, and strategic plans), internal or external events, and any commemorative weeks or months.
These dates will help you take in the year at a glance and know what content might be coming and what you’ll need to plan ahead for.
Who is responsible for various aspects of your content calendar? These aspects might include:
Once that is determined, create your workflow, starting with an idea that is written, then approved, then scheduled on the calendar. Invite your team members to join and do a demo of your calendar so everyone can see your projects at a glance. This step is where you might recognize you’ll need outside help.
Once your team members are on board, plan your content in advance. This prevents any mad scrambles if an important date arrives. How far in advance would you like to plan? Monthly? Quarterly? Yearly?
Consider themes around your content, perhaps weekly (or each day of the week), or monthly. Scheduling regular brainstorming sessions with your team is highly encouraged, not only as a team-building exercise, but also to create fun, dynamic, and engaging content.
Now you’re ready to create! What will be your posting frequency? A blog every first Tuesday? An email every second Wednesday? Create your copy and decide where to store your copy. What are your image needs? Make an image library to refer to should you need images on a regular basis. Templates or graphics are another thing to consider for your content.
Content curation is an easy way to fill your calendar without creating new content. What content created by others can you share on your feeds? How often can you share curated content? Make sure it aligns with your mission and add your input when sharing to make it more personal.
Always keep repurposing in mind while creating new content. What content might be repurposed on another content channel or in another form? (i.e. a whitepaper into social infographics). Keep an eye on analytics and focus on repurposing content that is performing well to give it an even higher reach.
To learn more about creating a content calendar for your nonprofit organization, please visit lsvdesign.com.