Designing a simple social media content calendar from scratch.

In this article we are going to to design a social media content calendar that you can use to manage multiple social media clients for your agency. By the end of this article you will have a really good understanding of how to create one, and the best way to use the content calendar for you agency.

Instead of manually struggling to figure out how to document everything on your content calendar, the last article looked at the benefits of using a content calendar for your agency. Now, we are going to look at how to design a simple social media content calendar. At the end you will create and customize it specifically for your agency. But first, lets start with an overview to understand what are the most important things to track and collect while creating your own social media content calendar. I have highlighted the most important things - these are the sections which you should definitely copy for your agency).

Client overview:

Before you start creating posts for your client, you need to understand more about the client. Think of the client overview as a place which is accessible to your whole team, and which they can use as the homebase for the client. Any time they are stuck or need more information they can refer to this place to answer their questions. You should be looking to store the following information for each client in the client overview section:

  1. Who is your client - i.e. what is their website, who the contact people are, what are their emails
  2. What are their social media profiles - i.e writing down their social media handles for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the rest of the social media platforms that they are active
  3. Assets - the branding assets, the clients photos/videos - basically anything you and your team will be using repeatedly while creating posts for the client..
  4. Content schedule - When you start planning your client's content, first try to come up with an outline on how often you will post every week, and the type of content you will share, and the platform. First start by deciding how often you need to post for the client - e.g. once a week on Facebook, thrice a week on LinkedIn etc and, then the kind of post you will be posting on that day - e.g. sharing an inspirational post, or sharing a blog, or sharing a customer story, or sharing an offer/discount. Over here you are looking for things to do repeatedly - e.g. if you decide to share a blog every Tuesday, you will repeat the same process of sharing a blog every Tuesday - but just change the blog you link to every week. This way you are not wasting time every day thinking of what kind of post to post on a specific day. Also, everyone on your team can follow the same schedule, and it makes things easier. To make this more useful, while you add the type of post - you can also add an example so others get an idea of what you mean, and additional notes on what the post should look like.
  5. Others
    1. Hashtags - For each client, it is also useful to collect all the hashtags related to the client. You can have different themes, and all the hashtags under each theme. E.g. "Branded" theme, can have all the themes related to brand, and if the client is targeting travellers, you could add a "traveler" theme, which lists all the hashtags related to travel for the client.
    2. Social media responses - This section is helpful when you need information on how to respond to someone on social media. Ideally the section should be a collection of questions - where each question has a topic, the action question and the answer. This way when you need help you can quickly go thru all the the topics, then dig in deeper into each question to find the correct way to respond to the customer on social media.
    3. Customer profile - who is your clients target market - the age, location, customer profile of their customers. Where do they work? What blogs do they use etc. Add anything over here that will be useful when you are coming up with post ideas in the future.
    4. Product / service information - What do they sell, the benefits and pain points of their products, what makes them different from their competitors.
    5. Meeting notes - just a collection of all notes related to the client
    6. Research notes - collection of all notes that you have made while doing research for the client.

Important things to consider when creating a post:

When you start creating a post, there are different things you need to consider:

  1. Content: This is the main post content - the meat of the post.
  2. Attachments: This is any attachments that needs to be added along with the post.
  3. Platforms: This a list of the platforms that the post will be published to, and for each platform you need to capture the following:
    1. Variations: The content of each post maybe slightly different for each platform - so you need to be able to collect the correct version of the post for each platform.
      1. Hashtags: Also, the post will probably use different hashtags on different social media platforms - and hence you need to note down the different hashtags you will use on each platform.
      2. Customisation: You also need to customize the content for each platform - for e.g. when posting on Twitter, you maybe breaking the post into 5 different posts - where as on LinkedIn, it may go as one post, and on Instagram stories, it may go as a question - so, you need to specifically update the post based on how it should appear on the platform.
  4. Schedule: You also need to capture the date and time the post will be published.
  5. Status: The post status quickly shows everyone where you are in the process of creating the post. For e.g, the status can go from in-progress -> needs review -> ready to post -> scheduled -> posted. In-progress means someone is still working on it - maybe someone is still editing the content, or the graphic designer is still working on the images. Needs review means you have sent it to the client for review. Ready to post means everything is ready to go. Scheduled means the post has been scheduled to be posted on each social media platform, and posted means it has been posted successfully to social media.
  6. Discussion: You also maybe collaborating with others - e.g. a graphic designer who will look at the content and then come up with an image. So, you need to also add information which can be viewed by the graphic designer. Ideally you should be able to tag the designer in your message so that they are aware of this.

Client access:

Your clients should have access to their workspace. The workspace comprises of the client overview + the collection of posts scheduled for the client. The client should be able pickup any post that is read-for-review, and view the content, th comments associated with it. You should be able to invite clients to their workspace via emails, or via a sharable link.

Usually clients only have access to comment on posts. They do not have permission to create posts, as doing that can add more confusion. Only you and your employees should have permission to create posts. Clients can review and comment on them. If you want you can give clients the ability to submit post suggestions. Create a form, and have a field where they can write down ideas for posts. This is important as if they only email you ideas, it will quickly become hard to manage.

It's also helpful to have unique links for each workspace which clients can view without logging in. This is helpful as clients are busy - and most times they just need to view the content calendar without having to remember emails/passwords and other login information.

Client approvals:

It's important to capture all the client feedback and keep it along with the post, because it can act as a store of record. Incase, in the future the client asks something related to a post, and wants to know why something was added, you can send the link to the post, so that they can also read the comments to get better context surrounding the issue. Also, if you want to repost something, it's good to be able to view all the comments and notes related to the same post easily.

Content calendar:

The calendar is the main section - and the one section you are going to be using the most. The calendar is a collection of posts that you are going the be creating for the client, and also displays the posts you have already created for the client. The ability to view past posts is also important - because you can go back in time - e.g. if you are thinking what did you post for this client 40 days ago, you should be able to easily go back, and views the posts from 40 days ago.

This post looked at what are the things you should focus on while building a social media content calendar for your agency. If you are just starting out, start with the sections that are highlighted, and then add more and customize it as you scale your agency.