Learn Content Calendar Strategies from 6 Experts

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Marketing Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for brands and influencers to openly discuss tactics for authentically building a strong following. All of the content from the Authentic Marketing Conference is available as a Digital Marketing Bootcamp. Here are the experts who contributed to this blog:

Here are some key takeaways from the Content calendar strategies panel:

  • Focus on creating quality content
    Volume shouldn’t be the focus of your content, instead craft your content so that it provides value to your readers. Also, ensure that the content you are sharing is relevant to your brand.
     
  • Adjust the content for the platform
    Whether you’re creating a blog post, an email series, a YouTube video, a tweet, or an Instagram post, it’s important to remember that each channel has a unique community that you need to cater your content to.
     
  • Establish a content creation strategy
    Content creators, especially those who work on a team, should focus on streamlining the content creation process. Also, having all of your content assets in a central area for your team to access is very beneficial to your collaboration process.

What are some of the best practices for brands and content calendar strategies? What is calendar fatigue?

I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of companies and their social media plans, and it’s an exciting industry to be part of. People get excited when they hire a content team and they hire a social media marketer and they want them to be active at creating amazing content. Sometimes that ambition overlooks what is right for your brand. For us, it’s always “go back to the brief.” What are your brand’s colors, what do you believe in, what do you own and does that mean that you should be taking your logo and building it out of donuts and posting it to every channel just because it’s National Donut Day. It’s not about volume of how many tweets did you get this week or how many Instagram posts did you post this week, it’s about the quality and the relevancy to your brand’s pillars and is that message really important to your audience and to the themes that you believe in as a company. -Kyle Snarr, Flipboard

One really amazing example of an effective Content Calendar is American Express on Small Business Day. –Lauren Sudworth

As a consumer, being bombarded with branded content on a daily basis, especially around big events like Halloween or Easter, I don’t want to see another brand jumping on the holiday bandwagon. I think through everyone doing it, it lessens the impact. I think being strategic or tactical about when you are going out with these kinds of messages is important.

One really amazing example is American Express on Small Business Day. They basically created their own small business day because it didn’t exist. I think the first year it did really well but it ended up going to Parliament and they created a petition to make it an official day and now Small Business Day is in the governmental calendar and that is how successful that campaign was. -Lauren Sudworth, Hootsuite

Balancing popular and highly searched content with original content is important. How do you do that? How do you plan out your content?

It’s all about having a mix of what people want to see and what you want to make. As a content creator, you have to stay authentic to yourself. The best ideas are the ones that are original, creative, and different from what everybody else is doing. When you can find those things, you can make an event out of it.

You need to balance sprint events vs. marathon series. –Aileen Xu

You need to balance sprint events vs. marathon series. Shark week is an example of a sprint week where people get really excited about it, it takes a lot of time to prepare for it, but once you do it - that whole week is moving and the momentum is going. You also have to have a marathon series where you do some sort of consistent content maybe once a week, once a month, but something that makes people want to come back and know when to come back as well. -Aileen Xu, Lavendaire

Every type of calendar strategy that you are going to create is going to be different for each platform that you are using. You can’t blanket this across the board because each community is very, very different.

I find too frequently that brands will either repost stuff to their platforms or they don’t really know how the community talks on that platform. There is an entire subreddit called “fellow kids” about brands who don’t know how to talk to people they are trying to talk to and it’s actually really worth looking up because it will show you what not to do along the way. -Ty Stafford, Omelet

What tactical tools do you use that maybe other people are not using or are overlooked?

I’ve used a myriad from GatherContent to Contently to Google Docs, and I think it’s more about the collaborative process between the content team and the blog team. The content team really needs to own the content that they are creating, brainstorm the topics and then work on the content that they are creating. That just means we get better quality content because what they are writing is what they are actually passionate about. We also use Google Spreadsheets, a blog, and Facebook at Work for posting results. The blog team posts the results back to the writers in long-form article content, which is perfect for our audience of writers because they are going to read through that and get everything that they need to know on last week’s results in order to inform the next brainstorm. Wrike is a project management tool and all of our projects go through that as well. We use it with a combination of Google Docs. -Lauren Sudworth, Hootsuite

We do it all in Google Drive and then schedule through Epoxy, which is kind of the Hootsuite for video. –Jane Davidson

Anyone, on any given team, regardless of the size, wants to see different things most of the time. For pretty much every content calendar that we create, we have folders for the project that includes those things such as the actual goals so if we have an assistant working on it and they were not at the meeting where we talked about the goal, then they can go look at that folder so they understand what is going on. And I’m huge on making sure that we have photos or videos on every single thing that we post so we save those all in the same place and make sure that the edited versions on there so we know everything is setup properly. We do it all in Google Drive and then schedule through Epoxy, which is kind of the Hootsuite for video. -Jane Davidson, BEGIN

Tubular Labs for YouTube is a cool tool that I found for analytics. It goes deeper into your fans. It shows you your top fans, your most influential fans (which is really great for knowing who you might want to collaborate with because they already like your stuff and they are influential), and also it shows you who your fans are watching including their top videos and their top channels that they subscribe to so it is very useful for me as a creator. -Aileen Xu, Lavendaire

Percolate has a very cool native mobile app that allows people to submit their own images, moments, quotes from work and places them in line for approval so it allows people to become part of the publishing process. –Kyle Snarr

At my last agency we had a great subscription to Percolate and it was great because everything that went out needed to get approved and it has a great built-in approval system. You publish to Percolate and then everyone gets an email blast of what that piece of content is whether it is a blog post, image, or tweet and they can weigh in with feedback as well as approve or reject. They also have a very cool native mobile app that allows people to submit their own images, moments, quotes from work and places them in line for approval so it allows people to become part of the publishing process. It’s legal-team friendly. -Kyle Snarr, Flipboard

If you are going to have an influencer running your Snapchat or another platform, HYPR allows you to get the analytics of that particular influencer. –Ty Stafford

HYPR is awesome. If you are going to have an influencer running your Snapchat or another platform, it allows you to get the analytics of that particular influencer, find out who they are and what general topics their audience is interested in. That data, as far as I know, is very difficult to get a hold of and this is the first group that has ever been able to offer me that. I’ve been using it like crazy both to identify audiences and to identify the influencers that I’m looking for. -Ty Stafford, Omelet