Content Calendars 101 with Emma Rowe

With an increased interest in social media content calendars, this month we chased down a local GRM favourite, Emma Rowe from FMG. Emma is the Communications and Social Media specialist for FMG managing their key channels alongside the rural wellbeing programme, Farmstrong.

Here’s what she has to say about the value of planning and content strategy in her role — take it away, Emma!

"With the ‘pay to play’ model dominating most social media channels these days, you can’t get away with the ‘quantity’ approach quite like you used to. No matter how good your content is, the organic post is practically dead these days. Social media is a business after all.  

One way to combat this is to up your budget of course – the more you promote a piece of content, the more likely people will see it. Social media, particularly Facebook remains one of the most cost effective channels, so while it’s worth considering a bigger budget, you also want to make that budget work harder and smarter for you, and that’s where a good content strategy comes into play.

Get proactive

You don’t have to be reactive all the time, and even a basic content plan can help you stay organised and be proactive. Thinking ahead means you can really nail the timing of a post. For example, at FMG and Farmstrong, we align heavily with the farming/ seasonal calendar. I’ll schedule content about lambing and calving just ahead of the season, when farmers will actually find it useful and relevant. Organising your proactive content also frees you up for your reactive stuff.  

Get learning 

Not only does content planning mean you can pre schedule material to run like clockwork, you also have a benchmark to learn new trends and interests of your audience. Are there certain things your audience engage with more than others? Perhaps you should allocate more resource there. What are the most important messages/topics you need to prioritise? 

Get crossing 

Thinking ahead of what you need to communicate gives you good leg room to duplicate it across other channels. If you write a blog on LinkedIn, share that link on Facebook, snap a pic for Instagram and pull out a quote for Twitter. Likewise, editorials and advertorials can be shared on your social channels too. Linking to your website (when relevant) is always a good move. 
Planning ahead makes it easier to engage with your strategic and industry partners too. If you give like -minded pages a heads up that content is going out on a certain date, they are more likely to share it – that’s free promotion. 

Get old school 

Call me old fashioned, but I still use a work doc and calendar to plan out my content. If you don’t manage multiple platforms or brands, I personally don’t see the need for expensive third party platforms – if you don’t have the budget. I have the advantage of working closely with our Marketing Team and I can streamline existing campaigns for our social channels. 

Five tips to get your calendar started

  1. Using a calendar doc or word template, jot down all the key industry dates and events relevant to your business for that year. Think about important dates that will impact your audience. 
  2. Narrow in, and plan 1-2 months of content in advance. Remember, you don’t need to post every day. 
  3. Think about a ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ content, especially if you’re attending or hosting an event. 
  4. Align with any existing media and marketing strategies or business goals. 
  5. Identify the most important messages or topics each month and prioritise them.  Schedule them in, and fill any gaps with softer content. 

"In the world of ads, stay true to your audience and offer them something either helpful or entertaining. If it’s relevant, they will read it, you don’t need to force them too. " — Emma Rowe

Emma, thank you so much for taking the time to give our readers an insightful glimpse into your content strategy processes. 

Amped to get started on your own content calendar? Give yourself a kickstart by downloading this free content calendar or receive your own bespoke content calendar, made by yours truly for only $47 + gst. Chat soon!