Charity Digital – Themes – How to create a content calendar


Creating a timeline for your social media activity might not be high on your priority list, but it will save you time in the long run. A content scheduler provides a preview of your upcoming social media posts, allowing you to plan and schedule content in advance. That way, you won’t have to scramble every day to find something to post.

By scheduling posts in advance, you can check your work and avoid making mistakes. It creates a safety net in your workflow, with time to check facts and get approval from relevant colleagues if needed.

If you use more than one social media channel, a timeline will help you track your content. It can help you manage multiple versions of each post and decide what to post to each account.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a content calendar:

Produce content for your audience

Before creating a content calendar, it’s important to spend some time thinking about your key audience and who you’re targeting on social media. This will help you decide what content to post.

Decide which channels to use

Once it’s clear who your audience is, you can determine which social media channels you should use.

Carry out an audit

Audit your existing content so you have a baseline of your starting point. Asana recommends looking at metrics like which post types get the most engagement and your most successful post per channel.

Choose a format for your calendar

There are different tools you can use to create your content calendar. You might want to choose something simple to create your planner, like an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet.

Or you can use a social media management, scheduling, and posting tool to plot posts on a timeline. Options include Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.

In the content calendar, you should put the following headings to help you plan your posts:

  • Publication date and time
  • Social media channel on which you post
  • Copy – what you want to say in your messages
  • Photos and videos
  • Links and tags to include
  • Paid or organic content

Hootsuite suggests creating a new tab or section for each month, then planning your editorial content week by week.

Create an image library

Build your image library so you have plenty of photos and videos to use with your posts. A social media calendar will help you decide which visuals you need and then you can find them across the organization. There’s nothing worse than looking for photos at the last minute.

You can also use stock photos from stock image libraries.

Decide what content to publish

You should apply the 80-20 rule to your content: eight out of 10 of your posts should inform, educate or entertain people and two out of 10 should be promotional posts. Too many promotional messages can alienate subscribers.

You should include user-generated content, like stories from people your charity supports. Supporters love to hear about the difference charities make from other people – not just staff members.

Using curated content — content from other sources that you share on your social media accounts — will help you stay visible on social media without having to create new posts. Look for interesting content that you can share on your feeds.

You can also find relevant awareness days and important dates and plan content around them.

Talk to colleagues

Social networks should not be compartmentalised. Talk to colleagues from different teams to give you more ideas on what to post on your social media accounts. Your colleagues will be able to share news and updates from across the charity. For example, they could share the amount that was raised at a fundraising event or give you an update on the latest campaign work they are doing.

Review your content

It’s important to examine the content you post on social media to see how it works with your audience. You can either use the analytics tools on each social media channel or schedule apps like Hootsuite to monitor your posts.

Track your posts as they happen and save the reviews to your calendar. You can use this information to track what works and adapt your content based on your findings.


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