By Chris Sugrue

February 21st, 2017

Although social media is now inseparable from modern marketing, a surprising number of marketing departments still don’t employ content calendar software. 

Up to 90% of marketers say they use some form of editorial/content calendar, but these invariably take the form of Excel sheets and similar templates.

Now, we may be biased (ok, just a little), but as multi-tasking social marketers ourselves, there is one truth we would stake it all on: you can’t truly compete in 2017 without a digital content calendar.

For a start, ‘calendar’ is an understatement 
Calendar is a pretty old-timey term for what is now a multi-purpose digital age marketing tool. A content calendar is where you can marshal your resources and team, and plan, map and execute your digital content strategy.

The basic function of a content calendar is to provide a shared overview of your content schedule. But the more comprehensive ones, like our platform’s Publish, are capable of much, much more. This includes content creation, editing and performance tracking, together with asset and team management and even paid promotion.

And those are just the top level possibilities that surprise many.

So here’s why it is high time to ditch the spreadsheets and email chains and upgrade your distribution with a content calendar.

It brings order to social content chaos
Social marketing is characterized by an unprecedented level of volume and frequency. There are so many posts, so many channels and mediums, involving stakeholders with a variety of roles and specialties.

A ruefully comic term, content chaos, has even been coined to describe this mass escalation in corporate publishing. A content calendar is how a brand can reel a major chunk of that chaos back in under its clear-eyed control.

It is the visibility that makes such a difference. Everyone can see what’s going out, when and on what channel. It is a platform, framework and forum for employees to focus their efforts on the same goals.

content calendar 2017

Falcon’s Publish calendar gives a complete view of social, other digital and even offline activity scheduling – while allowing content creation, teamwork facilitation and performance analysis.

Makes the complex simple and quick to do
Currently, only Facebook and Twitter offer native scheduling tools, so without a content calendar posting across networks remains a very clunky, manual process with spreadsheets splayed.

By using a platform capable of publishing to all the major networks you will save a lot of time and hassle. Posts can be composed and scheduled in a matter of clicks. Falcon allows the creation and publishing of Facebook and Instagram ad sets entirely within the platform. 

But aside from snowballing time-savings, the really big payoff is the strategic overview. Management can easily see where the gaps in the content strategy and flow are and move to plug them.

Puts an end to working in isolation
‘Breaking down the silos’ is a phrase we’ve all heard, but multiple departments, markets and time zones can all conspire to make this a logistic impossibility. Content calendars are one place where this aspiration can be realized.

For a start, everyone is looking at the same plan and editorial processes that can include ideas, drafts and deadlines. This doesn’t need to mean only marketers either. Any relevant person in any department can also be given access – and receive updates and notifications.

In the case of Falcon, management can set tasks to individuals and make stock items such as images available for repurposing in the Content Pool. 

Falcon’s calendar also integrates a Campaign Planner where teams can align right across the organization. Social, other digital and offline activities and events can all be synced up to support one another. Small features such as note-sharing make a huge difference in dispersed teams.

There is a clear breakdown of roles and responsibilities. Nothing goes out until approved by the authorized people. Where paid promotion is concerned, this often means an external agency who can also be given access.

See how easy it is to compose a post and send it for approval here:

 

 

Takes the abstraction out of posting
Creating posts in Excel is essentially flying blind. Social posting is a creative undertaking like any other advertisement. You can hardly strike the perfect composition or feel in a spreadsheet format – and it is just plain fiddly to share a spreadsheet for commenting and approval.

With Falcon Publish, you can compose each post in the correct format for each network – and preview its appearance in the native setting. This is yet another time-saving feature as you don’t need test accounts to check your posts are up to par.

This includes the option for mobile preview, which considering that 80% of social users access their networks via mobile is a crucial step many still overlook. 

They do data now too
These days if your tactics aren’t data-driven you are quite likely wasting your time and resources. That is why campaign tracking is so important, and it is possible to do it right in your content calendar.

Falcon’s URL Shortener allows you to tailor each post’s URL, including tracking parameters. These can be linked with Google Analytics to monitor the post’s performance and metrics such as click-through rate.

Can integrate with and enhance your other tools
Although a few of the most comprehensive content calendars can store stock items, you don’t need to abandon your asset management platform to accommodate a content calendar – if the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) of both platforms are up to it.

The Falcon platform API allows a simple integration with asset management platforms such as QBank, allowing the users of such platforms to bulk import stock items into Falcon for repurposing, scheduling and distribution.

Lastly, it puts people at ease
This can’t be underestimated. By making the social content distribution visible and orderly, marketing and collaborator departments can eliminate a lot of the labor and confusion created by content chaos.

Don’t underestimate the importance of user experience either. An intuitive and easy-to-use tool helps to drive employee uptake and confidence.

Once you leave the spreadsheets and emails behind, there is no going back – and no end to how much you can improve your social content distribution. If you

If you would like to learn more about building a top-performing content calendar, take a look over here.

Hungry for more tips about social content distribution? Then download the ebook below – all four of our Essential Social Networks Guides in one insights-packed  volume.

The Essential Social Networks Guide for Marketers.

Download the complete marketer's guide to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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