Five Tips for Building a Content Calendar to Engage Prospects and Customers

The success of a social media or eNewsletter campaign rests on providing engaging content to your audience. However, if you haven’t taken time to plan your social media and email marketing content in advance, it can be challenging to find inspiration for posts and emails on a consistent basis. Creating a content calendar can help guide your social strategy and save you time in the long run. Below are five tips to set up a successful content calendar.

1) Determine where and how frequently you want to post and send. Consider which social media platforms your customers use the most, and prioritize those platforms first. You’ll find that you don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform available, but just the ones your audience visit most. It is also important to post frequently, while avoiding overloading your audience with multiple emails or filling up their newsfeeds with posts from your dealership. Find the balance that works for your dealership.

2) Build a calendar outline. You can use a spreadsheet or a word processing program to build your calendar. Start out with one month of content. Eventually, you can build your calendar several months in advance, but remember to consistently check in and ensure that your content is timely and engaging your audience.

Once you have determined the format of the calendar, a great first step is to fill in national holidays and any upcoming dealership news, such as sales events and industry appreciation events. Keep in mind, at this point, you only need to fill the calendar with general topics. Developing the posts or emails will take place later.

3) Find what posts your audience engages with most often. If your dealership is already active on social media, examine your social page insights closely to determine what content your followers engaged with the most. You can also check out pages of similar social pages in the industry to see which of their posts resonates with social media users. Take a look at your past email campaigns that had high open rates and determine what elements of the email worked well.

Keep in mind that social media posts with photos, videos or links often perform better than those without. Aim to have a couple of these high engagement posts each month.

4) Source content relevant to your audience. By supplementing content you have created with relevant stories from other sources, you can provide a consistent flow of content without running out of new ideas.

Follow publications and social media pages that are relevant to your business. For example, if you are mainly an agricultural equipment dealership, follow ag publications and occasionally share a link to a relevant news article for your region. Spend time looking through existing articles while developing your calendar, and plug them into open spots, or add placeholders for article topic ideas. You can also pull from your local newspapers, radio and TV websites for local news.

5) Fill in the rest of your calendar with original content topics. Find relevant holidays or events to post about on social media. For example, if many of your consumers are dairy farmers, consider an appreciation post in June, which is National Dairy Month. Highlight dealership employees or company celebrations. Promote the equipment you sell and thank customers for their business. Send out important information in eNewsletters and share that content on your social media platforms.

Once you have topics outlined in your content calendar, you will be able to see the big picture and ensure that you are providing a variety of content to your followers and that you don’t miss any important dates. Use your calendar to mark any emails or posts that performed well, which will help guide future topic ideas. As followers like, comment and share your posts and emails, your social media following will continue to grow. Want to save even more time and schedule your posts in advance? Read more with this guide to social media scheduling.

About the Author
Sara McClendon is a public relations manager at Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused full-service marketing agency. She enjoys telling the stories of individuals in ag and rural America by building meaningful relationships with clients, farmers and media outlets. Sara grew up in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri and now lives in St. Louis.