Let’s face it, those little admin tasks in digital marketing like social media audits and link checks often fall to the bottom of the to-do list when you’ve got bigger, more exciting and more creative things to do. But we’re here to remind you that those jobs are just as important as the big ones, sometimes even more so, particularly if they’re causing hold ups in your work scheme. And one of the biggest tasks that we feel is really important to get done is planning your content calendar.
Whether you’re agency or client side, if you’re working on digital PR and getting your brand recognised, planning out an annual PR content calendar is absolutely key. Setting aside the time to do so is totally invaluable, but finding the time to do it isn’t easy. We’re here to make that a little bit easier for you – we’re giving you exclusive access to our Bronco Annual PR Content Calendar template, along with a few tips on how to make it your own.
When you’re working in content creation, it’s all too easy to come up against a brick wall. Like writer’s block, we all hit a creativity block at times where you feel like your ideas for clients are all stale, have been done before, or simply lack inspiration. With an annual PR calendar, you’ll always have a stash of days that will help spark some imagination and help with idea generation. This can help you be more prepared for those occasions when you’re running dry on ideas, and it ensures that you’re always ready for industry focused dates.
Not only that, but a content calendar allows you to see your whole year at a glance and plan in advance. This means that you can check what you’ve got going on, how it ties together and when you need to start prepping for your next creation. In addition to this, it can help you be more flexible – if something needs to be moved around because it didn’t hit as well as hoped (or maybe it hit even better and you want to spend more time on it!), you can shuffle things in your calendar, grab something else that’s coming up or ignore a date that isn’t all that important to you.
As we head quickly towards the new year, now is the time to get thinking about your content calendar. Wouldn’t it be lovely to come back into the office after a relaxing break over Christmas to remember that you’ve already got the month planned out for you? All you need to do is get your head down to work on the pieces you’ve already scheduled; no frantic scramble for fresh ideas when your brain is still full of turkey!
So have we convinced you that you need to get your annual content calendar sorted yet? If so, here’s how you go about it:
You can download this as an editable PDF, print it off to stick on your wall or keep it on your desk (this helps to keep it at the forefront of the mind at all times!), fill it in by hand, or simply take inspiration to create your own. Our Bronco content calendar is filled with days that are relevant to us, to our clients, days that happen annually that we all need to take note of (Bank Holidays, for example), and just a few days that sounded fun to us.
If you choose to create your own content calendar using ours for inspiration, an Excel spreadsheet is the best place to start, with a new sheet for each calendar month, and a cell for each day. This makes it super simple to cut and paste when you need to do a bit of shuffling, as well as to get an overview for each month.
The goal of this isn’t to simply grab someone else’s calendar and start creating content for the days they’ve selected. If you work in catering, Bring Your Dog To Work Day probably isn’t the most sensible thing to support, nor do you want awareness events like World Alzheimer’s Day popping up in your calendar all the time; no matter how important, they’re just not going to hit as you intend them to. Instead, dates like Yorkshire Pudding Day and International Bacon Day might spark better ideas for your industry and client base. As such, you’ll want to check through our template and remove anything that’s not right for you or your clients, then move onto the next step:
If you’re creating your own calendar, make sure to add days that occur every year such as Christmas, bank holidays, clocks changing – depending on your industry, it might even be relevant to add school holidays too. Make sure to check each date as you do so, as many of these occasions have dates that change depending on the year – think Leap Year and Easter.
Now is the fun part – get your brain into gear and start thinking about any and every topic that might be relevant to you or your clients. Get your team together to help you think out of the box as it can be tricky for clients that work in industries that at first seem boring, but some of our best campaigns have come out of ideas based on awareness days for traditionally “boring” sectors.
What’s the easiest way to find out if there’s a day for the celebration or awareness of the topics you’ve come up with? Google it! Add “awareness day/week”, “international day/week”, “national day/week” or simply “day” (or even “month”) to your topic ideas in your search and you’ll be surprised at just how many unusual ones are out there! You can add all of these to your calendar as they might spark ideas, but don’t be misguided by them – don’t use every single day to create a campaign or you’ll look a little bit ridiculous!
Most industries have an annual calendar of conferences, meetups, even webinars. Make sure to check what the big ones are, any that you attend or that might have information worth sharing or that you can jump on board with to share your own advice on social media, and add them to your calendar.
The final step is to get creating! Once your calendar is complete, pass it around the rest of your team and ask them for ideas based on the dates or sit down for a brainstorm around them. The more people involved, the better, as everyone will have different interests and thus different ideas.
How many dates should I add to my calendar?
We would suggest adding a minimum of one event per week, but we don’t recommend creating something for every date or supporting every awareness day out there!
How far in advance should I plan?
Our calendar isn’t a “disposable” one; it can be recycled year after year as these are events that happen annually. We suggest creating a calendar for the full year with events that recur, then you can pick and choose events each year that you’d like to support or engage with. The calendar is something to be used alongside your actual content plan rather than in place of it.
Should I run a campaign for every event and date?
No, please don’t do this! They’re useful to have in your calendar for sparking ideas, but your social media will be completely overflowing with things if you do this and you’ll never have time for anything else! Pick days that are highly relevant or that you have a good idea for – don’t create content just for the sake of it. It needs to be something that people will interact and engage with, rather than simply a post saying “Happy Doughnut Day!” with a photo of the iconic dessert.
What can I create from the days in my calendar?
This is a big question as the answer is open ended! You can create anything from simple social media posts with an image relevant to the date, facts about the event, or expert advice or opinions on it, to larger scale campaigns including videos, slideshows, outreach projects and more. The list is endless – you just need to get creative!
What if I don’t have time to create an industry specific calendar?
Have no fear, we’re here to help! Simply download our calendar which has all the standard dates you would need in a calendar plus a few more, then add to it. And if you’re struggling – give us a shout! Content calendars are our thing at Bronco, so we’d be happy to help you plan your year ahead.
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