How to Use a Content Calendar Template, Complete With Metrics and Goals
By Jacey Lucus
Following Jacey Lucus’ post about how to create a social media strategy for startups, we are going to take a deep dive into content and social distribution, tracking, metrics and goals. There are many ways to plan for your content distribution (some free and some paid), but we’ve compiled and structured a FREE template to help you with your startup social content planning. It’s created in Google Sheets, so easy to duplicate to your systems and customize as you see fit. The Simple Content Calendar + Metrics + Goals Template is designed to help entrepreneurs have an easy starting point for planning, populating, and measuring their social media plans. The template will help you establish monthly goals, and assign content to specific social media channels, and measure the results.
Any time we think about sharing stories on the blog, in the newsletter, on social, etc., we like to do a pulse check on the content. We ask ourselves, is this a quality piece? Have we develop a quality content strategy that connects with our audience? This is always the first thing to ensure before scheduling and sharing any content. Choose quality always. You’re brand is important and your customers want to get behind brands that matter.
Platform Choices for Scheduling
The first thing you and your marketing team want to discuss is what platforms will work best for your company. Whether is is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., choose where your customers and brand loyalists are. Once you establish which platforms you want to engage on, list them in the “Platform” column in your template. You can also discuss how many times a week/day you want to post your social content. Apps like Buffer help you schedule your posts after the frequency is set. The template allows you to edit the amount of rows per day to align with your decided post frequency per platform. Here is an example of our schedule looks like for a Friday:
We have each cell color coded by platform. While it’s not necessary to color code, it makes it easier for the marketing team to ensure at a glance that there is an accurate frequency of posts and that one platform isn’t being under/overused.
Quality Distribution of Quality Content
The next part of using the template is to write the copy for each of your posts in advance so that you have enough time to review and check for errors. This goes under the “Copy” column in the sheet. Be sure to write different length copy depending on which platform you use. For example, Twitter limits the amount you can write, but LinkedIn and Facebook don’t limit characters. You can do your own research to see what the ideal amount of copy per platform is too! A helpful tip is to try and create copy for at least two weeks out so you can run it by managers to make sure 1) you are on brand and 2) there are no grammatical errors.
If your post will have a photo or video associated with it, you can put the link in the “Digital Assets” column. Keep in mind, images earn 2.3 times more engagement on Facebook than text posts, according to BuzzSumo research. This column makes it easy for collaboration with designers who may be the ones actually creating digital assets. They are able to account for any assets that need to be created ahead of time, which makes for less rushed (and ultimately better) design. We typically highlight any cell that needs a digital asset created in yellow or comment on it to notify our teammates of the task.
Will you have a Call to Action for your social post? Are you sending them to a landing page or blog? What URL are you driving your audience to? Did you shorten it? You’ll put all this information in the “URL” column. This is helpful to list, especially if you are reposting or re-sharing someone else’s work, it also allows you to credit authors.
The “Copy/Design Notes” column is where direction for the post goes if it has specific instructions. For example, if you wanted your team to post a graphic with a certain font/color or at a certain “location”, you can include necessary details in this column. This also provides you opportunities to make note of mention and tag for higher engagement as well.
The “Scheduled?” column is IMPORTANT to keep up to date. This is important because it helps avoid double posting. If using scheduling apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can let your team know that it has been schedule and they do not need to post it again! We know startups are scrappy and a CEO might be posting to a business account right alongside an intern.
Finally, the “Engagement” column is for you and your team to take notes about who people interacted with your post. If there was one particular post that got many more likes or shares than normal, this it where you would take note of it. This will be helpful for social audits and reviews in the future. The two other pages “goals” and “metrics” are also helpful for those. It’s important to keep track of your metrics as you grow so you can understand your audience. By watching these patterns over time you can either pivot or highlight your social media in order to gain more attention. It also makes it easier to track growth from a big picture view to share out with your entire team.
As the year goes on, it’s helpful to copy and paste this template outline for each month. Below is what the our tabs look like:
Establishing the Right Social Media Goals
When it comes to social media goals, we always suggest establishing SMART goals for each month on each platform. At month's end, review whether or not you reached those goals. We suggest monthly goals that will help you increase your likes/followers/engagement month over month. Setting a goal, writing it down, then noting weather it was met or not is a helpful way to audit your progress. It also helps you get to the ‘Why’ behind it if the goal was not met. This template allows for you to add or delete goal sections based on the number of platforms you engage on.
Tracking the Right Social Media Metrics
This tab has two different sections. The quick look at the top, then the platform specific sections below. The quick look section at the top is a place to quickly see progress. We suggest you list the metrics associated with your top priorities of each platform. We’ve listed Twitter Follows, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn Followers, and Instagram Followers, but feel free to customize.
The next sections are platform specific and a great way to report your full platform strategy engagement for your team in a quick and easy way. Each platform you chose to engage on often has an analytics component that you can visit (i.e. https://analytics.twitter.com/) to quickly get these stats. Take a look at our suggested metrics to track, but always associate this back with your ultimate goals.
Now, with a good understanding of how to use the content calendar template, complete with metrics and goal tracking, we hope your newest startup will thrive in the social space and planning for the future will be a little less chaotic.