Creating and using a content calendar will prepare your chapter for success and leave you feeling less stressed during the school year. In this article, learn what a content calendar is and dive into the five steps on how to use it for a better content-creation experience!
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a tool that keeps your content for the year well-organized and on track. It streamlines your ideas to reduce time spent on content creation and increases collaboration among members. It’s an excellent resource for staying on top of all the information you’ll use throughout the year to ensure your chapter’s brand is effectively communicated to your audience.
5 Steps to Create your Content Calendar
1. Create a Template
Consider your content channels, audience and brand when creating your template. Ask yourself questions like:
- What content channels does our chapter have?
- Who makes up our chapter's audience?
- What content aligns with our chapter's brand?
- What type of content can we share as a chapter to engage with our audience effectively?
Before adding information to your calendar, you’ll want to make sure you have a system to organize your content. Your template will have features like color coding, font size and font type to help differentiate between types of content.
In addition, establishing who has access to the document will help you remain organized when brainstorming and sharing content. This could be one chapter officer or a small group of chapter members, depending on what you've found works best for your chapter.
2. Input Important Dates
Next, gather important dates and key information that will be useful as you plan out your content for the year. Important dates can include DECA Inc.’s calendar, your association’s calendar, your district or school’s calendar and your DECA chapter’s calendar. Key information can be found on DECA.org and your association and school’s websites.
3. Include Fun Content
You can also include fun dates like holidays or national days. Some of our favorite days to celebrate are Random Act of Kindness Day (February 17th), Best Friends Day (June 8th) and Ice Cream Day (July 16th). Your school or chapter most likely has additional fun-based events or traditions, like spirit week, school dances or sporting events, that are also worth including.
4. Brainstorm Additional Content Ideas
Sometimes you can’t tie your content ideas to specific days. When this happens, you’ll want to include a section within each month or week to write ideas in. In the DECA Inc. content calendar, we break up content ideas by DECA Direct Online (DDO) article categories since the platform is one of our main content channels. These categories can be found at the top of the homepage on DDO.
An example of how we do this is with member recruitment in August. While you won’t want to write “member recruitment” on each day, you will want to make sure member recruitment content is being shared. The DDO article category that member recruitment typically falls into is chapter strategy. So the category notes look like this:
- Creative recruitment ideas, how to brand your chapter, recruiting on social media, talking points, recruitment events, new member spotlights, etc.
5. Using Your Content Calendar
One of the best parts about a content calendar is that it’s a working document. You can go back and make edits throughout the year as you see what shared content is the most effective. It’s important to remember that intentional content will create an engaged audience. Using and editing your content calendar will help you stay on track so your audience interacts and enjoys your content, which leads to an effective marketing strategy for your chapter’s brand!
Keep in mind that content calendars are different from social media schedulers. The information in your content calendar won’t always translate directly to the content shared on your social media platforms. It’s the starting point for the content creation process. If you’re looking for a social media scheduler, check out some top-rated ones here. Our team uses Later, which is a great free option for chapters.
Using the five steps above to create your content calendar will help your chapter stay organized as you begin the school year. Once your content calendar is set up, you'll be able to focus on the fun part - creating and sharing content for your chapter's brand!
We can’t wait to see you dive in so you can Experience the Difference with content creation.