How to Create a Content Calendar that Supports Your Launches
Do you feel as if you’re on a never-ending hamster wheel of pumping out content, promoting your work, and moving onto the next piece? By the end of the quarter, you’re burnt out and running on fumes, trying to figure out how those other bloggers and boss babes manage to create content that’s consistent and actually drives results.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I used to think that if I wasn’t pumping out new and valuable content every single day I was failing as a business owner. My audience would notice that I was slacking, that I wasn’t being consistent.
But I was soooo off base.
Then I started creating a clear and intentional strategy. I stopped creating content for the sake of publishing a new post and checking something off my to do list. And I started creating content that supports my launches, my profits, and, overall, my business.
And it all starts with building a content calendar.
In this post, I walk you through how I built a content calendar that creates consistency and structure in my business. After reading this post, you’ll feel more motivated and organized because you’ll learn how to create a content calendar that will support your launches and drive results. You’ll also learn how to repurpose your content over the week and across your social platforms.
01: Blocking Out Your Time Off
When creating my content calendar, I always block out my OOO and vacation days first. Typically, I look at each quarter separately, make note of the statutory holidays and any commitments I have in the year, and mark my days off.
From there, I know which weeks I’ll have to create and schedule more content to fill in for those away days. That way, I stay consistent with my content even when I’m not in work mode. And because I’ll be more focused on planning content for my business during those weeks, I purposely leave my schedule free of any client work.
By scheduling my vacation days first, I also know where to schedule my launches. Because if you’ve ever done a launch, you know scheduling one in the middle of a vacation is a headache waiting to happen — and a real good way to bring business stress in the middle of your sunny vacay.
And lastly, by making this your first step, you remember to (actually!) schedule some time off. I know better than anyone when you run a business taking a step back is difficult. You feel as if everything you worked for will crumble away if you even take a minute away. But it’s an essential part of running a sustainable business.
Because if you don’t take time off, you will burn out.
And these moments away from the office give you the mental freedom to think more clearly, live more creatively, and foster better balance in your life. Because remember: we didn’t start a business to live to work. We started a business to create freedom in our lives.
02: Marking Down Your Launch Dates
One of the main things that separates a successful launch from an unsuccessful launch is preparation. When you’re rushing through a launch, you make mistakes, you overlook key details, and you operate from a place of exhaustion and desperation — not from a place of organization and efficiency.
So mark your launch dates as one of the most important commitments on your content calendar. Because, at the end of the day, they’re what drive the most profitable results in your business.
This year, I have four launches scheduled (one for every quarter). We have three website template launches and one course launch on the calendar. And those four dates determine what content I create and when I promote it.
If you look at the example I’ve provided from my own content calendar, you’ll see my launch date highlighted in a very obnoxious red. And, when I click on the event, it’ll list my planned promotion material and ads.
I also make sure my launch dates avoid any serious holidays (it’s one of the reasons I refrain from posting my digital products in December). And I always make sure I launch during the week and not weekends.
Depending on your paid offer, this might change. For instance, if you sell physical products, you’ll want to invest a great deal of pre-launch energy during the Christmas season. Or if you provide certain themed products, you’ll want to schedule your launches around those holidays.
So choose your launch dates based around your vacation time and the seasons and holidays that will drive the most sales.
And, another thing, try to avoid overwhelming yourself with too many launch dates. Many new business owners think that the more launches they have the more money they’ll bring in. But I’ve noticed that fewer launches with more intention and strategy get better results.
03: Brainstorming & Scheduling Your Hero Content
Your launches will stand as the foundation for your content. Leading up to your launches, each piece of content you publish and promote will ultimately support your paid offer.
From my launch dates, I count back about five or so weeks. And, from there, I schedule my main content (I use Ashlyn Carter’s concept of hero content). For the 5 or 6 weeks leading up to my launch, I create content that supports whichever product I’m releasing.
That way, each piece of content I publish serves a direct purpose to warming up my audience for my approaching launch. And when your content drives more awareness and purchases for your offer, it has more impact for your business and your sales.
Here’s another look at my calendar and red launch date. You’ll notice that my HC (hero content) for the weeks leading up have a direct relevance to that launch material. I call these pieces part of my Pre Launch Content. Not only does this hero content give me a continuous list of topics to write and speak about, but it also provides value to my audience while introducing them to my offer.
You’ll also notice that the weeks succeeding my launch have hero content that supports my offer. I call these pieces part of my Post Launch Content. They’re pieces of content that continue to promote my paid offer in a more natural manner. That way, I can continue to publish relevant and consistent content that’s valuable without overwhelming my audience with three weeks of heavy selling.
In the next example I’ve provided, you’ll notice that near the start of my 5 week launch material, I offer a freebie that is relevant to my launch. Through this free offer, I can grow my email list with audience members that are interested in improving their websites. That way, I can better target people who are experiencing website struggles and are more likely to benefit from my paid offer (aka my target audience).
04: Planning Your Content and Promotions Around Your Hero Content
Once you have your hero content planned and scheduled, you can mark down your promotion strategy. This includes social media, Facebook groups, and any paid ads.
For me, I mark down which days I’ll post content related to my HC and on which platforms. With each new piece of content I publish, I’ll create one or more Instagram feed posts, at least one story post, a couple of Facebook posts, five or more pins, and a Youtube video.
The next week, I’ll create a Facebook post and an Instagram story asking my audience a question related to my previous post. Then I’ll provide my past blog post or Youtube video as a solution to the problem I posed.
And remember, for the five weeks leading up to your launch, these posts will be relevant to your paid offer and will aid in warming up your audience. That way, when your launch time comes, you’ll have a healthy collection of targeted people that are more likely to purchase your product.
Plus, your growing audience will have enough awareness of your offer to anticipate your launch. Typically, people have to see your content around seven times before they make a purchase. So, if over the course of five weeks you publish your supporting hero content across your platforms, your audience will be more likely to make a purchase because you’ve already shown your knowledge in this topic through free value.
If you look at my content calendar, you’ll see that my hero content determines what I post during any given week. That way, my main longform content serves a direct intention and is repurposed about a dozen times. No more hamster wheel. And no more endless continuation of publishing once and moving onto your next piece.
So after you establish your HC, determine which days you’ll schedule your posts on your chosen social media platforms. And make sure you stay accountable to those dates.
05: Scheduling Client Work Around Your Content Calendar
I don’t schedule any client work until I have my content calendar fully fleshed out. That way, I can mark down client dates where I can put 110% of my focus into their projects. I don’t schedule client work around launches. And I don’t allow client work to determine my schedule.
If you operate a service-based business, I highly recommend following this model. In my first year of business, my clients determined my schedule. And, in turn, my own content would fall to the wayside. I wouldn’t be consistent. And I wouldn’t dedicate time to launching any products.
Cue that hamster wheel and cue that endless stress.
But now, I make sure I’m more strategic and organized about where I dedicate my time. Yes, this way we serve less clients. But we’re way more intentional about which clients we do serve and if they’re aligned with our business and our brand.
And we ensure we have plenty of time to build and launch our products, which ultimately leads to more growth in our business.
Ready to Create a Content Calendar that Works for Your Biz?
Now you have the exact strategies I use to create consistent, relevant, and purposeful content that drive my end goal.
You don’t need any fancy tech or pretty stationary to make your content calendar. Use whichever free or paid software you prefer. But make sure you hold yourself accountable. If you put a topic or launch date on your calendar, follow through on it. Because as business owners, we don’t have a boss telling us what to do. We must have the drive and accountability to follow through on our own.
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