Content. This word gets used all the time. Every business needs content – content for your website, content for your social media platforms, content for your emails.
But what does the word “content” mean? What will you need content for? How will you come up with content ideas? What do you need a content calendar for? What is the difference between a social media content calendar and a content calendar?
All these questions get answered here! This is THE blog post about content!
What is content?
Content is information. It is everything you post online: all substance that you write, photograph, film, design, etcetera. EVERYTHING is content.
Content can be posted on your website, blog, Facebook, YouTube, in your emails or newsletters. Everything online is content, which means that everything you share from someone else is content too. Because they wrote it, filmed it, designed it…
Content is working for your brand if it engages, informs or entertains people. We will get back to that later.
There are different forms, types and kinds of contentNatalie Vijlbrief – Digitalie
Different forms of content
There are different forms of content, different types of content and different kinds of content.
Different forms are all about – as it says – form. Is it a video, an infographic, a written text, a flyer, a photo, etcetera. These are all forms of content. You can make one piece of content into a lot of different forms, which is called repurposing content. Read more about different forms in ‘The Shape of your content’.
There are different types of content. I separate six different types, which all have different functions for your audience:
- Engaging content
- Inspiring content
- Informational content
- Sales content
- Your Story-content
- Behind the scenes-content
Read more about types of content in the blog post ‘6 Types of Content that You Should Mix‘.
These different types help with engaging, informing and entertaining your audience so your brand can be noticed online. That is a lot of content to post with various forms and types. However, you don’t have to make it all yourself.
There are different kinds of content. “Kind” refers to how you got the content:
- Personal content – This is the content you made yourself.
- Curated content – This is content you find somewhere else that you like and want to share with your notes attached to it.
- Conversations – This, of course, is having a conversation with your audience (which ties back into ‘engaging content’ above).
Which means you can switch from a piece of personal content with a specific type and form to a piece of curated content with a different type and form and to another piece of content with, making it a lot easier for you to get all that content together.
Read more about Curated Content in the blog post “Curated Content: What is it and how do you find it?“
You don’t have to come up with all content yourself: You can curate content and have conversations with your audience.Natalie Vijlbrief – Digitalie
How do you know what to post?
So how do you decide what to post about? Well, I recommend having a strategy behind your content. Knowing what you post when and why will help you tremendously with knowing what to post.
Having a library of content that you can use will also mean you don’t have to come up with content on the spot. If you have to think of something right then and there it takes more time and energy and is a lot harder. It’s better to bulk create your content: take a few hours or even a whole day and create so much content you won’t need more for a while.
Last but not least, knowing what to post is about having a calendar, so you know you are mixing forms, kinds and types throughout your content.
Knowing what to post is all about having a strategy, a library and an organisationNatalie Vijlbrief – Digitalie
Create your content strategy
When you don’t have a plan, a content plan, behind what you do, you will make content willy nilly. That might work sometimes, but when you want to hit specific goals, it’s better to create a content strategy.
Your content plan will exist of your online marketing channels, the forms of content you will make, what you will use within each type of content, what kind of content you can curate and how potential customers will move through different layers.
You make this plan, keeping in mind your goals, your services/products and your audience. It’s best to have a content strategy within your broader (online) marketing plan, so it all works great together.
Read ‘Your Own Content Marketing Plan (in 5 easy steps)‘ to see how you can easily make a strategy that works for your content.
Organise your content
Once you have a strategy, you can start making content. You can come up with content per different content type. Some might be content you want to post on a specific moment or a particular day, others you can use when you want to, how you want to.
It’s a good idea to make sure you organise your content in a way that helps you select the right content when you need it. I use a Content Library for this.
The library will also keep track of any ideas of content you can make that you haven’t made yet. Moreover, you can track what content that you already made can be repurposed or just reposted.
Having a content library means you can track what content you have, what content you can make and what content you already made that can be repurposed or reposted.Natalie Vijlbrief – Digitalie
Coming up with informative expert content
Many times, people struggle with coming up with informative content. They feel they have nothing to say about their subject, or they feel like everyone already knows.
That is because you are an expert and to you, it’s all simple and clear. To most people, it is still a hot mess of information in their heads, or they haven’t got a clue at all about your expertise.
That is why writing out all of the tips and tricks you have is so important. Also, to break it up into small enough pieces so it can be used for making content. My technique the Content Tree can help you work out these pieces. You break down precisely what you know and how to keep it informative and comprehensible for people that are not an expert.
Plan your content
Once you have a strategy and a library of content, you can start planning and posting. A content calendar is great for that.
The purpose of the content calendar is to keep track of what gets posted when where.
You can also add extra information as:
- What status the content has before it’s ready to post
- What images/links will be shared
- What topic the content is about
- What call-to-action is in the content
You can, of course, always keep adding content to your library and calendar while you are planning and posting. And you should.
I love having all my content together into one content calendar, but you could also have specific content for social media or just for email. Your content calendar can be as sophisticated or simple as you want it to be.
How do I make a content calendar?
You can make a content calendar any way that you want. Popular tools involve task lists like Trello, Asana or ClickUp*, database systems like Excel or Airtable*, but it could also be done in Microsoft Word or Google Drive is that is what you prefer.
I have used Asana for a long time but use Airtable now. I have different tables for blogs, video, Facebook, Pinterest, etcetera – all channels. This way, I can connect various content forms, so I know how they connect or go together.
Asana can be useful because you can also make tasks out of it and see what needs to be written, designed or filmed, but to me, it got overwhelming in my ToDo list.
It all comes down to personal preference in the end, but I highly recommend having a system and sticking with it.
Different forms of content calendars
As I said, I prefer to have a content calendar that has it all myself. My content calendar has blogs, video, email, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, the works. You could also decide to make a specific calendar. The two most used are a social media calendar and blog calendar, but the email calendar is making it’s way up (again). All their names are quite self-explanatory, as they focus on that specific channel.
You can use whatever tool you want for your content calendar. It’s all about deciding on a system and sticking with it.Natalie Vijlbrief – Digitalie
Read more about Content Calendars in this blog post
How to post content
How to post content depends on the channel and form of content, but in general, you can always post natively, meaning you go to the channel at hand and publish the content through that channel.
You need to keep in mind copy, keywords, links, images, depending on the channel and form to post content engagingly and appealingly.
Different tools can help you post your content. Some are made for a specific channel while others work for multiple channels. Please do keep in mind that many channels will penalize your content and show it to fewer people if it has been posted through a third-party tool.
The ins and outs of content
That was a lot of information. Here is the summary:
- Content is all information you post online. It can be used to engage, inform or entertain.
- There are different forms, types and kinds of content.
- Have a strategy behind your content and your online marketing.
- Make a library of useful content you can post, so you are never without ideas.
- Have a calendar with your content planned out.
When you are wondering what to do now, here is where I would recommend you start:
Make a simple, easy to use, and understandable content plan so that you will start making the right content.
*Full Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and decide to buy/use the product I get a reward. This can be credits to the service or money in my account. You don’t pay any extra because of it. I only link to products I use(d) and love.
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