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How to Build a Content Calendar You'll Actually Use + A Free Content Calendar Template

Here's how to build and manage a content calendar you'll actually use (plus a free content calendar template!)

7 Min.
A purple field with a green smiley face, a yellow indifferent face, and a red frowning face.

If you're anything like me, you start your year with the best intentions—"I'm going to post on Instagram every day!" only to have ~*work*~ and time-consuming tasks like ~*taxes*~ get in the way of your progress. That's why I've created a free content calendar template that you'll ACTUALLY use! But here's the thing about content calendars—they only work if you work them!

That means committing to creating content constantly, not getting hung up on your perfectionism, and dedicating time each day, week, and month to do the work.

Would you rather watch a video about this? I've made on here.

Download the Content Calendar

Your Guide to Starting a Content Calendar

1. Be real with yourself.

As a business owner, you're busy! You've got a million plates spinning at once, ideas and inspiration flood your brain constantly, and there's a societal pressure to continuously create. It's important to understand that brainstorming, creating, and posting content takes a lot of time and creative energy.

So be realistic and set goals that feel attainable. Rather than going from 0 posts per week to 5 posts per weeks, start with 2 or 3 posts a week. Set your expectations so you won't be disappointed or get discouraged. If you find you can't manage content creation yourself, it may be time to look to an expert!

2. Build the right systems.

A content calendar won't get you far if you don't have the systems and tools you need in place to support you. An effective content calendar means having the right reminders in place so you know when to post, and the right tools to help you create and schedule content in advance (more on that below).

3. Less is more.

When you're staring at a blank content calendar, you can easily get overwhelmed. Writing 30 days of creative captions and effective CTAs in one sitting is creatively exhausting. Rather than forcing the creativity, outline general ideas and topics in your content calendar, then fill in the blanks with exact language and calls to action closer to the time you post. This will help you stay present and post in the moment—when the creativity strikes!

A Day-by-Day Guide to Using a Content Calendar

The thing about this (and any!) content calendar is it's only going to work if you commit to using it. Here's what that looks like for me, considering I post 3-4 times a week. Keep in mind social media is meant to be just that—social!. This schedule doesn't include time you should spend engaging with other accounts and fans.

2 Hours Per Month

  • Outline your content ideas for the month head in the calendar and drop in any key dates like holidays you want to celebrate online.
  • Film any batch Reels and create any additional content you can. Save everything directly in your Instagram drafts and add the Reel description on your calendar so you know what to post, when.

30 Minutes Per Week

  • Use a platform like Planoly or Buffer to schedule your content for the following week. These are the tools that will make your life easier!
  • Set up tasks in your project management system (I like ClickUp!) to remind you to post anything you can't schedule in advance. You can also add reminders for your monthly, weekly, and daily content management tasks outlined in this blog.

10 Minutes Per Day

  • Check in on scheduled posts to make sure everything went smoothly and post anything you couldn't schedule ahead of time (i.e., Reels with audio). 
  • Share posts to stories to get more eyeballs.

Don't Know What To Post? 🤔 

I can help with that! I work with small business owners and founders to find their brand voice so they know what to post and where to post it.

To get started, send me a message.

Hey, I'm Jamie!

I want to help you see your business differently.

I believe when we see our business holistically, we can make smart decisions in the name of growth. I believe when we bring more of ourselves to our business, we attract brand super fans. I believe founders should (and can!) have more fun.

Let's re-discover your passion and define your brand's purpose...and have some fun along the way!

Jamie R. Cox | Brand Strategist

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