#TipTuesday: Creating and Leveraging an Effective Community Content Calendar

JSaghbini
JSaghbini HLV Staff
edited January 16 in Talk Community #1

At the beginning of the year, countless organizations set specific goals/metrics, outline projects they plan to complete, and develop key monthly or quarterly milestones to
ensure that they are successful.

When looking at your online community, it is critical to have an effective content calendar to make sure that you are continuing to prioritize content that resonates with your member base. An effective content calendar allows you to be tactical when it comes to ensuring you are continuing to put out content for your members to interact
with.

Developing a content calendar should never just fall on the shoulders of community managers, but it should be a collaborative exercise across multiple teams within your
organization (support, marketing, sales, implementation teams). This ensures that there is content that resonates with the various personas across your member base, but it can also provide cross organizational buy in for your online community. Furthermore, it allows alignment between organizational goals and goals that are being carried out by the community.

Below are a variety of example types of content that can be part of your content calendar strategy.

Types of content:

  1. Webinars and event recordings.
  2. Product updates.
  3. Tips and best practices.
  4. Sourcing member generated content.
  5. Thought leadership.
  6. Leveraging content already being generated and promoted on other channels.

Leveraging some type of tool to track your content calendar is important to help map out the timing of each content piece, but to also assign the respective owners (individuals and/or teams). Having a variety of members responsible for different content pieces helps spread out the overall workload assigned.

Below is a screenshot example of how we track one type of content piece (Vanilla Connect Sessions) for our own success community.

As you can see there are multiple fields that help keep it organized:

  1. Name - title of the session of content piece that is planned.
  2. Person/Persons - who is responsible or assigned to the content piece?
  3. Status - has it been completed or have communications been sent out around it?
  4. Date - when does it need to be delivered by. This also helps you visually see how many content pieces you have planned weekly, monthly or quarterly by filtering.
  5. Link - any relevant resource links or where the material is being worked on.

Content calendars will naturally change and evolve as the year goes on based on organizational initiatives and planning, but having a solid foundation at the beginning of the year will ensure that you are setup for success.

In a previous TipTuesday, we highlighted the value of surveying community members
to collect valuable insights around their community experience (see below)

Surveying members at the beginning of the year to get an understanding of last years
content and how it resonated with members, or even as a mid year exercise, can
help to ensure you are doubling down on what matters to your members most or making tactical pivots. It also lets your members feel that their needs in an online community are being heard.

Finally, performing an audit of content that resonated most with users in the previous year can help shape how you may modify your content calendar from past years. Viewing discussions with the most reactions, comments and views in HL Vanilla analytics is a great starting point for this.

We would love to hear from our fellow community members of how you effectively manage your content calendar and some best practices that could potentially assist other fellow community managers. In addition, have there been specific content types that you leverage most or that have resonated well with specific community member personas?

Happy TipTuesday Everyone! 😁

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Comments

  • Surveying members at the beginning of the year to get an understanding of last year's content and how it resonated with members, or even as a mid-year exercise, can help to ensure you are doubling down on what matters to your members most or making tactical pivots. It also lets your members feel that their needs in an online community are being heard.

    These bolded points cannot be emphasized enough! Listen and act on what your members tell you.

  • GingerAnderson
    GingerAnderson Vanilla Ice Cream

    We use Trello for our content calendar, and I love it. There are so many useful aspects to it — you can organize ideas, keep others in the loop, and set reminders/deadlines.

    In regards to content, in addition to the ideas above, I frequently look at which forum (help) posts are getting large number of views. This can indicate where I need to develop additional resources for our community.