Creating a content calendar is hard work. In fact, if there’s one problem I hear over and over again from my clients, it’s a lack of time to get their content planned out.
Everybody is swamped and they have 101 things to do and countless fires to put out. So if that’s you, how do you find the time to create a content calendar?
You probably don’t want to hear this..
But the marketers who manage to plan out their content in advance don’t have more time than you do. And they’re not any less swamped than you are either.
These marketers have simply found creative ways to get their plan or calendar done – even with everything else they have to do.
Unless you MAKE time for planning, then nothing is going to happen.
So I’m going to give you some options you can use to make time to plan your content. And remember, every minute planning saves 10 minutes in execution. So this is time well spent!
5 options for finding time to create a content calendar
A word of caution before we start. You might think these 5 tips are too simple or obvious.
But that’s the point. It’s often the case that the most effective solutions are also the most obvious. There’s genius in simplicity. You don’t need some complex time management tool or fancy technique to finally find time to get this done. You have to make time.
With that said, here are 5 different ways that can help you squeeze in the time you need to finally outline that calendar:
1. Schedule a half day once a week for the next 2 weeks.
Can you take a half-day to create your plan? You should be aiming for 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time where you can focus completely on planning your content.
One tip here is to use Friday afternoon. Let’s face it, if you work Monday-Friday, then chances are that you’re probably not working very hard on a Friday afternoon anyway (or is that just me?). So you may as well use this time to your benefit and use it for planning the next few months of content. Do this on a Friday afternoon for two weeks and you’ll have a calendar ready to go.
2. Put the job in your calendar.
Again, this might sound too simple, but many people don’t bother to schedule their priorities. For me personally, if it’s not in my calendar then I’m not going to do it. Period.
So take 5 minutes and figure out the day and time you’re going to do this. And put it in your calendar. I use Google calendar, but use whatever system works for you.
One useful piece of advice I was given a while back was to use time-blocking. This is where you divide up your calendar into blocks dedicated to specific things. So for my own business for example, I block off the hours of 05:00 – 08:00 for marketing and writing. And then I block off 13:00 – 16:00 for client work. I’d also have specific blocks for exercise, relaxing, etc.
It’s a useful tool that can help you control your time.
3. Dedicate one whole weekend to get it done.
Yeah this one isn’t ideal – who wants to work on the weekends, right?
But here’s the thing: sometimes we’re putting out so many fires during the week, Saturdays and Sundays are the only times we have to get the important stuff done.
Someone told me this recently… they’re so swamped during the week, they have to wait until the weekend to tackle their priorities. And planning out your marketing content should be a top priority.
4. Do it early in the morning
This is my personal favourite. If something is a #1 priority for me, I get up a couple hours earlier in the morning – before I start work – and I get that #1 thing done before anything else.
I did this when I was working as a scientist full time and wanted to start this copywriting business on the side. I’d get up at 5AM (sometimes 4AM) and put 2-3 hours into my business before working my 9-5 science job. And I still do this today, where I focus on writing and marketing first thing in the morning, before moving onto client work.
So… if you’re struggling to find time to plan your content, maybe consider getting into the office an hour or two earlier in the mornings and doing it then.
5. Delegate it.
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just offload the entire thing. Give it to someone else. Once it’s off your plate, you can focus on other priorities.
And if you can’t delegate completely, can you get some help? Are there other people on your team you can bring in? Turn it into a game where the first person to get their calendar done gets a reward.
A content calendar helps you in several ways.
It can help you feel motivated, confident, and clear about moving forward. And it’s much easier to create content once you have it planned. It’s also easier to get buy-in from key people when you have a plan.
If you’re wondering which one of the above tips to start with, I’ve found the time-blocking strategy to be universally effective. This might mean putting everything else on hold for 3 hours so you can get your calendar finished.
Your next step:
For more information on my services, take a look here. I offer a full content planning and calendar service for science & technology marketers. You’ll get 3 months of content planned out in less than 3 hours. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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