Managing content and the conversations around it have always been part of the PR job description. But today, there are many more communications vehicles, with advanced content marketing and management increasingly falling into the PR domain for many organizations. While there are some tools that simplify the end-to-end editorial and social media management process, they’re usually outside the budget range of Solo PR Pros and their clients. Having a repository of Conversation Calendar Templates can be enormously beneficial in meeting varied client needs.
While a separate Google Calendar is one option for planning, most clients feel more comfortable with an actual file to review. So once you’ve thought through your strategies, there are three calendar approaches I’ve found work best to manage updates in most client situations (note that these are separate from the blog editorial calendar process).
All of the calendar examples below use a separate worksheet for each month, with activities broken down by week, and you’ll customize the social networks/tactics based on each individual client (for example, some clients may have more emphasis on YouTube or Pinterest, others may not use LinkedIn).
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Social Media Calendar Examples
Social Media Icon Calendar
1. If you want something pretty to show a client that doesn’t have a ton of news/content, a calendar that includes colorful icons can be very well-received (click to view larger):
Topic-Driven Conversation Calendar
2. Another way to handle, especially if you have an organization with a steady stream of new assets and events, is to focus on the new items without detailing what needs to be said or covered on each social network or communications vehicle:
In this case, unless you have an additional scheduling calendar, you’re trusting the person in charge of each communications vehicle to express the information appropriately. So, if you handle all the communications and social media for a busy client and have a good level of trust with them, this can be a nice way to show what you’ll be promoting when (and/or for them to report to you what will be available), without having to detail each message in advance.
Highly Detailed Schedule
3. For clients with a heavy emphasis on social media, especially those who like to be hands-on in their review of how messages will be expressed, the following calendar works well:
By including all of your channels on the left and listing out each communication (with color coding), you can see at-a-glance everything planned for a given week, and adjust as needed. This calendar can be as general or as detailed as you need it to be (word-for-word tweets, for example), and can be customized for any number of assets.
Of course, all of these formats can be combined or used in tandem. You can also combine them with other tools such as Trello to have a visual snapshot and a manageable calendar. If you’re working collaboratively with a team, Google Docs (now Google Drive) remains one of the best tools for handling content management, since all of the above calendars can be placed online as a spreadsheet and edited by those with permission on a desktop or on the go.
As we know, scheduled updates don't negate the need for real-time engagement across social networks, but proper planning is a necessity to stay on top of the many communications vehicles at our disposal today. If you’ve used other methods with success (or if you have any lessons learned to share), please let us know in the comments!
Solo PR PRO Premium members have access to these templates and much more. See all the benefits (including access to customizable templates of all the calendars shown here) and join today: http://soloprpro.com/join/
Not a communications consultant? By popular demand, now you can get the templates, too! Save time and purchase a .zip file of these templates in Excel for a one-time fee of just $9. Click Here