In the summer months, I’m rarely in my office. I’m putting out fires, managing people, executing events, scheduling staff, visiting with golfers and mostly just juggling all the many tasks that make up the life of a
General Manager Wizard of Fun. All of those tasks are driven by my marketing and content calendar.
The marketing and content calendar is what drives my business. It’s what provides predictable income in a business that is often unpredictable.
I’ve noticed that if I don’t get my content calendar in place by end of January, it simply doesn’t get done. I get too busy and the planning never gets completed. It’s not to say that it can’t be done in February or even the first of March. It just seems like January was meant to be a planning month.
Because of that, I’m going to share my content calendar with you, so you can use it. (FYI. I plan to complete my marketing calendar in the next few weeks. I’ll share it, too. Both calendars work together.)
Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of my Content Calendar first.
I like to theme out my months. It makes it easier for my brain to come up with subject material. I don’t know why, it just does. My brain is weird?
It’s much easier to think of four weeks of material about Golf Tips than it is to try to come up with 12 months worth. By theming my months, I know I’m covering a wide variety of material that is appealing to many types of customers who come to the golf course. Although it’s typically a heavily golf centric calendar, I do provide information for the other types of people who walk through our doors.
My themes for 2017 are:
Jan: Golf Tips
Feb: Love of Golf
Mar: Marketing Calendar
Apr: Planning Grad Parties
May: Planning Golf Fundraisers
June: Featured Staff
July: Planning Your Fantasy League
Aug: Patriot Golf Day
Sept: Why Golf is Better Than Football
Oct: Completed Projects
Nov: Cyber Monday
Dec: Holiday & Gift Planning
I try to organize my themes around my Marketing Calendar. I haven’t completed my marketing calendar yet for this year, so these themes might change once I get it completed. This list is a good start.
I try to always have a month’s worth of posts, emails, and social media posts leading up to a big promotion. For example, Patriot Golf Day takes place in September, but all of the promotion for it takes place in August.
This is how the Marketing Calendar works with the Content Calendar. I typically have anywhere from 4-6 big promotions a year. That leaves another 6 months of the year where I just need to come up with “filler” content that my golfers might find useful.
Let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of the content organization.
The first section is where I put in my blog titles or at the very least something that will jog my memory on what I wanted to write about. I use Evernote on my phone and computer and keep a running “journal” of post ideas that I think might be interesting. I also have a swipe file of different blog posts that I like their overall subject matter and it might be something that would be interesting to cover the topic.
My swipe file consists of a spreadsheet where I put a link to a blog article that I like in one column and a category that it falls into another column.
All of those lists, spreadsheets and thoughts from Evernote get sorted out in January and put into categories, so I can see what types of things that I have available to write about. That is often times what dictates some of my themes.
I might notice that I have four ideas surrounding a certain subject, so I end up making that a theme for the month.
Last year, I fell off the blog writing band wagon. I didn’t have a good plan in place and I didn’t get many blog posts batched in the winter months because we opened the course in early February and stayed open until December (first time in 43 years). I gotta hang my head and simply say, I wasn’t very organized because that really caught me off guard.
In the winter, we typically do many projects around the place. Painting or staining, building improvements, or remodeling. There is always a big project that we tackle every winter. Anyway, we were busy painting and I didn’t batch my blog posts. We got three 70 degree weekends in February. Boom. Half a year zoomed by. Whomp. Whomp.
After I had such a disappointing year last year in my content organization, I was prompted to create this calendar. So far, it has been such a lifesaver to me. I use it for this website also and it has really helped me to stay focused and organized.
The next column is for your Email Subject. You should be emailing your list at least once a week.
In the last year, I have stopped trying to sound like a formal golf course in my email and I have had so much more success with open rates and engagement. It’s been great!
I now use email subject lines like “You’re Never Going to Believe This!” I get many more opens than when I used to write “Memorial Day Sale – Specials Inside.”
I write my emails like I’m talking to a friend and it makes the words flow much easier and they’re more enjoyable to read for the golfers, too. I get comments or replies after nearly every email I send with someone who says they enjoyed my anecdote or dumb story I have shared.
Just be yourself when you write. The golfers will respond to that casual method of writing. It’s easier to read and you are more likeable.
Each email should include:
- Link to Blog Entry with excerpt
- Upcoming Events
- Relatable Story
My next piece of Content is the Facebook Post. I have started using a company called Meet Edgar for my Facebook posts. I like them because they take the posts that were well liked and re-circulate them. Since not all of your posts are read by all of your golfers, this is a great way to automate this portion of the business.
In this column, I create the Facebook post that goes along with that week’s blog post. I create what I’m going to say and then link any image I’m going to use in this section. (In case you didn’t know, you can link documents and images from Google Drive when you’re using Google Sheets. It’s amazing!) These Facebook posts are loaded into the Facebook Scheduler. Check out my 30 Facebook Challenge for more details on how to schedule posts.
In addition this Facebook post, I also have my blog set to automatically send out a Facebook Post linking to the blog article when the blog post is scheduled. Huh? That didn’t make any sense. Let’s try again.
I use WordPress to blog. In WordPress, you can link your blog to your social media accounts. You can also schedule the time that you want your blog to post. This comes in really handy when you use the concept of batching. Batching is where you might write a months worth of blog posts in an hour or two. Then, they get scheduled out over the course of a month.
The more I can automate, the better off I am because it frees me up to do the things that I enjoy.
Freebie with Blog Post
This is a brand new feature that I’m adding to my golf course’s blog posts this year.
I’m going to include a worksheet or checklist with some of my blog posts. It won’t be appropriate for all of them, but it would definitely be something that would be valuable to the golfer on some of the topics. For the posts that I write about the Graduation Parties, I will be including a checklist to keep them organized.
One of my big motivators for including a freebie is the advantages that they have for Facebook ads. As I mentioned when I showed you how to install the Facebook Pixel, providing something that is free for your customers is the ideal way to market to them. I stumbled on this form of marketing last year and kind of bumbled around trying to make it work. As the year progressed, I found my groove and I had some great luck with some great freebies which I was able to use with Facebook Ads.
The cheapest type of Ad there is on Facebook is directing visitors to a blog post. The key is that when they sign up to get the Freebie, they have to fill out a form where they supply their name and email first. That makes it so that I can market to them more easily. I’ll have a post explaining this process in more detail in a few weeks.
There you have it. My Content Calendar.
Use My Content Calendar
If you’d like to use it, click HERE to grab it from my Google Drive.
Before you can save it, you’ll need to set up a google account if you don’t already have one. This spreadsheet was created using Google Sheets. No. I don’t have stock in Google, but I wish I did. I seriously love them.
Once you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll need to save it to your own Google Drive, so that you can edit the document to your content creation needs. I don’t allow editing on mine since it is a template. I like you, but not enough to allow you to change my template. It’s set to View Only.
Just click on File —->>> Make a Copy
That will send the document to your Google Drive which is where all of the magic happens.
If you haven’t already, you might consider downloading my toolbox. I use Google Drive for everything that involves my team. It’s where we all communicate and we’re able to edit and create documents as a team.
Let’s just say that I love Google Drive so much that if it had lips, I’d totally make out with it. Just don’t tell my husband. 😉