Of course, we all hope that our communities will be filled with User Generated Content (USG) from the get-go, but more often than not you will need to post content and keep the activities going in the first 1 - 2 years of community building. You will have to gain people’s trust before they start working for you.
To ensure you have enough varied and diverse content to appeal to your target groups, it’s wise to set up a content calendar. There are plenty of free templates to create a content calendar online. We use an edited version of Hubspot’s template ourselves. A basic content calendar should contain:
- A monthly overview of the content you’re planning to post.
- An overview of how you’re going to share this content. Will you post it in a group or as a new topic? Or as an external blog with a link in a new topic? And will you share it on social media?
- Important national and international holidays and events, as well as events that are of importance to the group.
- Plans to ensure maximum engagement for community events.
- Plans for mass notifications or community emails. For example, you might want to send a weekly or monthly update to your community members).
- Anything else that needs planning ahead, things that you need to avoid overdoing or redoing, or need to take into account for your community.
Remember, just like your content and engagement strategies, the content calendar is a work in progress. The more active your community becomes, the less (or maybe even the more) content you will have to provide. It’s okay if parts of your content calendar don’t work for you (anymore), you can always adjust it to suit your (changed) needs.
Tip: Make sure you create content that is valuable to your community. As FeverBee explains in Chapter 3 from their book Buzzing Communities: the best content can be time-consuming to create without giving the results you were hoping for. One easy way to avoid this is by spending at least some of your time writing about your community:
- Showcase members
- Showcase member and community achievements
- Showcase community events
This is a great way to give back to your community, make people feel welcome and appreciated, and generate content all at the same time.