Most content calendars are bullshit.
A lot of these content calendars are stupid because they try to be useable for too broad an audience. The only reason I am writing this blog post is that I couldn’t find any free ones that were acceptable for my use. Most of them are half-baked attempts by local SEO agencies who try to trick pizza places into thinking they need thrice-weekly Instagram contests.
So this isn’t a content calendar for some budding social media manager who thinks hashtags matter, this is a content calendar for seasoned content creation veterans who want to capitalize on smart planning, not trying to chase trends.
The first thing we need to understand about this content calendar is that is relies on synergistic content. We don’t have any one-offs. Everything is connected to everything, and that’s how you create a dedicated audience who cares about what you have to say. It doesn’t all need to be connected in a narrative arc, but you need to give your viewers a reason to read your blog posts and your blog post readers a reason to watch your videos.
Because blog posts are the easiest to tweak after they’ve been published, have the widest possible search net, and allow for the fasted feedback on search ranking, those are the foundation of my content calendar. Because YouTube offers the best way to make money, hour for hour, this will be the second level of the content pyramid. And because social media is pretty much worthless in any industry that any random individual can make a concerted effort to get good at, it is the top of our pyramid.
Blog posts inspire videos, which link back to websites and social media. Social media is meant to keep people interested in between blog posts and videos, as well as direct people back to those blog posts and videos, although, in my experience, the main thing that a good social media or group provides is that continual interest, not any specific successful call to action.
If you are a business or service provider, this is probably going to change for you as lead generation becomes much more valuable and social media can provide that in ways that YouTube can’t, but since this is a calendar for content creators, I am going to stick with strategies that will earn money for those individuals putting out valuable information.
Boredom vs Order vs Chaos
There is a fine line between boredom and order. Boredom comes from absolute order, but order is necessary to keep your tribe of viewers organized in a helpful and profitable fashion. It should always be understood that profiting off providing valuable or helpful information is a virtuous act, and that there is nothing wrong with understand what you are doing in basic and blunt terms. So many in our generation have been brainwashed to find every instance of capitalism as a bad thing. We are capitalizing on our expertise in whatever field we choose to create content on, and that is good because the people who watch out videos wouldn’t have otherwise understood this information if we hadn’t.
Because order a necessary component for organization, but boredom is the result of too much order, we want to create loose thematic elements that keep people in the whirlpool but overwhelm them. I do this by making monthly umbrellas. Every month, I focus on several topics and figure out ways to relate them back to my umbrella topic. This is the first step in creating your content calendar.
Figure out 12 things that you can talk about that provide value to people in ways that allow them to provide value to others. Otherwise put, you want your themes to be both beneficial to your viewers and beneficial to the people your viewers impart them on. So, showing pictures of your feet is not a good theme because, while it does help your viewers achieve something, they cannot help anyone with what they have achieved. I am not saying that it’s a bad strategy for short-term profits, but only things that help others help others will have the long-term value we are looking for with out content.
Here is an example of how someone with a cooking youtube channel would create figure out the themes for each month:
Channel Type: Cooking
January: slow-cooker recipes
February: ways to save money
March: Meal-prepping on a budget
Three themes right there, easy enough! Slow-cooker recipes help people create because they are making food. Ways to save money helps people create because they have extra money. Meal-prepping on a budget helps people create because they have more money, they have an understanding of how to best utilize their time with your month-long series on slow-cooking, and now they can combine the past two months to have a compounding impact. Other three month examples could be:
Channel Type: DIY gardening
Jan: planing out your summer garden
Feb: finding the best deals on garden items, DIY gardening on a budget
Mar: tutorials on how to make the items discussed in the first two months
It really is that simple when you focus on providing value in ways that people can take your information and then, in turn, provide value to others In these two examples, it is probably people providing value to their family, but you could easily tweak the videos to show how to sell micro-greens at farmer’s markets, for example, boosting the overall value you are providing and opening up your channel to scale vertically.
Here are my first three months, this time with examples of the specific videos I will make:
Channel Type: Personal Finance/Side Hustle
Jan: Side-Hustle Apps (four videos ides could potentially be 1. $100/Day Side Hustle Apps, 2. Apps that Pay you To Take Pictures 3. How Much Money Can you Make Taking Surveys? 4. How Does SwagBucks Make Money?)
Feb: Part-Time Side Hustles Anyone Can Start (1. How to start reselling 2. how to start making money with online arbitrage 3. $100/Day Retail Arbitrage Secrets 4. Proven Items That sell on ebay)
March: Individual videos outlining the best strategies for the top-performing videos from those past two months. (1. Time-leveraged income for resellers 2. How to create passive income when you are self-employed 3. $1000/week Side Hustle Strategies 4. How to Figure Out What Retail Arbitrage Items Sell)
By planning my videos out like this, I can both keep a general narrative arc from month-to-month while re-using specific affiliate assets and driving traffic back to prior videos/blog posts.
While not something that fits into this plan, I also think it’s important to have personality based one-off videos that separate you from your competitors. On my channel, I do that by doing weekly livestreams as well as weekly interviews with interesting internet people. Livestreams might seem scary at first, but once you get your hands dirty and understand the basics of it, it becomes a very easy way to create unique content that offers the kind of insights a short 8:00 video simply cannot.
Now that we understand synergistic content theme cycles, we can delve deeper into an individual month. I will show you what my Jan 2021 content calendar looks like (for me, the month starts with the first Sunday).
How My Content Calendar Looks
If you want to download this template, I’ve got my free content creator content calendar here.
How can I do this in 25 hours a week? Only by synergistically matching blog posts to videos. The way I create my videos for this is by writing the blog post, then paraphrasing the blog posting in my video, using a talking head approach with graphics included on the screen. I am always tinkering with ways to make this more engaging and more efficient, but for now, that’s what I am at.
Tuesday and Thursday are my “days off” for this revenue stream. On these days, I work on other businesses I have- for me, this is reselling items and consulting. I love to resell stuff, so that probably isn’t ever going to go away. Consulting is used as a broad term for any time I get paid for my ideas. This can be ebooks, content websites, one-on-one coaching, whatever. My consulting business goes hand-in-hand with my YouTube business because oftentimes, I link to ebooks or courses I’ve created (which I consider consulting income) in my videos and blog posts. It is similar and arguably could be included on this calendar, but I don’t see any reason to make things more complicated than they need to be.
You can use this basic outline to include any platform, I just went ahead and used the ones that I think are best. Maybe Instagram really converts well for your jewelry business and you want to include new jewelry drops every Monday instead of a Facebook post. I don’t know for sure, but that sounds like a good enough idea to me. That’s kind of what I want to hit home on the most here- more important than the actual posts is the conceptual consistency within the posts and the width of the funnel you create by linking them all together, both thematically and literally.
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