Content Marketing

Develop a Social Media Content Calendar For Google Sheets

CopyPress

Published: June 22, 2021 (Updated: May 10, 2022)

You probably already use spreadsheet tools for a variety of planning and tracking purposes for your marketing strategy. But have you ever used them to create calendars? Creating a social media content calendar in Google Sheets makes it easy to share, update, and use the tool for remote teams and those who work across different platforms. In this article, we’re covering topics like:

What Is a Social Media Content Calendar?

calendar with coffee mug on top on a white table, could be a social media content calendar from google sheets

Image via Unsplash by @esteejanssens

A social media content calendar is a digital document that organizes your publishing schedule for social media content. Each one may look different, based on your team’s expectations. Some look like traditional calendars you’d hang on a wall. Others look more like list planners. You can customize social media content calendars to find your own marketing strategy. Tailor them to the platforms you use, the types of content you share, and how often you post.

Why Build a Social Media Content Calendar?

Building a social media content calendar helps you stay organized to execute your strategy. There are other benefits to developing a calendar, especially one you build on your own. These perks include:

Filling in Publishing Gaps

It’s important to publish social media content consistently. This helps you stay present on your target audience’s timelines and feeds. “Consistent posting” may mean something different to every company, or even by channel. Some may post every day, while others post weekly. No matter how you do it, having a content calendar lets you see your upcoming posting plan. This visual representation lets you see where you may have content gaps.

If you find these gaps, you give yourself the opportunity and time to fill them. And CopyPress can help. Request your free content analysis report to see how your content compares to your top three competitors. Access a list of “low-hanging fruit” topics to become the focus of your pieces. These fill not just the gaps in your social media content calendar, but the ones in your overall content strategy.

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Planning for Important Dates

Let’s say you’ve been planning a webinar series for months, teasing it on all your channels. You have everything ready to launch. When the day comes, you expect sign-ups to roll in because people have been excited and are interacting with your hype campaign. But a few hours after registration goes live, you realize you never scheduled your promotional posts. You definitely don’t want to be that person.

With a content calendar, you don’t have to be. Having a calendar lets you see a coherent plan for everything you do, including long-term campaigns and event planning. The distinct elements in the calendar allow you to see what you’ve created and published, where it’s all shared, and what time it goes live. With a tool like this, you never have to worry if you’ve checked all your boxes. You can glance at the page and see for yourself.

Finding a Content Balance

You already know there are tons of different types of content to create and share to promote your brand. It’s best to have a balance of these things to capture different segments of your audience that prefer choices to experience your content. For example, you may write blog posts but also host a podcast.

While social media posts are their own type of content, they’re not the only things you can share on your platforms. Link out to existing content elsewhere around the internet, or encourage people to convert and sign up for direct marketing tools like email newsletters. Your content calendar lets you see this balance and when you’re posing on which channels. This helps you make sure you’re reaching the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Related: The Importance of a Content Calendar

Tracking Performance

Knowing what you’ve already posted and when helps you review data and analytics about your content performance. It gives you an easy way to go back and track the days and times different content published on your social media channels. This helps you track trends to let you know when you’re most likely to reach your audience with your content. This helps with other areas of your content marketing strategy, like learning when to send email correspondence, or when to publish new content on your website.

Why Develop Your Content Calendar in Google Sheets?

You have plenty of options for creating and using a content calendar. It may seem easiest to pay for a program or use a canned one from another service to take the guesswork out of the process. But there are drawbacks to using a program out of your control or comfort zone. Here are a few reasons to create your content calendar with Google Sheets:

It’s Free or Included With Your Plan

Whether you have a personal Google account or work on a business plan, you can use Google Sheets for free, or it comes standard with an enterprise plan. Either way, you don’t have to pay for another service or work with another customer support team in the event of an issue. Having a free service also lets you share, connect, and collaborate with new team members or people outside your business, like freelancers or vendors. All they need is a Google account.

It’s Easily Accessible

In addition to the web service, there’s also a Google Sheets app for all your devices. That means you can check, fix, and update the calendar from anywhere at any time. This is especially useful for remote team members or those who work out of the office regularly. Say, for example, some of your team members go to a conference or trade show and plan to create social media content while they’re there. Even if they can’t be in front of their laptops, they still have options to update and adjust the content calendar on their phones or tablets.

It’s Customizable

Whether you have minimal or expert proficiency with Google Sheets, anybody can make a template here. Some may be fancier and use formatting and formulas to look super professional. Others may be basic. The most important thing is that you get to decide which kind you want and how to lay it out. No matter how fancy it looks, the calendar still works the same.

It Includes Add-Ons

Google Sheets, like other Google programs, allows add-ons that make your experience using the program easier. Choose from free or paid add-ons that serve a lot of different functions. Some check your spelling and grammar, which can help you edit your post content before you share it with the world. Others help with organization or provide additional template choices right within the service.

It Lets You Collaborate With Team Members

When you create your content calendar in a program like Google Sheets, it makes it easy for all team members who need access to get it. You can watch updates and track changes in real-time, so you know what’s happening with every segment of the team. Using a program that lets you collaborate also makes it easier to assign tasks and catch any last-minute changes, mistakes, or gaps before your content goes live.

Elements To Include in a Social Media Content Calendar

There are pieces to consider when putting together your content calendar. Decide where you want to put them and how you want to structure them throughout your spreadsheet. They include:

  • Days of the week: The day your content should post
  • Dates: The calendar date on which your content should post
  • Times: The time of day your content should post
  • Content types: What type of post you’re sharing, such as an image, link, or repost
  • Channels: Which social media channel you’re sharing your content to
  • Post title or content: The keyword, topic, or content title for each post, or the actual text that goes with each post
  • Character count: For platforms like Twitter, where character count matters, include this section to make sure you’re not going over the allotted space
  • Creator or developer assignments: Team members’ responsibilities for creating, curating, or posting each item
  • Links: Any necessary content links to share
  • Images: Image types, subjects, or file locations for sharing each piece of content
  • Color coding: Set up a color-coding system to find the type of content you’re sharing and the channels you’re sharing them on easily
  • Status: The status of each post from idea, in progress, in review, scheduled, or posted

How To Create a Social Media Content Calendar for Google Sheets

Use these steps to create your own social media content calendar using the Google Sheets platform:

1. Sign in and Create a New Document

Log into your Google account and navigate to Sheets within the My Account menu. From the “Start a new spreadsheet” panel, select the “Blank” option. Click in the box that says “Untitled spreadsheet” to give your document a name. Make sure it’s something easily recognizable so your team members know what the document is when you share it with them or when they’re browsing for it in the shared folder. We recommend something like “Company Name¬†Social Media Content Calendar Date“.

2. Choose Your Layout

You can choose to create your content calendar by week, month, or year. The timeline you choose directly affects the layout and structure of the entire spreadsheet. For this tutorial, we’re creating our calendar by month. That reflects in the following steps. If you choose to do your calendar by week or year, you can adapt these steps to fit your timeline.

3. Design the Overview Page

screenshot of content calendar for google sheets overview page

It’s helpful to have an overview page at the beginning of your spreadsheet calendar document to share your color-coding key and any additional information a team member might need to work with or post content. Google Sheets calendars are customizable to your needs, so you can share as much or as little information on the overview page as necessary. Here, assign a color to each of your content types. You can also include resource links to places like your content repository, any image sources, and login information or social media handles for each platform.

4. Create Your Channel Sheets

To add a new sheet to your document, click the plus sign in the bottom left corner of the Sheets window. Name the sheet for each content channel, like Facebook or LinkedIn. This makes it easy to see exactly which channel page you’re in. After you set up the first one, you can duplicate it by right-clicking on the sheet name and selecting “Duplicate” from the menu.

5. Fill Out the Channel Sheets

Use these steps to fill out the channel sheets:

  1. In cell A1, add the words “Week 1”.
  2. In cells A2:A9, put the days of the week in order. You may choose to start with Sunday or Monday, depending on whether you want your calendar to read like a traditional week or a workweek.
  3. In cell B1, type the word “Date”.
  4. In cells B2:B9, put the dates that correspond with each day of the week. If you’re doing your calendar monthly, you can start on the first day of the month, even if it’s not the first day of the week.
  5. In cell C1, type the words “Scheduled Time”.
  6. In cell D1, type the word “Post”.
  7. In cell E1, type the words “Content Link”.
  8. In cell F1, type the word “Images”.
  9. In cell G1, type the words “Assigned To”.
  10. In cell H1, type the word “Status”.

You now have all your column headings and template fields for one week in your calendar. To add additional weeks to fill out the entire month, do the following:

  1. Copy cells A1, A2:A9, and B2:B9.
  2. Skip row 10 and paste the content into the sheet.
  3. Update cell A11 to read “Week 2”.
  4. Update the correct dates in column B.

You can repeat the copy and paste steps until you have enough rows for each day of the month. You may choose to add additional columns for more data, such as character count or story shares, depending on the channel sheet.

6. Format the Template

screenshot of a channel page for a google sheets social media content calendar

While the template you created works as it is, you may want to make it look more appealing for your team. Consider some of the following ways to format your template to make it more aesthetically pleasing:

  • Bolding and/or centering the column titles in row 1
  • Adding borders around the content in row 1
  • Changing the colors of the weekly headings by highlighting the row and selecting Format > Alternating colors from the toolbar
  • Changing the height and width of rows and columns to better fit the text
  • Turning on text wrapping by selecting Format > Wrapping > Wrap for specific cells, or the entire sheet

These aren’t the only options you have for formatting, but they are some easy ones that may make your spreadsheet look more professional and inviting.

7. Fill in Your Schedule and Share It

Once you finish the template, you can start filling in your social media calendar. You can also share the document with other people on your team by clicking the green “Share” button in the top right corner of the desktop window. Add people and groups by typing their email addresses or group names in the bar. You can change each group to have different access, such as:

  • Viewer: Allows users to see the spreadsheet only
  • Commenter: Allows users to leave comments but not change the fundamentals of the sheet
  • Editor: Allows users full access to edit and update the template

When sending the collaboration invite, you can add a message with more information, if necessary.

5 Social Media Content Calendar Templates for Google Search

If you’re not up to making your own Google Sheets social media content calendar template, there are other options. Some premade templates have different fields or layouts than the one we described. You can download and use them, then customize the premade templates to fit your own needs. Try one of these selections:

  1. 2022 Yearly Social Media Editorial Calendar by Google Sheet Geeks
  2. 2022 Monthly Social Media Editorial Calendar by Google Sheet Geeks
  3. Google Sheets Schedule Template Gallery
  4. HubSpot Free Editorial Calendar Templates
  5. Spreadsheet Point Google Sheets Content Calendar Template for 2022

A social media content calendar is only as good as the content you create to put inside. CopyPress helps you develop the best content marketing resources to attract your audience and make them excited about your brand. Ready to get started? Schedule your free introductory call today.

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