How to tackle editorial calendars when it’s just you

Ah, the world of content planning. In my experience, this is among the easiest places to get bogged down when you’re a one-person communications team. Unlike finite projects, such as an annual report or an event, your content and social media can feel like a bucket you will never, ever fill.

But, you determined solo communicator, you’re scrappy. You decide you’re going to go all out this month, try a bunch of new things, finally breathe life into all those ideas you have. You plan loads of content, build out a calendar chock-full of valuable resources and heartfelt stories. You’re going to grow every last follower list and get a 100% open rate and drive so much traffic to your site that it threatens to crash.

Then, your boss calls you in to tell you your development director has to go on medical leave, and you’ll be handling grant reports for the rest of the month.

Your beautiful (unrealistic, overambitious) social media calendar and all those good ideas languish. Even though you know that you’re only human, and you don’t always have control over your priorities, you can fall into the comparison trap that floods so many solo communicators with a looming sense of inferiority.

Because all around you are examples of amazing social media tactics and content strategies that seem exquisitely choreographed, clever as hell, and authentically engaging with an enthusiastic audience. You think, “What do they have that I don’t have? I’m creative. I’m authentic. I can do that. Why can’t I do that?

Well, guess what, sister, the thing they often have that you don’t have is a big team.

If you’re working solo, and your title is more like Everything Under the Sun Manager than Social Media Specialist, you don’t have 40 hours a week to devote to your content strategy.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, though. I, too, have been in this situation many times, both as a nonprofit communicator (slash grant writer slash you get the idea) and now as a solo entrepreneur. And what I’ve learned and developed is a content strategy system that takes into account the fluctuating resource of time each month.

In addition to building out content around events, themes and calls to action that you’re familiar with, this tool helps you differentiate and prioritize the core, I’m-too-busy-to-eat-lunch, lowest bar of what you can consistently produce to keep your stakeholders engaged from the “this would be awesome” extras that could elevate your strategies but won’t kill you if you don’t get to them.

The feeling of falling short of your big, ambitious editorial calendar is very similar to the anxiety and guilt of not wanting to look at your bank account when you know you haven’t stuck to your budget that month.

Having a truly executable plan will help you remain consistent–so you avoid the guilty feelings that come with the very public pendulum of going all out and then going dark.

You can do it, and I can help.

That’s right, friends: It’s time for another free worksheet. You can use it every month to help you set a realistic, workable editorial calendar for your small, mighty team that won’t grow cobwebs or loom over your shoulder like a broken New Year’s resolution reminding you of how you fell short.

The worksheet will be available on January 31st on my Free Resources page, but if you want it early, join the Collective Reach Community. You’ll snag the worksheet on January 22, giving you plenty of time to figure it out before February 1st rolls around. Sign up below, and I’ll see you in your inbox!

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