Four Strategies to Build Your Digital Content Calendar - NDTC

Your political campaign may have a sizable social media following. And, you know how to create effective digital content. But, the real question is, How do you put it all together strategically? This is where your digital content calendar comes into play. 

A digital content calendar is used to plan, schedule, and organize content across social media platforms and other digital channels. This vital planning tool is key to maintaining audience engagement and voter support for a candidate.  

Content plays an important role in maintaining an organized digital campaign. Voters, donors, and other important stakeholders in your campaign. It can also include concrete calls-to-action for these groups to keep them engaged with the campaign. 

Here are four important tips for building an effective digital content calendar for your political campaign.

1. Plan Social Media Content Around Events

A candidate hosts and attends many events throughout a campaign. Events are great opportunities to articulate a candidate’s message and meet voters. They also provide a strong place to start when planning a digital media content calendar.

When using events for content, keep in mind specific milestones such as fundraising goals, volunteer recruitment, and candidate debates. Remember, you can turn any relevant activity surrounding the campaign into a milestone. Then, when you provide coverage of the event on your social media channels, it will excite supporters and engage voters in the digital space.

We recommend promoting large events, such as debates and fundraisers, at least two weeks before they occur. This timeline helps you build anticipation and awareness of the event. Consider these questions when creating content around events:

  • Are there opportunities for people to attend? Or will the event be virtual?
  • Can people watch on television? Will supporters be able to live stream the event online?
  • Are there opportunities for voters to participate? 
  • How can you use footage or photos of the event after it’s finished?
  • How can you use the issues discussed to engage the audience after the event?

When planning content around an event, keep the bigger picture in mind. Don’t focus on one event at a time. Incorporate other asks into the promotion of events. Consider what the campaign needs from its supporters in the coming weeks and months.

Use NDTC’s Content Building Template to help create your digital content!

2. Create Your Calendar’s Framework Early

Time flies during a campaign! As a result, planning the framework of your calendar a month in advance keeps you on track.

Building a digital content calendar early makes it more adaptable. Sometimes, an unforeseen event can make planned content untimely or inappropriate. Breaking news of a national crisis or natural disaster can make a fundraising ask seem insensitive or offensive. Having scheduled content that can be rearranged will help make surprise situations easier to manage. 

Your social media content calendar inevitably adapts and evolves over the course of a political campaign. We recommend drafting specific posts no more than two weeks in advance, as the outside world is always unpredictable. 

Take NDTC’s course “Planning Your Digital Content Calendar” to get our best practices for planning your social media content calendar.

3. Tailor Social Media Content for Multiple Audiences

Campaigns have various audiences. And, each audience deserves specific content types. For example, consider a large campaign event, such as a rally. For base supporters, you can create a Facebook event and encourage people to watch live. Plan several Twitter posts that follow your candidate’s stump speech to encourage the media to cover your candidate’s message. You could even live tweet the event to build interest, inspire conversation, and engage voters who may not be able to attend. Use Instagram to post photos and encourage further engagement with the campaign. This allows the campaign to reach different audiences on multiple platforms.  

Your digital operations must be planned strategically. Each social media post should be designed for a specific audience. In addition, integrate specific asks into your content to provide different ways for your audience to engage. Don’t make the same ask every time. Include a variety of asks over your schedule. This will ensure you avoid content fatigue and continuously fundraise and mobilize volunteers!

Once again, be sure to check out NDTC’s Content Building Template to help with this process!

4. Keep Your Content Calendar Updated

When creating a content calendar, communicate your needs and intentions for your digital operations. Maintaining cross-team communication is key to generating content and earning buy-in for your work. A digital staffer might create and manage the digital calendar by themselves, but other team members planning the events must communicate details to the digital team. As a result, it’s important to monitor the communications and operations calendar for events that might produce effective content.

For example, a candidate may be walking in a local parade. The photos from the parade should be added to the campaign website or Facebook page as soon as possible. At the same time, the candidate might be on the verge of an endorsement from a major union or organization involved with the parade. In this case,  be prepared to leverage this relationship to use this organization’s social media following to give the campaign a boost. 

Creating a digital campaign, and the content calendar in particular, is an ongoing process. Constantly look ahead and plan content accordingly. Always refine your digital strategy based on current events, community conversations, etc. During this time, your job is to assess what’s working for the campaign and what the audience is engaging with. 

Remember, you don’t have to create a content calendar from scratch! Check out NDTC’s Content Calendar Template, which will help you plan social media posts.

Start building your digital content calendar today with NDTC’s course, “Planning Your Digital Content Calendar.”

You’ll learn more about the many features and uses of a content calendar. The course also discusses how to plan content for an event, and expands on the best practices for creating a content calendar.

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