Planning The Year Ahead: event ideas for your social media posts (plus a free content calendar template)

One of the challenges for your social media is: what do I post?!  The simple answer is: content your target audience finds interesting and that helps build your brand values.


One unique way to do that is to leverage special dates during the year.  This in-depth post will give you event ideas for your content marketing. Magazine editors do this too – run timely articles that use ‘borrowed interest’.



What events are we talking about?


There are all the usual obvious dates in the year. You know, like Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day, that sort of thing.


But there are plenty of other dates too, many intriguing and interesting ones you could play with – to do something different and give your content marketing some character. (Did you know there was World Emoji Day for example?) 


Event ideas for content marketing Emoji Day

Yes, there is an Emoji Day! (On 17 July.) An event idea for content marketing? 


Yearly events and what to do with them


In this post I’ve put together the best of what happens in a year – to help give you ideas for posts to coincide with events. Have a look, there’s likely to be an event or a special day that’s both relevant to your work or to the interests of your target group. (Let’s face it, there’s pretty much a day for everything these days.)


Pick some relevant dates and create content around them. Then schedule that content to appear on the day. And then if it works well, do it again next year. Even five of these per year would add an interesting dimension to your overall content marketing. But you could do more. 


At the end of this post, there are some tips to help you pull it together – including a link to a free content calendar template.


Go one step further (plan your life)      


The other important thing you could (and should) be doing while you’re in planning mode is working out what’s happening in your life and in your business in the coming months. There are markers in the following list to help you do that too – plan for things like public holidays, school holidays, tax time etc.


Here’s all the stuff that happens in a year …


2018 (event ideas for content marketing)


1st – New Financial Year

1st – Dry July

5th – School term 2 ends (NSW)

7th – World Chocolate Day

14th – Bastille Day

17th – World Emoji Day

22nd – School Term 3 begins (NSW)

29th – National Tree Day*

30th – International Day of Friendship

31st – National Stepfamily Awareness Day


3rd – CafeSmart*

3rd – International Beer Day*

8th – International Cat Day

9th – Elvis Week*

12th – International Youth Day

12th – City to Surf Fun Run*

13th – Left Handers’ Day

18th – Children’s Book Week*

19th – World Humanitarian Day

19th – Sydney Tea Festival*

20th – Cupcake Day*

31st – Last day of Winter


1st – Spring Starts

2nd – Father’s Day*

5th – International Day of Charity

8th – International Literacy Day

13th – RUOK? Day*

17th – Australian Citizenship Day*

18th – Yom Kippur*

21st – International Day of Peace

27th – World Tourism Day

27th – School Term 3 ends (NSW)

29th – AFL Grand Final*

30th – NRL Grand Final*


1st – International Coffee Day

1st – International Day of Older Persons

2nd – Labour Day* (NSW, ACT)

5th – National Walk to Work Day*

7th – Daylight Savings starts* at 2am on first Sunday of month (wind clocks forward)

10th – World Mental Health Day

14th – School Term 4 begins (NSW)

17th – National Ride to Work Day*

18th – Sculpture By The Sea* (Sydney)

20th – Garage Sale Trail*

27th – World Audio Visual Day

31st – Halloween


All Month: Movember

5th – Guy Fawkes Night

6th – Melbourne Cup Day* (first Tuesday of the month)

7th – Diwali* (Hindu festival of lights)

11th – Remembrance Day

13th – World Kindness Day

16th – World Philosophy Day

20th – Universal Children’s Day

21st – World Television Day

22nd – Thanksgiving*

23rd – Black Friday Sales*

24th – Small Business Saturday*

26th – Cyber Monday Sales*

25th – White Ribbon Day*

30th – Last day of Spring


1st – Summer Starts

2nd – Hanukkah*  

5th – International Volunteer Day

10th – Human Rights Day

19th –  School Term 4 ends (NSW)

22nd – Summer Solstice*

24th – Christmas Eve

25th – Christmas Day

26th – Boxing Day

31st – New Year’s Eve


2019 (event ideas for content marketing)


1st – New Year’s Day

26th – Australia Day

28th – Australia Day Holiday*

29th – School Term 1 begins (NSW)


All month: Febfast (Pause for a Cause)

2nd – Groundhog Day

5th – Chinese New Year*

13th – World Radio Day

14th – Valentine’s Day

21st – International Mother Language Day

29th – Last day of Summer*


1st – Autumn begins

3rd – Clean Up Australia Day*

5th – Sydney Mardi Gras*

8th – Womadelaide

8th – International Women’s Day

17th – St Patrick’s Day*

20th – International Day of Happiness

21st – World Poetry Day

21st – Harmony Day

21st – Holi (Hindu festival of colours)

30th – Earth Hour*


1st – April Fools Day

7th – Daylight Savings ends at 2am on first Sunday of month* (wind clocks back)

12th – NSW School Term 1 ends

12th – Royal Easter Show (Sydney) starts

19th – Good Friday*

21st – Easter Sunday*

21st – World Creativity and Innovation Day

22nd – Earth Day

23rd – World Book Day

25th – ANZAC Day

29th – School Term 2 begins (NSW)

29th – Screen Free Week

29th – Sydney Writers Festival starts

30th – International Jazz Day


4th – Star Wars Day (may the 4th be with you)

12th – Mother’s Day*

15th – International Day of Families

23rd – Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

26th – National Sorry Day

27th – Reconciliation Week*

TBC – Vivid Sydney*

31st – Last day of Autumn


1st – Winter begins / ski season opens

1st – Global Day of Parents

4th – Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)*

5th – Sydney Film Festival starts

5th – World Environment Day

8th – World Oceans Day

10th – Queen’s Birthday Holiday* (NSW)

20th – World Refugee Day

21st – International Surfing Day*

21st – International Day of Yoga

21st – World Music Day

22nd – Winter Solstice*

27th – International Small Business Day

30th – Social Media Day

30th – End of Financial Year


Event ideas for content marketing Womens Day

Build brand values into posts. A fashion company does here with International Womens Day.


Will these dates be the same in future years?  

Surprisingly, a lot of the events listed will be on the same date each year. The events marked with an * (asterix) are ones likely to be held on a different date in coming years (although probably around the same period.) If you’re going to use any of these events in your content, you should double check the dates and the links.  


Holiday dates do change of course, especially school holidays. In New South Wales, to check the dates of holidays, go to NSW Public Holidays. And to find school holiday dates, go to NSW Government School Terms. If you’re elsewhere in Australia, to check dates of holidays, go to Australian Public Holidays. And to check dates of school holidays, go to Australian School Terms.


But wait, there’s more …

Got a sneaking suspicion there’s something you haven’t seen in our list? You can dig even further through these ‘Special Dates and Events’ via the Australian Government and these ‘Festivals and Events’ courtesy of Tourism Australia, if you’re keen.


If you’re really into whacky dates, this is the definitive source: ‘Chase’s Calendar of Events’. Or search online ‘offbeat holiday’ with the month you’re in. Or google ‘world’s weirdest holidays’ or ‘national today’. You’ll unearth even more.


What else is happening in your business?  

Back to reality. It’s a good idea to factor into your planning important events and deadlines specifically related to your business. Check out the list below and see which of these event types are relevant and important.


Apart from the need to get ready for these things, you may also be able to build content around them and make a few of them part of your content plan.  


Some of those business type dates include:

– anniversaries

– birthdays (personal and staff) 

– peak seasons 

– stocktakes 

– launches 

– major promotional campaigns

– email campaigns

– blog posts

– tax return lodgement

– BAS (gst) lodgement dates (28/7/18, 28/10/18, 28/2/19, 28/4/19) 

– awards 

– trade fairs

– conferences 


Events in content marketing

Pat Flynn and your author at the Problogger Conference. (You can post timely ‘business’ events too.)


What to do with all these dates?   

That’s a heap of dates Phil you’re probably thinking. So now what? First, pick up a pen and go through a hard copy of the list above. Circle the events that are relevant. You might then write some rough ideas for content to go with them.

Next, you’ll need to find a strong visual to go with each key date you’re thinking to include in your content / social media marketing plan.


Where do you get good visuals?  

There are a few places to find the right pic. You may have a strong relevant photo already in your own photo library. Or you could create a pic for it. If you’re just posting in Instagram, you might ask if you can regram someone else’s relevant pic. (If you ask and they are ok about it, make sure you give them a mention and credit when you post.)  Or you could search a decent stock library like Unsplash (for a high-quality photo you can use for free.) 

Event ideas for content marketing - Yoga Day

One for your content plan, if International Yoga Day is relevant. (Pic by Matthew Kane on Unsplash.)


Plan it out in a content calendar

Once you’ve got a better idea of which dates you can post against, add in the other content that’s going into your content plan. The idea is to map out what you’re doing over time. This ‘content calendar’ will help you see everything in one place and think strategically about your content marketing. Publishers use editorial calendars in this way – to plan what they’re doing for the year. You can see the overall calendar for magazines in their media kits. 

Editorial content calendar

Snapshot of an editorial content calendar

The next stage is to put the dates and details into a spreadsheet. 


Tools for content planning 

Are there tools to help you do this plan? Yes! Google Sheets is the one I use. It’s free and in the cloud, so if you’re working in a team it means you can collaborate on the one document. Alternatively, you could use an Excel or Numbers spreadsheet. If you’ve got a lot of content you may want to use a dedicated planning and workflow platform like Airtable or Trello


Better still, I have a free, pre-prepared Google Sheet template for you … 


Grab your free content calendar template!

Yearly content marketing calendar template

Your blank content marketing calendar ready to go …  

Click on this link to find your free yearly content calendar template in Google Sheets

(Note that if you’re doing this in a team, you could expand the sheet and add additional columns for things like who’s working on each item and status of the work in progress.) 


Planning for Instagram

If Instagram is your main social media platform, there are apps that enable you to visually map out photos – so you can see what they’ll look like on your Instagram profile once they’re all posted. They include Planoly and Plann. The scheduling tool Later does it too. When you use Instagram, don’t forget to add hashtags. If you want to learn more about them, this Guide to Instagram Hashtags will help.  


How often should you do your content planning?

I normally plan content quarterly. So I’m working in reasonable detail for 3 months ahead. Though I also have a rough plan (with key dates) for the year.


A helpful tool to plan the big picture  

Whilst I use Google Sheets for setting up my content marketing plan, I also use Google Calendar for planning my businesses and life more broadly. It includes when I’ll sit down to write the content, when I’ll work on the different businesses I run, family commitments and appointments. Life’s a juggling act and Google Calendar will help you balance it.

Plan work and life in Google calendar

You can plan work and life in Google calendar


Final tip (one for the road)

Grab a good coffee, block a few hours, and find somewhere quiet to think. It’s strangely enjoyable this planning thing. It’ll give you structure and a road map. That’s the obvious immediate benefit. But it’ll also help you get more done, achieve your goals and feel more under control. Happy planning! 


Content marketing ideas planning

Plan the work. Then work the plan. (Pic by Hannah Olinger via Unsplash.)


Have I missed an important date? Got tips on posting content around dates or on how to plan your work? Let us know in the comments.


There’s more to content marketing of course than just leveraging events and dates. To get a fuller picture, check out our series of posts on Content Marketing For Beginners

Content marketing for beginners: how and why it works

People have been getting pretty tired of marketing messages being ‘pushed’ on them for some time. Now with the internet they are really over it. No one wants to click on your banner ad. Fewer people are opening your emails. And pop-up ads drive us nuts.

There is another way though. And that’s to get your head around how this new media really works, and work with it. The video here provides a great intro to how you can make a mark on the internet.

Instead of interrupting people with your message, what you need to do is give them something so good they not only thank you for it, the reaction you get is: “wow that’s amazing, I have to share this.” So they go on Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin or Pinterest and pass it onto their friends.

Think about it: people are on the internet to discover things, communicate with their friends and represent to the world who they are. You can create ‘content’ that can help them with that.

Don’t think of the internet as another way of advertising. Instead put material on the internet that’s interesting, useful, insightful, inspiring, enlightening, unusual and maybe even educational.

This kind of marketing has been called many things, but the name you no doubt have heard (and will hear more of) is “content marketing”.

Simply put, content marketing is about creating material your audience enjoys paying attention to, that they want to share, and that demonstrates you’d be a good person to do business with.

This post is the first in our series of posts on content marketing. In the posts to come we’ll get stuck into how to do it.

Have another look at the video in this post. If you can really do what it suggests i.e. switch people’s thinking you’ll be onto something that’ll go gangbusters on the internet. In the posts to come we’ll also look more closely at the secret sauce that goes beyond ‘the how’ to supercharge engagement with your audience – understanding ‘the why’ of content marketing.

Useful links:
Our series of posts on content marketing
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing

What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know …

By Phil Stubbs

How to win at content marketing: tell a compelling story

How do you breakthrough when everyone has cottoned on to the idea of content marketing?

Tell your audience a story. People love stories. One that’s unique and from the heart of the business.

The video here is about a business that’s in the business of telling stories. It explains how finding and telling your unique story can work …

How do you find your story? You need to dig and ask the right questions.

Ask yourself what’s the idea behind your business? What’s ‘the why’: why are you doing it? Dig deep: what brought you to the point of starting it?

Now put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What is it you do that rings true for them. How are you making their lives better? What brings value to their lives?

There’s truth and power in the answers to these questions.

If you tell a compelling story based on a fundamental truth you have a better chance of your audience engaging with you. If they see the value in your idea they’ll begin to participate.

If you really are doing something that’s making people’s lives better they’ll adopt it to be part of their own story. And they’ll share it so it’s part of their communities.

This is the art of good content marketing.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources – yours for free:
Our series of posts on content marketing
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing
Videos on storytelling

Have your own ideas about content marketing? Leave a comment below.

By Phil Stubbs

Content marketing elements table

The elements of content marketing

New to content marketing? We’ve broken it down to its component parts:
– the types of content
– the formats of content
– where you can distribute content
– the triggers that encourage folks to share your content
– a checklist of essentials before you publish
– your objectives and how you measure your content marketing

Thanks to Econsultancy for a living example of content marketing. They’ve visualised the parts in this ‘periodic table’.

Read on to find out what all this means in lay terms.

Types of content
These are all different approaches you can take to creating content. Different angles if you like:
– how to’s
– reviews
– interviews
– beginner’s guide
– ask the experts
– Q&A
– compilation
– best practice
– case study
– research findings
– trends
– opinion piece
– vision for niche
– biggest tip
– inspiration
– quote
– product demo
– mindmap
– template
– checklist
– timesaving tips

Formats of content
You can package your ideas in different forms:
– video
– article
– blog post
– image
– infographic
– visualisation
– slideshow
– ebook
– webinar
– elearning
– event
– game
– app
– tool

Distribution / sharing platforms
There’s many ways you can get your content out there:
– website
– email
– blog
– forums
– Facebook
– Linkedin
– Twitter
– YouTube
– Google+
– Pinterest
– Instagram
– Slideshare
– partner sites
– traditional media
– traditional advertising

Sharing triggers
As you’re creating your content it’ll help you to keep in mind the triggers that will spur people to share it. Reasons vary. It can be they find the content:
– funny
– moving
– controversial
– unbelievable
– illuminating
– uplifting
– charming
– cool
– cute
– sexy
– shocking
– disgusting

Often it’s tapping into very essential human qualities that are the source of people’s urge to share. More in this post on the humanity of social media sharing.

Before you put your content out there make sure the work is:
– search optimised
– headline optimised
– device optimised
– copy edited and crafted
– used plain English
– used appropriate tone of voice
– credited sources
– checked facts
– sorted formatting
– fits brand guidelines
– included a call to action
– invited feedback

You should of course track how your content has performed – against these kinds of objectives:
– traffic
– leads
– branding
– sales
– search position
– members
– shares
– engagement

OK it’s a bit dry all this component stuff. What it does though is lay the foundation for all the different ways you can do content marketing.

Our series of posts on content marketing will help you dive deeper – into the stuff that’ll set you apart, that’ll engage your audience and get your content marketing to touch some deeper nerves.

You can also find more via our collection of free learning resources:
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing

Have we forgotten anything? Let us know in the comments below …

by Phil Stubbs

How to succeed online: 50 classic cliches that actually work

Success online tips adviceI recently went to the Problogger conference and heard some of the world’s leading bloggers explain their success.

The concepts really weren’t rocket science. But the same things kept coming up over and over. Which got me thinking – on face value they may sound obvious, but something’s going on if the leaders are saying the same thing.

So I’ve collated the best of the oft-repeated tips – to remind myself for my own work and to help you with yours.

There’s some clear camps they seemed to fall into – which you can see in the headings below:

Find Your Purpose
1. what’s your why
2. be your authentic self
3. dare to dream
4. think big
5. have a vision (of where you want to be in 5 years)
6. do something meaningful
7. what’s your mission?
8. what do you need to give the world? (what’s your calling?)
9. what do you want to be known for?
10. do what you love, it won’t feel like work

Create Great Content
11. solve your audience’s problems
12. what are their burning fears?
13. what are their hopes and struggles?
14. inspire people
15. attract attention
16. tell a story
17. add value
18. be generous
19. reveal secrets
20. be useful

Connect With Your Audience
21. learn to listen
22. what is your audience interested in?
23. where are they hanging out?
24. how can you transform their lives?
25. help them
26. pay it forward
27. tell your story
28. respond and engage
29. get them to know, like and trust you
30. word of mouth works

Think Success
31. don’t fear failure
32. look at failure as feedback
33. make the most of opportunities
34. learn from others doing it well
35. don’t compare yourself
36. get creative with what you’ve got
37. try things
38. do more of the things that work and drop the things that don’t
39. do what you do well
40. think long term

Get Things Done
41. know your goals
42. break it down (into the steps that’ll get you there)
43. take imperfect action toward your goals
44. give yourself a deadline
45. plan your day (and week)
46. prioritise
47. learn to say no
48. outsource
49. focus
50. take time out (to look after yourself)

Bonus tip
51. It’s ok to be an introvert.
(This one came up many times at the conference. A good one for me. You too?)

All these tips are well and good, but at the end of the day you’ve got to get in there and do the work. This was the thing I kept thinking to myself throughout the conference. So one last cliche from me (one I’ve borrowed from my mum who used on me a lot): For goodness sake Philip, just get on with it!

If you have any other advice, I’d love to hear it. You’re welcome to share them in the comments.

Something else I got from the conference was thinking on how to present. I’ve distilled it into some simple tips on how to do a presentation well.