Operating a childcare center is a full-time business that requires you to juggle many daily tasks. From keeping track of birthdays to ordering supplies, from interviewing new parents to compiling emergency contact numbers, chances are you probably already have a calendar in place to help you stay on track with all the chaos. But chances are you also haven’t created a content calendar for your marketing strategy. And if you haven’t, you may find that any marketing strategy will wind up being yet another factor in all the chaos of your daily operations.
Marketing tends to get put on the back burner when it comes to running a childcare center. After all, your chief priority is the well-being of your students. However, marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. It’s actually a vital part of your daily operations. Without a system in place to help you keep track of your efforts, you won’t be able to make sense of your efforts at all. They’ll simply be… well, chaos. If you’re wondering how to create a content calendar for your childcare center, here’s where to start.
What Is A Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a tool that helps you map both the planning and execution of your marketing strategy. Think of your marketing plans over a specific time frame — it could be two weeks, six months or a year. What’s the ideal time for you to start a full scale campaign? December, when your center is already full? Is it summer, during your slower season? Or maybe the holiday season? Think of a time frame that’s going to be most effective for you to attract new attendees, and create your content calendar around it. Simple as that.
Well not completely. In order for you to create an effective content calendar, you’re going to have to consider content first and foremost.
Your Content And Your Calendar
In order for you to create the most effective content calendar, you need to define which content takes priority. Content can be anything from social media posts to flyers to your own website. But defining priorities in content also means defining your own priorities. Think of what’s most important to you as a childcare professional. Is it your role as an educator? Attracting new enrollees? Giving back to your community? Whatever it is, consider what the effects of your marketing campaigns have been so far. What attracts the most attention? Whatever your success rate has been thus far, use it as the backbone when creating a content calendar.
What Sort Of Calendar Should I Use?
This largely depends on both your preference and the length of your marketing strategy. Creating a content calendar can be as simple as entering a reminder in Google Calendar or on a spreadsheet., You may even use a more intensive strategy by utilizing specialized tracking software. If you find that your greatest rate of success has been through social media, Buffer is an excellent resource that allows you to schedule posts from multiple networks on one convenient dashboard.
When Should I Plan My Content Calendar?
Generally speaking, the more you plan your content calendar in advance, the less you have to remind yourself of planning. At least one month ahead is a fairly reasonable amount time needed to start planning your campaign. But you may find that certain circumstances will have to take priority. Are you noticing an influx of new families moving into the neighborhood all of a sudden? That’s going to be a priority. Is there an Early Child Educators Day you didn’t know about? (If you’re in Australia, there is — it’s the first Wednesday in September.) That’s going to be a priority. Try not to plan too far ahead, unless there’s a consistent success rate for your marketing efforts each month. Circumstances will change, and you may find that the rush to make social media posts last year in March will be entirely irrelevant this year.
However, it’s not just enough to consider planning your content calendar for specific lengths of time. Consider who your target audience is. If you find that you have a lot of two-income families, it’s not advisable that you make a full-scale social media campaign centered around the early afternoon. Likewise, if you find your highest success rate has been in early February, you shouldn’t plan your calendar to target late August.
Holidays in particular are a great time to start your marketing engagement. Not only are more families at home with time to spare, but they also tend to be less rushed or consumed with their daily schedules. People can peruse your website or social media posts at their leisure. It’s also important to consider your own busy season. If you find yourself overwhelmed during September or October, you don’t want a barrage of new interest to add to your stress.In short, it’s your time as much as it is that of your daycare center. Plan ahead. But do so wisely.
Need more ideas on how to make the most of your childcare marketing strategy? We can help. Visit us today at Local Childcare Marketing.