The biggest struggle of every social media marketer is keeping organized when they have tons of content going out on a multitude of platforms in various formats.
It can get pretty confusing and overwhelming fast.
As a content marketing agency ourselves, we’re quite familiar with this less than glamorous side of social media marketing.
But fortunately, there’s one tool to save the day – Notion.
What is Notion?
Notion is one of the most popular productivity tools out there right now with a user base of over 4 million.
It’s an all-in-one solution for your workplace that combines all your everyday work apps with different functions into an integrated whole.
“Take notes in a meeting, share them with co-workers, assign tasks, create spreadsheets, and collaborate in real-time. All of this is possible with Notion.so. It’s a tool that is founded on the premise that users should be able to build whatever they need to when using it.”
What makes Notion really stand out from the rest is its incredible flexibility.
It can be used as a database, a task management tool, a content repository and more. You can easily set it up so it meets your personal requirements.
If you’re a content marketer, Notion is your one-stop solution for creating and managing highly visual content calendars that don’t have you hopping from one tool to another.
Why do you need a content calendar for social media?
According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 93% of B2B companies use content marketing, out of which 62% who have a documented strategy find the most success with their efforts.
Meanwhile, 83% of those who use content creation/calendaring/collaboration/workflow tools are most successful.
This goes to show the importance of documenting your content strategy and that’s why having a content calendar is necessary if you want your efforts to bear fruit.
After all, your content calendar is one of the most important documented pieces of your content marketing strategy.
It helps you plan out the content for all your platforms in one organized whole besides also helping you keep track of your progress and generate more ideas.
If you work in a team, a content calendar allows you to get insights from your teammates who have different creative roles so you can all pitch in and work together in a single workspace.
A content calendar also allows you to be consistent with your content marketing efforts. You can plan out topical content in advance, eliminating the last minute chaos of coming up with relevant pieces of content.
Many marketers use spreadsheets for creating and managing a content calendar, but there’s a more efficient way of doing it.
Why not use spreadsheets for creating a social media content calendar?
Spreadsheets work great if you are working with numbers, but when it comes to content for social media which contains elements like captions, images, videos, etc?
Spreadsheets are pretty limited in their capabilities.
Though they can help you track your content with ease, creating and most importantly, publishing that content through them is another story.
Besides, spreadsheets get slower and messier the more data you add to them. It becomes increasingly difficult to sort and manage when you have a large volume of data on it.
Another major drawback of using spreadsheets for your content calendar is that spreadsheets aren’t visual.
There are many tools out there that will make your content calendar actually look like a calendar so you can get a 30 thousand feet view of your work.
This allows you to get an overview of what you have planned and identify any gaps in your strategy – which is the whole point of having a content calendar.
A good content calendar tool is one which lets you strategize, create, publish, maintain and analyze everything in one place unlike Excel or Google sheets which barely cover two of these.
Notion lets you do all of these and more.
Why use Notion to create social media content calendars?
Something as dynamic and creative as social media content needs a platform that’s just as flexible. It needs to have functionalities that go beyond the standard to allow a truly cohesive working experience.
Thanks to its feature-rich interface, Notion allows the kind of freedom and flexibility that a content marketing team really needs.
With Notion you can:
- Build a single workspace for all your teammates so there’s better communication. Everyone can provide their inputs and feedback on different aspects of the content when they’re on the same page.
- Assign tasks to individual members and see their progress. You can make sure there are no roadblocks to the project completion this way and consistently produce content on time.
- Visualize all the content in blocks because content creation for multiple platforms without any visualization can leave you blind to weak spots in your strategy that will prevent you from meeting your goals.
- Store all your content in one place. No need to put external links to drive files containing the images and videos because all your content lives right on Notion.
- Schedule and publish your content straight from the tool itself so you can save time that would otherwise be wasted on moving the content from one place to another.
And so much more! The benefits of using Notion for your content marketing are endless, so let’s talk about what you need to know to get started right away.
Jargons you need to know about before creating a social media calendar on Notion
Notion’s entire framework is built around blocks. These blocks are standalone containers of information that can be freely moved around or turned into other types of blocks.
“Everything you see in Notion is a block. Text, images, lists, a row in a database, even pages themselves” – Notion
Think of them as LEGO pieces that you can put together however you want to create something new altogether.
Take the example in the image below, each paragraph here exists on its own as an individual block.
Blocks on Notion are categorized into six major types:
- Basic blocks – These include blocks that make up the groundwork of any project such as text, lists, quotes, bullets, headlings, pages etc.
- In-line blocks – These blocks aren’t technically blocks but they’re used for mentioning a person, reference pages, or setting reminders. There’s one in-line block for adding emojis too.
- Media – These blocks are used for adding images, audios, videos, files, etc to a page. You can also add codes and web bookmarks.
- Embeds – Notion allows you to directly embed content from more than 500 apps like Google Drive, Twitter, Github, Google Maps, Loom, Typeform, etc., using these blocks.
- Database – These blocks help you add a database in-line in the body of a page. You can use these blocks to add tables, boards, galleries, lists, and calendars. If you use the slash command followed by the full name of the database like List – Full Page, then you can create a new full page database as a sub-page.
- Advanced blocks – You can use these to add complex mathematical equations, breadcrumb menu of the page address, table of contents, and a template button for replicating any combination of blocks.
This is one of the main components of a block. It defines the basic attribute of a block.
For example, the “title” property allows you to put textual content like titles, paragraphs, lists, etc., whereas the “files & media” property allows you to upload images and documents to the block.
Properties allow you to sort and filter your blocks easily based on what you’re looking for. You can add multiple properties to a single block.
Properties on Notion are categorized into three major types:
a. Basic properties:-
- Name – Used to name each page.
- Select – Used to add customized tags to each project.
- Multi-select – Used for adding multiple attributes to a page.
- Person – Used to tag teammates to a project.
- Date – Used for setting deadlines.
b. Information properties:-
- Files & Media – Add files & media such as hero images directly to property.
- Text – Add summaries to pages using this property.
- Checkbox – Add checkboxes for different project steps.
- URL, Email, Phone – Useful for adding contacts of leads.
c. Advanced properties:-
- Relations – For connecting two databases together.
- Rollups – For aggregating data based on relations.
- Created time – For finding the time a page was created on.
- Created by – For finding out which team member created the page.
- Last edited time & by – For finding out which team member made the last edit and when.
- Formula – For adding formulas to run calculations.
3. Slash Command
The forward slash key “/” in Notion brings up a menu of blocks you can add to your page. You can use it to add, modify, or delete existing content as well.
For example, if you want to add an image, you can simply type “/image”.
4. Pages & Subpages
A page is the first step of creating any new project. It’s a blank canvas where you can put any type of content you want.
A subpage is a page that is created within an existing page since there are no folders in Notion.
For example, if you have a sub-page called “Cheesecakes” under a page “Desserts”, then it would look like this: Desserts / Cheesecakes
If you add another subpage called “Blueberry Cheesecake”, then it would look like: Desserts / Cheesecakes / Blueberry Cheesecake
In Notion, a database is a collection of pages organized in a single structure wherein every item is its own editable page and hence can be opened separately.
You can think of databases as filing cabinets or notebooks.
Mind -bogglingly, every database on Notion is also a page in itself, which allows it to be grouped under other databases. All databases on Notion exist in two formats – as a page or in-line on another page.
You can choose from six types of databases available on Notion: Table, board, list, calendar, gallery and timeline.
For Example, here Blueberry Cheesecake, Apple Tart and Lemon Pie are pages inside the database ‘Desserts’.
How to create a social media calendar on Notion?
Now that you know the basics of the most prominent features available on Notion, here’s a step-by-step process for creating a social media calendar that’ll keep you organized and on track towards your goals.
1. Create a ‘Board’ database
Click on ‘New Page’ and then from the ‘Database’ option, click on ‘Board’ to create a board type database where you can start adding content briefs for individual social media posts.
You can assign each card to the teammates who’ll be working on them, set deadlines and also check the status of the work as either ‘Not Started’, ‘In Progress’ or ‘Completed’. This helps you keep everyone in the loop and track the progress of the work.
You can simply drag and drop each card to change the status of its completion.
2. Add properties
For every card, add customized properties that will describe what it’s about at a glance. There is a good range of properties that you can choose from, so make sure to use ones that are really important for you.
Since you’re creating a social media calendar, here are some you definitely need:
- Use the property Date to set deadlines for the project’s completion. This will later help you sort your posts according to the deadlines.
- To specify the content bucket for each post, use the Multi-Select property to add categories.
- Mention the post type i.e., image, video, gif, etc using the Select property.
- Add a link to the design for the content piece using the URL property and use the Text property to add hashtags.
Using all of the above mentioned properties will help you see all the information about each post all at once when you use the ‘Table’ view.
If you want to learn more about the different properties, click here.
3. Customize your cards
Notion allows a good number of customizations for every card on your board. Click the ••• button to explore the different options you have. Here you can:
- Change font style, size and width
- Select which properties you want to show on your cards at a glance
- Choose whether your discussions are shown when the card is opened or not
- Choose how you want backlinks to be displayed
Now that you know how you can create a social media calendar on Notion, here’s a quick runthrough of three features that’ll help you make the most of this awesome tool.
- Grouping the cards on your board – You can group the cards on your board according to the different properties assigned to them as well as who the cards have been assigned to by clicking Group ->Group by on the top right corner of your board.
- View your board as a calendar – You can view the board you have created in different formats such as a table, timeline, list, calendar, and more by clicking on + Add a view under your board’s title which brings up your choices as well as an option to create a different viewing workflow altogether.
- Save your calendar as a template – Instead of creating a new social media calendar from scratch every time for your next projects, you can simply create a template for all future use by clicking the blue downward arrow next to New and clicking + New template.
You can go a step further with Notion by using it to actually publish your content to your social media channels as well. Here’s a great tutorial on how you can do it: Notion API: How to Schedule Social Media Posts with Notion for Free.
Social Media Content Calendar Templates for Notion
If creating a calendar yourself seems too daunting initially, then you can take inspiration from some of these brands and social media content creators who use Notion as well.
Though the basic structure of all the calendars is the same, each of them have added their own elements unique to their specific needs to make the most out of their calendar.
Here’s an example that comes straight from Notion. The board is being viewed in the Calendar workflow which gives a bird’s eye view of all the content for a specific selected period.
The property Select-> Type here mentions the type of content so it’s easier to distinguish what each post is about. The Select-> Status property has also been used to mention the progress status of the posts.
This calendar is available as a template on Notion itself and can be found in Templates-> Marketing.
GoSquared uses a simple calendar much like Notion’s example above with properties that show publishing dates so their team has easy access to all the information about the upcoming posts.
This helps them avoid overlapping posts on the same date and adjust their content during slow periods when they don’t have a lot of content prepared.
3. The Planning Panda
This is how the YouTuber known as ‘Panda’ makes their social media calendar on Notion. They use a Checkbox property to track the publishing status of each post. The ticked boxes denote posts that have already been published or scheduled to auto-publish.
They’ve also used a property to mention which platform each post will go on which helps them juggle posts for multiple social media platforms. For content that hasn’t been planned yet, they’ve put ‘X’ in the title for easy distinction.
Here are some of the custom properties they’ve used for their calendar which they’ve created using the Select property.
Backlinko has taken a different approach for their social media calendar by choosing to use a table format for viewing purposes which gives them a look at all the data on one screen so they can avoid overlaps and have a clear view of their marketing strategy for the next few months.
Every information they need is available here at a glance which makes keeping track of everything a breeze.
5. Axios Sports
Here’s how Sports Editor Kendall Baker from Axios Sports uses Notion to juggle more than ten stories every day. He has made the calendar more visual by adding relevant sports related emojis to the titles.
The properties mention what kind of post each page has. Weekly newsletters have been marked as ‘Recurring’ and events and specials have their own tags.
Kendall especially loves the fact that he can simply drag and drop stories from one day to another which helps him with quickly shuffle posts across different dates.
Where can you download Notion?
The good thing about Notion is that it’s not just limited to your browser. You can use it on your computer as well as on your smartphone.
You can download Notion from the links below to get started today.
For Mac and Windows
For iOS and Android
How much does Notion cost?
Notion currently has four different plans and pricing available:-
1. Personal – This plan is best suited for individuals.
Price – Free
- Unlimited pages & blocks
- Share with 5 guests
- Sync across devices, API
2. Personal Pro – Best suited for individuals who want more powerful features.
Price – $5/month; if you pay for a year then $4/month
- Everything in Personal, plus
- Unlimited file uploads
- Unlimited guests
- 30 day version history
3. Team – Best suited for small to mid-level businesses.
Price – $10/month, if you pay for a year then $8/month
- Everything in Pro, plus
- Unlimited team members
- Collaborative workspace
- Sharing permissions
- Admin tools
4. Enterprise – Best suited for enterprise level businesses who want more control and support.
Price – Sales team has to be contacted for a quote.
- Everything in Team, plus
- SAML SSO
- User provisioning (SCIM)
- Advanced security & controls
- Unlimited version history
- Dedicated success manager
- Custom contract
Notion alternatives for making a social media calendar
If you want a tool that’s specifically made for creating content calendars, then you would want to check out ContentCal.
With ContentCal you can plan, schedule, and publish posts to your social media platforms or your blogs.
It allows team collaboration as well.
If you want something simple yet effective for your social media calendar, then look no further than this.
Pricing: Starts at $17/month
Trello is a project management tool that allows you to create content calendars.
It has a simple interface and is good for collaborative work but unlike Notion, the free version for Trello is very limited in its features.
The free version allows you to create a calendar in a board view. If you want to switch to a calendar view creating social media calendars on it, you’ll need the premium version.
Here’s a complete guide to using Trello to create a content marketing calendar.
Pricing: Free and paid
This is another project management tool with a simple and visual interface that you can use to create social media calendars.
On it you can assign tasks to your teammates and track their progress. You can also see which team member is able to take on more tasks, which is quite a handy feature.
Monday also offers analytical capabilities for your projects so you can see how well you’re progressing.
Pricing: Starts at $8/month
This is majorly a scheduling tool for your social media posts but it also offers content calendar capabilities.
It has a visual interface and is quite easy to use.
You can also integrate it with Zapier, DropBox, Google Drive etc.
CoSchedule also comes with a free headline analyzer which is quite handy if you want suggestions to make your headlines better.
Pricing: $29/month for marketing calendar
Asana is an all-in-one project management tool with powerful collaboration capabilities and an intuitive interface.
You can create some great content calendars on this and manage plus track your progress effectively.
Pricing: Free and paid
Should you use Notion for your B2B business?
Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic and get leads and sales if you’re a B2B business. But content marketing without any proper planning, organization, and development is bound to fail.
A social media calendar can help you plan out your content strategy besides letting you visualize a month’s content at a glance so you can identify weak spots and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Having a calendar will also help you track the progress of your content marketing efforts by giving you data that is crucial to coming with different strategies for improvement.
Notion is one of the best calendaring tools in the market and comes with a powerful set of features that are quite flexible for any project management.
So if you’re looking for a calendaring tool that’s more than simply a calendar, you should definitely give it a shot and see whether it suits your needs.
In case you’ve been struggling with your social media marketing game and want experts to take over so you can focus on other aspects of your business, simply reach out to us at Contensify HQ and we can map out a winning social media strategy for your business.