So you’ve finally got all the pieces of your social-media campaign in place: blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Now what? You know how important consistency is when it comes to social-media platforms, but how can you maintain your campaign without sacrificing a large portion of your already limited time?

Well, you can improvise and try to come up with ideas day by day, but that would require too much brainpower and spontaneous creativity. And while you may be overflowing with creative energy, perhaps you just don’t want to reinvent the social-media wheel every day. That’s where an editorial calendar comes in handy. It will help you organize your social-media marketing campaign and keep you on track.

Here are three steps to get you started:

1. Select a master calendar. Before building an editorial calendar, you’ll need to acquire a master calendar. It should be simple, accessible and navigable. There are numerous calendar platforms to consider, such as Google Calendar, which can send reminders to your smart phone; calendars inside Microsoft Word and Outlook; and WordPress’s Editorial Calendar, which allows you to manage and edit blog posts directly from the program.

2. Articulate strategies and parameters. By developing a social-media and blog strategy, you and everyone associated with your content can be on the same page. You can achieve this by outlining some key factors, such as keywords and length requirements for SEO optimization, target audience and topic choice (to highlight your area of expertise but not for explicit prospecting).

3. Establish patterns and themes. You don’t want to get stuck sitting in the office at six on a Friday evening scraping for your next blog post. Instead, plan ahead by hammering out deadlines and publication dates, weekday or monthly themes (“Retirement Tuesday” or “April: Taxes,” for example), holidays, content types (how-to’s, case studies, opinion pieces, etc.).

Blogs and social media platforms are meant to be fun. Remember to enjoy the process and always ensure that your editorial calendar complies with your company’s social-media policy.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website at www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.