NIHR ContentCal user guide
ContentCal is a content planning tool that is used to schedule NIHR campaigns, blogs, bulletins and social media posts for the corporate NIHR channels.
The information below is relevant to members of Coordinating Centre Communications and Business Development teams. It is intended as a starter guide for new users and covers the basics of the NIHR ContentCal set-up.
This is the page you will see on login and where you can access the NIHR calendars. Most calendars correspond to an NIHR audience stream. These streams are usually made up of multiple channels e.g. a Twitter channel and a LinkedIn channel. Some may also feature planning channels e.g. an audience specific blog. The Planning Calendar covers other channels such as the NIHR blog, bulletins and events.
In the top right corner you will see a useful link to what’s new and access to update your profile.
Tip: To avoid confusion and simplify your view it is recommended that you remove ‘My first calendar’.
Posting on ContentCal
It's recommended that you watch the following video before posting content. For most new users, we recommend watching from 0-45s, then skip to 1m 42s - 2m 06s, and then 4m 5s to the end. New social media group members should watch the whole video.
Click on the calendar name from the dashboard to access a calendar. You can also switch between calendars using the drop down at the top of each calendar.
Switch between a list, week or month view using the option on the top left. You can look at the forward schedule or previous posts and can filter using the option on the right, for example, if you want to see just your content that is currently in draft.
To view a post, click on the preview button (eye) on the top right of that post or on the right-hand menu when editing a post. This is useful if you want to test any URL that you've included.
Alongside the channel you want to post to, click on a blank day or below current posts to +New Post.
Once you have composed your post you can tick the box to send straight for approval if you are ready to do that or just click on the blue Add post button to save as a draft post. You can keep the post in draft mode until you’ve finalised it. For example, if you are waiting for a URL. The status of a post is indicated by the coloured bar above it e.g. blue for draft, black for published.
Once sent for approval, the post will then progress according to the posting workflow and be reviewed by an editor. If you have any queries you can see who the today's editor is in the notes field at the top of each day and contact them.
Note: Posts should be scheduled a day in advance.
If you have a number of similar posts to add you can click on ‘…More’ to duplicate your post and then customise the content. Here you’ll also have the option to delete your post.
Pinboard – this stores unscheduled draft posts waiting to be finalised. Bear in mind this is shared by all users so use it sparingly to avoid it getting crowded. If you compose a posts but don’t include a date and time on your post before you save it, this is where it will end up.
If you want the input of another ContentCal user you can add a comment and include the as an @mention which will send them an email notification with your comment. If there is anything you want to make the editor aware of this can also be included in the comments e.g. about content you are waiting on. They may also use this function to contact you if they have any queries.
To increase engagement on your post you can mention/tag another account. Note, in Twitter this is limited to three @mentions.
When you add a link to your post a link preview will be generated. The way these work in each social media platform varies. For example, in LinkedIn you will need to add (or check) your image in the link preview instead of using the Add media button.
Read ContentCal's guide to Link Previews.
Use this tab in relevant calendars to store "evergreen" posts that are finalised and can be shared by editors at any time, for example on days when there are few posts scheduled.
LinkedIn specific tips
Videos: To post a video to the LinkedIn page please draft the post, add a category tag (LinkedIn video) and contact the daily editor. Whilst we wait for this function to be added editors will post the video directly in LinkedIn for you.
Further guidance on social media posts
- Channel guidance (channel purpose, intended audiences and suggested content)
- Social media workflow (approval process and escalation procedures)
- Tone of voice guide
- Accessibility (including how to ensure this in ContentCal)
- Image sizes
- Social media templates (Canva)