Who doesn’t want to avoid the stress of tight deadlines? Writing should be a positive experience, no matter the form, and a marketing content calendar is just the document to provide your marketing team with some peace of mind. In order to create an effective document, we must understand why we are doing content marketing, plan what and how we want to do, and then execute that plan with fidelity. The ultimate goal of any marketing tool is to increase conversion. In order to do that, we must understand our audience, which challenge we can help them overcome, and we must gain their trust by portraying our organization as one that is helpful and knowledgeable. Our writing must connect with our audience by addressing socially inspired ideas and offering top quality solutions and advice.
A well-crafted content calendar establishes an effective work flow that is task based and clearly outlines parties responsible for each step of the process. It provides one communication channel to help everyone understand the vision and know their role on the team. There are basic components of any content calendar (not just a list of titles and dates) but you should adapt the components to fit your organization.
In no particular order:
· Broad description
· Management process to include who is responsible for each step from creation to publishing to response
· Keywords – optimize for search
· Goal – what you plan to achieve
· Call to action, next step (theoretically related to the goal)
· Status reminder that this is a continuously changing document
· Channel or channels
· Buyer funnel stage – address all stages of the marketing funnel
When asked about format options for Internet posts, most people would provide a list of five to six types: blog, infographic, FAQs, Video, Webinar, and so on. Justin McGill, writing for hubspot.com, goes beyond the list of ordinary. Take a look at the infographic he posted with a list of potential formats:
Your marketing content calendar should be part of your overall marketing strategy and copacetic with/supporting of organizational goals. The entries in your calendar should be actionable and provide accountability. The calendar should detail every piece of content being managed in an at-a-glance format. And a top-quality calendar will be filterable for levels of details.
There are a number of things to consider as your team compiles the content calendar. Take into account internal and external events that may affect or influence content choices and audience actions/reactions – especially time sensitive content surrounding holidays, events, campaigns and product launches. Identify, know, and define the audience for each piece. Utilize your company’s buyer personas so you are speaking the customers’ language and keeping in mind what they need/want from your organization. Be purposeful with the language style and tone of voice used in each piece. You’ll also want to ensure that design styles follow any established branding guidelines.
Be realistic about publishing frequency given the size of your team and their time availability. Start slowly then try to build without losing quality. Avoid the feast or famine approach. Establish a regular cadence for each social channel and remember that consistency equals credibility. It also keeps content fresh and regularly appearing in readers’ feeds. Less time spent stress writing allows more time for analysis. Understand which content/style/format has performed well by tracking which postings receive the most likes, shares, comments, and views. Then capitalize on your previous models of success.
As you brainstorm content, remember to focus not only on specifics but also on the big picture. This is an opportunity to display the expertise of your company. A marketing content calendar allows you to systematically lay out the full story, identify themes and series of articles. As the team works, find areas for possible upgrades or content that offer an opportunity to follow-up with related material. The calendar also provides a record of past work that can be revisited to repurpose and reuse content. Something as simple as a change in format from infographic to article provides new material to post.
A marketing content calendar brings order to chaos, saving time, money and stress. It breaks down the writing and publishing process into manageable steps, creating a storyboard that is a single source for the status of content on all your marketing channels. If you find your team struggling for efficiency, it may be time to reevaluate and revamp your content calendar so that it continues to provide a clear framework. One of the best ways to grow your business is through content marketing so take control of your content strategy with a written, visual, shareable document that will allow you and your team to effectively and efficiently execute your content marketing plan.
Don't want to deal with making a content calendar yourself, pull one of your team members off of a current task or hire someone to manage and create your content? We can help. We have extensive experience planning and executing content in a variety of industries. Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your company's content strategy and other marketing needs.