Sticking to a consistent content schedule is just like seeing your New Year’s resolution through – you know it’s good for you, but it becomes harder the longer you try to do it. As many marketers will tell you, the best solution to this hurdle is to create a content calendar. Not only will a calendar help you post more regularly, but it will also assist you in maintaining the quality of your content.
Understanding content calendars
Successful content marketing can offer a lot of benefits for your brand, not the least of which are increases in your engagement and leads. For your content marketing campaign to succeed, you need to be able to regularly post content that users can engage and share with others. This is where a content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, comes in.
It’s a tool that marketers use to plan, organize, and schedule the content they want to publish in the future, usually within a year or any set period. The content in the calendar isn’t limited to just blog updates; the schedule may also contain social media posts and other marketing campaign elements and collaterals.
Yes – you need a content calendar
There are many benefits to gain from creating and following an editorial calendar:
- Post consistently. Creating and finding interesting content can be difficult, especially if your brand belongs to a very specific niche. A content calendar lets you plan and create the content you need ahead of time, allowing you to stay on top of your schedule.
- Stick to your objectives. When you’re scrambling for content to post, it’s easy to digress from your original goal. An editorial calendar gives you ample time to find content updates that are aligned with, and help you accomplish, your campaign objectives.
- Prevent half-baked content. Many users can sense when content is done in a hurry. By planning your posts ahead, you have enough time to create well-researched and high-quality content that users will love and respond positively to.
- Match content with your campaign. Some campaigns require specific types of content. A content calendar gives the time to determine and test which types of content work for your campaign and implement these accordingly.
Plan your content calendar in 7 easy ways
1. Use a guide
Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to do content calendars from scratch. You can find a huge variety of ready-made editorial calendar templates – both free and paid – online. These guides come with different features, too: some allow you to keep track of different content concepts and ideas, while others update you through automatic reminders. Using a guide will help you understand which data and elements you need to keep track of should you decide to make your own content calendar.
2. Establish your goals
A good content calendar is more than just a list of post titles and ideas. All of the content in the schedule must be set up with a specific benefit for your brand in mind. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your campaign. Do you want to increase engagement or would you rather enhance your conversion rates? Find an end point and determine how content can help you meet this goal.
3. Find the best topics and strategies
More than researching content titles, you need to come up with ideas on which types of content will help you accomplish your marketing goals.
- Do you want to increase your website traffic? How-to guides and listicles, especially those that touch your intended customers’ favorite subjects, are great for attracting visits.
- Do you want to generate leads? Create content that users can download after they provide their email address or telephone number.
- Do you want to boost your SEO? Post valuable, high-quality content that targets keywords related to your brand.
- Do you want to increase conversion? Create content, such as white papers, that talks about your products’ benefits. Webinars are also a great idea as they offer value while letting you sell your products to your audience.
- Do you want to increase brand visibility? Invest in content you can post on social media, especially where your intended customers are.
4. Get to know your audience using analytics
Creating content with little regard for your intended audience’s preferences is a waste of both time and money. Determine what your customers like by looking at your own social media, website, or e-commerce analytics. These data will give you insights into the kind of content that users respond more positively to.
5. Build a basic schedule
Create a timeline of blog posts and other content you’ll make within a given period or throughout the duration of your campaign. To maximize timeliness and relevance, take note of seasonal events and holidays and match your content to these. For example, it’s best to post about summer ideas from June to August and holiday sales from October to November.
6. Plot new content ideas
More heads are better than one when it comes to planning your content. Do not do everything alone. Educate your team on everything they need to know – your goals, timeline, resources, needs, and others – and assign specific responsibilities to everyone. Collaboration will ensure that you cover all bases and will help you come up with creative content ideas.
7. Keep track of your results
Just because you’re satisfied with your content calendar doesn’t mean you have to stop there. Throughout your campaign, make sure to monitor your content using analytics and optimize them better performance and ROI.
Consider different types of content
There are many types of content you can use for your campaign. Here are some great ideas to start with:
- How-tos. Give users a guide on how to solve common problems or perform certain processes, especially those related to your products.
- Interviews. Feature influencers, thought and industry leaders, and ordinary people whose stories your intended customers would like and be inspired by.
- Q&A. Take some of your audience’s most common questions and provide brief, easy-to-digest answers.
- Case studies. Discuss how one of your products or services benefited a client. Provide supporting data for greater credibility.
- Testimonials. Ask your satisfied customers to narrate why your product or service is good and what benefit they obtained from doing business with you.
- Demos. Give users a preview of your product or show them how it’s used. This is best done in video form.
- Quotes. Take inspiring quotes from thought or industry leaders and other notable people. These could be related to your brand or something to engage users with.
- Product reviews. Ask an influencer or some of your customers to review your product or service. Video reviews are very popular these days.
- Company news. Let your audience in on what’s happening in your company. These could be updates about your organization, new products, or future events, among others.
- Industry news. Update your customers on the latest news about your industry as a whole. You may give an overview of how the news affects your brand in the long run.
Content marketing is a long-term endeavor, with most campaigns lasting several months on average. Creating a content calendar will enable you to maintain the direction and momentum of your campaign and ensure that it is optimized to provide the best ROI for your brand.
What is the most important benefit of a content calendar to you? Tell us in the comments.
This post was written by Naida Alabata, a content marketing strategist for Startupcredo and an entrepreneur who continues to inspire and share her expertise in the marketing field, also in web design, business development thru writing.