One thing always gets me excited during the holiday shopping season. No, it’s not all the Boxing Day deals out there, but the pop-up calendar store that always shows up in my local mall. (I’m sure they appear in yours as well.) I love looking through all the calendar formats, and pictures, and interests. I find it all intriguing.
What’s even more intriguing is that I don’t actually need a calendar every year. I’ve got the one on my smartphone, plus access to a whole bunch more online. Not to mention the free one my cell phone provider sends me, as well as the one available from my local pharmacy and grocery store.
It’s impressive that even with all these technology-based calendars available to me, I still like to look at and buy wall calendars. (And if I had more space on my desk, I’d buy a desk one too.) The pop-up calendar stores are proof of the fact that we all like them too.
Calendars are a simple framework to help us understand concepts
But it’s not just the fact that we like calendars, we use them to help place a framework around our world to understand it better. It’s what psychologists and academics call a “mental model”. That’s a framework that helps us define an abstract concept. For example, a calendar helps us visualize and understand the concept of time, while tabs in a web browser are easy to understand because we’ve seen them in real life and know what they are. Making those kinds of connections helps us understand new concepts or visuals.
Creating a content calendar reduces the amount of work we perceive with a content strategy, even if it truly is a lot of work. Picture this: A list of 60 items, outlining a blog post and two social media assets per week. That’s pretty daunting, right? Instead, if you see only three items per week in a calendar for 20 weeks, it doesn’t seem quite so bad. It’s only three items per week!
Lowering the perceived difficulty ensures that it gets done
It’s true! Remember my example of a 60-item list versus a calendar with three items per week for 20 weeks on it? Well, our behaviour is influenced by the ease (or difficulty) we perceive an action to be. Business executives call this a cost benefit analysis. Producing 60 items of content seems like a large mountain to complete, but writing a single post and two social media assets for that post each week is a much more manageable task — even if it takes us five months to do it all!
Super-charge your content creation
The best way to create a content creation framework that’s simple, to reduce the barriers to actually producing the content, and super-charge your content creation is simply by calling it by some other nam
e. Most marketing people (myself included) have been calling at editorial calendar, however by simply changing the name to a content calendar, you’ll find that your marketing teams are more open to the idea of using the calendar.
What I like about the term content calendar is that it removes the “difficulty” from the whole idea of the calendar. Some marketing people find the idea of an editorial calendar to be above their pay grade, or just too complicated for their needs, and in my opinion it’s simply because of the words being used. By changing that first word from “editorial” to “content”, you’ve suddenly removed the complexity from your creation activities, and can move forward more easily.
Real world example: Reminds me of the time when one of my high school English teachers renamed the annual public speaking competition (which I dreaded) to the “Give a talk in front of a bunch of people” activity. Simply by changing it from “public speaking” to “giving a talk”, he removed all the anxiety that I (and most of my classmates felt), and we were more free in the activity.
If you’ve been creating content for a while now, you’ll see that it’s time to get a little more disciplined in your activities. To experience the full benefits of a content calendar, and what it can do for your business, it’s time to get strategic with your content production. But don’t get caught up in the name. There’s more important things for you to be working on right? =)
This is Article #1 in a series on content calendars for B2B marketing. To read the second post, click here.