Previously I talked about how a simple shift in vocabulary can open up new avenues of creativity for you, and unburden your marketing staff from the complexity that the term editorial calendar brings. After making the shift in terms, it’s time to start using them in your marketing programs.
Why content calendars are useful
Most marketing professionals use some sort of calendar to ensure that their content rolls out to their audience on a regular basis. Regardless if you’re a marketing team of one, or a member of a global team, having a content calendar is beneficial to your organization. Here are three reasons why.
1. The 10,000 foot view helps you see it all
A content calendar gives you a different perspective on your content — both in the way you see it and think about it. Once you see it all laid out for you, all the articles, blog posts, social media assets, images, videos, you can’t help but see the Big Picture. Being knee-deep in the content itself can make you lose your way, and you miss out on opportunities. Schedule regular reviews of the entire calendar, and refocus your activities as necessary.
2. Be prepared for key events and dates
A content calendar helps you avoid the embarrassment of missing a key event or launch, since you’ll have already accounted for it on your calendar in one of your regular reviews. Right? *wink* Know when all the important dates and events are for your organization so you can organize your content around it. If large global brands that we know and love can do it, so can you.
3. Let your writers plan their time
We’re all busy marketers, so finding time to create all the content you’re publishing may be tricky. Especially if you’re relying on a number of people for content that aren’t solely dedicated to content creation. They may continually put off their creation time, leaving you with nothing to publish. A content calendar helps everyone schedule their time, and depending on the planning tool you’re using, it might even send out reminders to them in a timely fashion. From a marketing perspective, this is important for consistency and helps build authority and expertise.
How deep should your calendar go? Quarterly? Monthly? Weekly?
The short answer is Yes, simply because any content calendar is better than none at all. That said, it really does depend on your particular organization. There’s no right or wrong way to build one.
Let me repeat that:
There is no right or wrong way to build a content calendar.
Generally speaking, here’s the process to use when building your content calendar:
Phase 1: Determine your audience
Phase 2: Determine your content types
Based on your audience, you’ll want to create the right kind of content for them.
- Do they prefer shorter, snackable content bites? Then social media assets and engaging images on Pinterest may be for you.
- Do they like longer, instructional information? Then How-To videos and downloadable ebooks are the way to go.
Don’t forget to repurpose your content and amplify the reach of each piece of content you create. This also helps reduce the overall time your marketing team spends creating the content. You can produce more of it in less time.
Phase 3: Plug & play your calendar
After you’ve completed the first two phases, it’s time to start populating the calendar with projects. While you can use a downloadable calendar to help you plan all this out, it may be handy to use an online tool to help keep track of everything. There are many free and premium online content calendar tools, like:
- CoSchedule – a WordPress plugin
- Printable content calendars from CoSchedule
- Gather Content – Let’s you coordinate groups of content producers, and has some great features for task assignment and progress tracking.
- Kapost – An online calendar for writers, editors, and publishers. Love the colors!
- Content Marketing Institute’s free calendar downloads
- HubSpot’s content calendar template download
If you’ve been floundering in your content creation lately, or are looking to set up your strategy for the first time, using a content calendar is the way to go. It can be the difference between delivering your best online content that engages your audience and having a site that no one sees.
Are you using a content calendar? What does yours look like? Hit up the comments and let me know how it’s going.
This is Article #2 in a series on content calendars for B2B marketing. To read the first post, click here.
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