A Content Calendar makes it super easy to plan and organize your content marketing activities, co-ordinate with your team members and achieve your business goals more efficiently. Although it may seem complicated at first, to create a content calendar, it’s totally worth the effort & time. Let’s look at how to create a content calendar for your marketing strategy.
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a shareable resource (such as a document, spreadsheet, etc) that enables marketing teams to plan their content marketing tasks and activities (such as topic research, content creation as well as content promotion), co-ordinate and execute them efficiently.
Why should you create a Content Calendar?
Content Calendar provides an amazing way to visualize how your content activities are distributed over the month, or even the year. It enables you to :
- Plan content topics around key industry events and latest trends
- Easily co-ordinate between content team members such as designers, authors, photographers, etc. to create awesome content.
- Identify areas of improvement in your content and optimize it quickly
- Ensure that you’re content is ready to publish before the deadline
- Consistently publish great content, instead of doing it on an ad-hoc basis
How to Create Content Calendar?
Here are the steps to create a content calendar for your marketing team. You can create a weekly/monthly/yearly blog content calendar that fits your requirements. However, it’s important to note that the more frequently you create a content calendar, the more detailed it can be. For example, if you create yearly content calendars, then it will need to be more strategic, since your industry, as well as your resources are bound to change over a year. On the other hand, if you create weekly content calendar, then you can make it very detailed, as things won’t change much over a week.
1. Identify content topics & audiences
The first step is to identify the target audience for your content. Every business publishes a variety of content, targeting different types of audiences. For example, you may publish webinars to help product users, blog articles for senior managers, and white papers & case studies for C-level executives. So it’s important to identify the the different types of audiences for your content marketing strategy.
This should generally be the result of a discussion between all people facing teams like sales, marketing, HR, customer service. Although lead generation is the primary objective of most content strategies, it’s also important identify other audience types who might benefit from your content.
Gather a list of business objectives each department hopes to accomplish with your blog and also find out the target audience for each department.
You should then leverage these cross-departmental meetings to assign content weighting for each type of target audience. For example, 40% customers of product A, 30% customer of product B, 15% existing customer and 15% potential new customers.
You would already know how much content your team can create every week/month/year. So, assigning content weightings helps you figure out how many articles you need to create for each target audience. Accordingly, you can assign the required number of man hours and resources for each piece of content.
2. Evaluate your existing content assets
You don’t need to create all your content from scratch. Every business has many untapped content assets that can be leveraged, re-purposed and promoted to get more audience, and drive engagement. You’ll find :
- Training slide decks and tutorials that can be re-purposed as blog post, online slides, and even videos.
- Analytics of CRM data, HR surveys or even Financial data that you can use to create infographics
- In-house knowledge of domain experts to create interviews, podcasts and case studies
- Whitepapers that can be re-purposed as blog articles
- Blog posts that can be updated with latest information, or consolidated into comprehensive guides, or whitepapers.
Re-purposing content enables you to produce lots of relevant content without worrying about coming up with new content topics every time. You’ll be surprised to know how a single piece of content can be re-purposed into multiple content assets. For example, you can create an infographic around the data used for a blog post, as well create a podcast about the impact of those findings. You can even create a video about the instructional parts of your blog post, say, if there are any setups or tutorials in it.
3. Publish, Analyze & Refine your content
It’s important to schedule regular meetings between your content team members to keep track of your content marketing strategy. These meetings can be used to plan the publishing dates of each piece of content and list out content promotion activities (e.g inclusion in email newsletter, social media marketing strategy, blogger outreach, etc) for each content asset.
You can also use this opportunity to review the performance (visits, shares, engagement, etc) of your previous period. This will tell you what type of content is working so that you can produce more of it. It will also tell you what kind of content isn’t working so you rethink it.
You should use web analytics tools and social media analytics platforms to clearly identify the content type and topics that generate most revenue. Accordingly, you can refine your titles, headings, introductions and conclusions to drive more visitors and conversions.
Here are the Best Content Marketing Tools to optimize our content marketing strategy. Also, check out our list of Best Free Content Calendar Templates to plan, organize & execute your content marketing strategy.
Content Calendar is a great way to clearly lay out your content marketing strategy so that everyone in your marketing team is on the same page. It enables you to break up your overall content marketing strategy into manageable tasks that can be easily executed. A blog content calendar allows you to identify your content audience, come up with relevant content topics, regularly produce high quality content and organize your content promotion activities efficiently. It even allows you to easily identify high performing content that can be re-purposed to get more visitors.
Great content is the backbone of every content marketing strategy. A content calendar give you a high level view of what type of content works best, which topics resonate the most with your target audience, and which content promotion strategies drive most traffic & engagement. Ultimately, it enables you to stay on top of your content marketing strategy and systematically grow your business.
Do you have any tips about creating a content calendar?