Developing quality content is hard. The challenge for any business is that day-to-day tasks often inhibit us from taking the time to market ourselves effectively; we fall behind and are forced to play catchup. Planning ahead is the key to success and a content calendar is a powerful tool in making that happen.
A content calendar can come in many forms. It may be done on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis. It can include specific topic ideas and word-for-word social posts or be a generic guideline as to what type of content you want to post when. Some have simple dates with employee assignments, while others are input to a project management system calendar that triggers notifications and deadline alerts. However you plan to tackle it - is a step in the right direction. Simply planning ahead will have a profound impact on your inbound marketing strategy.
What’s worked for our clients when it comes to creating a content calendar?
Developing general topic suggestions
Every business has things they do on a repeatable basis and developing content around them can make it easier to create. You can also capitalize on popular hashtags or other trends. For example, #tbt or #throwbackthursday can be used in every business. Highlight historical facts about your company, show a picture of an outdated product and its current counterpart, or feature milestones in your industry. Not only will hashtags help guide you in creating content, they will also drive traffic your way.
Planning a month in advance
Sure we have annual reviews and quarterly checkpoints, but our best work is done in monthly marketing meetings. During that time, we determine what our game plan is for the following month by discussing what’s going on in the business and industry to come up with timely topics and a content outline. Sometimes an idea may require a series of posts too, and that’s a great way to get things out routinely without overwhelming readers in one long post.
What should each monthly content calendar include at the bare minimum?
- 1-2 blog posts per week
- Daily social posts
- 1 email newsletter for current customers
- 1 email newsletter for prospects
Getting it down on paper
Hold your marketing team accountable by getting the plan down on paper and being specific about what should happen, when. Project management systems like BaseCamp are a great way to assign tasks and create deadlines related to your content calendar. However, you can also use something simple and free like Google’s calendar or Outlook to set reminders and collaborate. If you’re a HubSpot user, you’re in luck too – they have an amazing content calendar system built into their platform that makes managing content super easy.
Now that you’ve planned ahead, don’t wait until the last minute. By working a month in advance to develop your plan, you know what’s coming ahead of the daily interruptions that will undoubtedly pop up. To maximize efficiency, we recommend writing 2 blog posts at a time – or tackling all 4 for the month in one day. You can use a scheduling feature, on popular blogging platforms such as Wordpress, to input them at one time and set them to individually publish throughout the month. Free tools such as HootSuite are also tiny miracle workers. A platform like HootSuite will let you plan posts in advance, so you can get all the posts for the week scheduled in a single sitting. Then, just make sure you’re checking your social notifications once or twice a day for follower interaction and relevancy.
Feeling ready to tackle your inbound marketing plan with this new information? Great! We know what a challenge it can be, and we hope we’ve outlined some simple steps to help you create a more effective content calendar and keep you on the path to success.
If you’re still not sure where to get started, maybe your business would benefit from partnering with a Digital Marketing Consultant at The Bonanno Group, Inc? Contact us at 866-714-7210 to see how we can assist you in achieving your marketing goals and generating more leads.