4 secrets behind creating an awesome content calendar

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Most business owners know that a solid content marketing plan is vital to a brand’s online success, but not everyone knows how to achieve it. A solid editorial calendar will define the content and keep you on track.

The research carried out by the Content Marketing Institute found this:

  • 53% of marketers in organizations where content marketing was most effective had a documented content marketing plan.
  • 12% of marketers in organizations where content marketing was least effective had a documented content marketing plan.

With content marketing generating three times more leads than outbound marketing for 62% less money, it seems prudent to take it seriously enough to create a strategic plan.



Create a content calendar that works

Create a strategy

  • Identify the target audience. Who are your clients ? Who are you trying to reach with your content campaign? If you’re looking to reach beyond your current customer base to expand into a new demographic, define it.
  • Audience profile. Whether it’s current customers or new customers, you need to know who they are and what makes them tick. This will help you determine how to engage them.
  • Set an objective. What do you want to achieve with your content marketing campaign? Remember that a goal must be quantifiable.
  • Plan to measure progress. How will you measure the success of a campaign? Success is in relation to the goal you set for yourself. Determine what tools are available to track progress.

Content of the plan

  • Start with seasonal content. The easiest place to start is to identify what is going on in the world throughout the year. Holidays, seasons and events. You may or may not write content related to each of these, but it’s important to know what’s going on, so that you don’t write something that makes you look completely out of touch.
  • Add industry specific. Does your industry have an annual conference? Is there a time of year when there are usually new product launches? For example, new car models usually come out in the fall. The fashion industry has a fashion week in February and September. If you are in these industries, you want to have relevant content for them at the right time.
  • Expect the internal year. Are there any business plans for the coming year to be announced? Events to organize?
  • What is the interest of the target market? This is where the information from the first step comes in. If the research has been done to fully define the target market, it should be easy to understand what they want. What is relevant to them and to the business?

At this point, you may feel frustrated with how long the process is taking. If you want to learn how to create an amazing content calendar, you need to set aside time for some planning. Do not abandon. As the statistics above clearly show, there is no doubt that this is time well spent.

Identify resources

The most valuable resource for content marketing is your people. Who will create the content? Is this an internal project or will you be using professional services? If it is an internal project, people should be identified to write the content, edit the content and proofread the content before it is posted anywhere publicly.

It is not a task to be passed on lightly. Writing content takes time and must be done competently to be effective. If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time content marketer, consider splitting the wealth among current staff. Assign writing to people based on their expertise, so that they write on topics they are already familiar with.

For planning purposes, keep in mind that each piece should be edited by someone other than the writer. Ideally, the publisher knows something about optimizing online copy for search engine rankings. A third person should reread each piece. It is never a good idea to ask the writer or editor to proofread, as it really takes a fresh look for best results.

Of course, identifying resources could just be about using the services of a content marketing company. If that is the plan, be sure to assign the task of locating and hiring a service.

Create a structure

It’s time to put it in a usable format. An effective content calendar will be something that can be digested at a glance. There’s no point in spending time creating it if it needs to be tossed aside and never used. For the content calendar to be a useful tool, the format must be user-friendly.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. There is more than one right way to do this. The possible column headers to include are:

  • Date to publish
  • Topic
  • Content details / notes
  • Key words
  • CTA (call to action)
  • Missions (writer, editor, proofreader)

An effective content calendar is a dynamic document. It should be reviewed regularly and revised as needed. The best practice is to hold separate meetings with key players on a regular basis to discuss the content strategy and analyze the results. These meetings will help keep things on track.

Creating a content calendar can be time consuming … but it’s not as time consuming as wasting valuable content marketing resources without a strategy.

Photo via Shutterstock



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