Consistency is crucial in any digital marketing strategy. To be consistent, you have to put out high quality content that compels and engages your audience regularly. One of the ways you can ensure this is through creating and maintaining a content calendar. It is a visual representation of every piece of content scheduled for a specific period.
The content calendar derives its concept from the published list of issue themes and dates commonly used for advertising campaigns of print publications. This usually contains a brief general description of what’s in each issue. However, the descriptions are obscure enough to allow for the content to be revised as you go along.
Here are the ways to create your content calendar efficiently:
1.) Find a Template Suitable to your Content Strategy
First, you need visualize how you would want your system to look like. Search for any content editorial calendar template that contains all the elements you would need in planning and managing your content across all channels. This will allow you to see the topics and tasks you have scheduled in a more organized way. Likewise, it will establish structure for your content writers, web designers, and all the other people involved in growth hacking. It will give them a clear idea on how they should manage their time to meet deadlines. There are several options to choose from.
First, there’s Search Engine Journal’s marketing calendar template, which has built-in holiday schedules so you can plan ahead your content topics for the upcoming holidays. It’s in Google Calendar format which is convenient if you prefer to use Google Suite for project management.
Hubspot also offers a variety of simple and easy-to-use editorial content calendars for download, which comes in a variety of formats such as Excel, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar. Each template also comes with instructions to help you carry out its use easier.
There are also apps like Co-Schedule and WordPress calendar which saves your work every 30 minutes–perfect if you’re concerned about not having to back up your data every now and then while you work on filling your calendar.
On the other hand, if you prefer something more customizable, you may opt to use Trello or start a content editorial calendar from scratch using Excel. But if you prefer a more traditional approach, a large wall chart or white board will be your best options. Whichever method you choose, remember that the bottom line is that it should be accessible and clear enough for everyone in your team to comprehend.
2.) Target the Right Audience
It’s crucial to determine exactly who your readers are to come up with contents that are relevant to their needs and passion. One of the best approach you can take is to come up with different personas to target your preferred audience during the planning stage your content.
Providing information regarding who the target audience is will also allow the writers to adjust the tone to make their writing resonate with readers. A buyer persona is typically comprised of ideal customer’s needs, wants, job function, industry, and justifying the content you are about to publish will prove useful to them.
One brand who planned their content calendar based on their audience’s preferences and activity is Red Bull. This infographic shows how the brand decided to post content in platforms most used by their target audience. The brand also crafted their content in non-hard sell way, just the way most people prefers.
Another benefit of having different personas to target is that you can make your approach to content creation as broad or as specific as you want, depending on which segments of your audience you want to engage.
3.) Choose the Coverage of Your Topics
Now that you’ve established what you want to say and who you want to connect with, it’s time to come up with the topics and themes for your communication channels. Think of the topics you have already touched on and what else you have yet to explore. What is it that your audience wants to read about? If you’re managing an e-commerce site, what type of content will help you convert your readers into regular customers?
Another tactic you can leverage is seasonal content marketing. You can use it to market your brand offerings that only apply during specific seasons such as Christmas and thanksgiving. Seasonal marketing typically gets the best results when used for consumer-oriented products and services. These include food, pets, homes, fashion, gardening, hobbies, travel, and kids.
Come up with seasonal checklists detailing tips that are valuable and relevant to your audience. These should be evergreen, which means they can be updated when needed. A feature on the latest trends are useful for keeping your audience updated while promoting the relevant products and services you offer.
4.) Listen and Gather your Team and Readers’ Insights
Ask your team members for other topic suggestions that you haven’t listed yet. Also, you need to inform and train them about the new workflow, as well as the designation of their specific tasks. This allows every member of the team to allocate their time and resources properly to fulfill the deadlines set by the company.
It is also important to hear feedbacks from your readers as well. Addressing their concerns will encourage them to keep engaging with your content. Ann Smarty of Sprout Social recommends using a CRM tool like Salesmate for easy documentation. You can also gather user questions, concerns, and insights through your sales and customer service representatives, whenever possible.
5.) Setting and Adhering the Set Deadlines
Now, all that is left for you to do is set deadlines and schedule due dates for every step of the process. Remember to give ample time for the completion of each task so that you won’t fall behind on your deliverables. Make sure that these deadlines are laid out clearly in your content calendar to meet all the deadlines.
Creating a content calendar can be exhausting, especially in its early stages. But once you’ve created a foundation, it will help streamline your content planning process and make creating compelling ideations a breeze.