Successful social marketing depends on planning. Planning ahead leads to higher quality content by allowing adequate time for research and execution, and ensures that you’re engaging your audience consistently and effectively.
Using a content calendar provides numerous benefits beyond basic scheduling. A calendar can be used for all aspects of your marketing strategy, including identifying your target audience, planning and goal setting, and tracking resources. Think of it as a shareable resource that marketing teams can use to plan all the content marketing activity. The benefit of using the calendar format, rather than a long list of content to be published, is that you can visualize how your content is distributed throughout the year. This allows you to plan content around key events in your industry or important dates; identify and fill gaps in your marketing plan; and make sure you have your content ready way before it’s published.
Well, January 2017 just passed us by in a wink of an eye. But don’t despair! It’s still not too late to start planning for the rest of the year. Here are some tips to get you started.
Develop a Solid Strategy
A content marketing calendar should organize the way you curate and create content, and help develop your editorial strategy. The calendar cuts extra time out of your marketing strategy and helps you allocate your resources wisely to help ensure your brand consistently publishes high-quality, well-written, high-performing content pieces.
Before you build a content calendar though, bear in mind that it is more than just a schedule with deadlines. As with any marketing plan, you need to identify your target audience, which can include existing and potential customers. Knowing your audience will help determine what social media channels and types of content are most appropriate for your business. You can also get a sense of your audience by evaluating which of your social profiles are receiving the most traffic.
Key question: Who do you want to sell your product or service to? Your calendar should map out content that factors in the big picture, and how your efforts can drive real results.
Build your Content Team
The success of implementing your content strategy hinges on an important, but often overlooked group of people: your content team. These people will be responsible for the successful ideation and execution of your content needs.
You should identify at least 3 key players in the group:
- Content strategist – Someone who is able to see the big picture and develop the script, including editorial strategy tasks like writing brand stories and/or style guidelines. A good content strategist (in-house or external) will always begin with an audit of your current content marketing efforts, then compare those to what you want to achieve and create a strategy to fill in the gaps.
- Writers – Ah, the creative force behind the content team! They’re the ones you rely on to conjure up creative ideas and capture the magic of storytelling through your brand voice.
- Coordinators – A good coordinator can be your key to scaling content. This is the person who keeps track of all the details from vetting and managing freelancers to making sure that someone really did add the alt text to all those images!
Peaks and Troughs
When developing a content marketing calendar, be sure to consider major events that fall within the publishing cycle, and reserve slots for disseminating relevant content coinciding with these dates. For example, you may have ideas for e-blasts or blog posts that the team can publish to help create publicity for a conference that your company is organizing. Incorporating these into your schedule makes sure that you flesh out your calendar with targeted and timely content that matters to your business.
Identifying peaks and lulls, meanwhile, helps you create and distribute content appropriately. Instead of overstretching your resources or being idle during gap periods, it commits you to producing a consistent cache of content that continues to build on your brand’s expertise.
Repurpose, Redistribute, Repromote
As you source for great content, don’t forget about the materials that are readily available and yet, underutilized. For instance, presentation slides from past workshops could be refreshed and repurposed into multimedia posts, and data from company white papers could be adapted into infographics. Pumping your calendar with unexploited assets would certainly ease the strain of having to frequently brainstorm for novel ideas. You can also redistribute relevant content to new and existing audiences to help attract attention. It could be quality information that may not have broken through initially; or perhaps it needed another context.
Check out time-saving curation tools like Scoop.it and Feedly that can aggregate all the topics and publications that resonate best with your brand, and help facilitate your content discovery process.
Without question, having everyone on the same page can improve productivity and help keep track of the different timelines for various assignments. With a dedicated content calendar, marketing teams can strategically align content with business goals, and anticipate the adjustments needed to meet benchmarks.
Posted by Irene Gomez, Corporate Media