Building an efficient, effective and scalable content marketing operation requires attention to detail. Many content marketers rely on content calendars to keep their plans and teams organized.
Before any marketer approaches a content calendar, make sure you’ve defined your audience and KPIs in your content marketing strategy. A content calendar is literally a calendar of when content will be published. Keeping the marketing objective in mind, a content calendar supports the management of content creation and distribution.
1. Start Your Content Calendar with Events
A list of all the events (big or small) that can be addressed or supported with content is a great start to a content calendar. Events can include:
- Brand-specific events, including promotions or sales
- Industry events, think about conferences or promotional holidays (like National Cheeseburger Day)
- National events, including big holidays (like Halloween) and national events (like the World Cup)
2. Schedule Existing Content
Even when first launching content marketing campaigns, most brands already have existing content written or planned. Schedule existing content first. As possible, align content with the events you have already added to your calendar.
3. Fill in the Content Calendar Gaps
After filling a calendar in with existing content, almost every content marketer is left with content calendar gaps. Assign categories to the gaps. Are you missing event-related topics, persona-related content or messages necessary to nurture along the customer journey. Fill those gaps with content to be developed, and build out project plans to create that content.
4. Update Your Content Calendar Every Quarter
Content calendars should never be static. At a minimum, review your calendar every quarter. Make optimizations and adjustments based on prior performance, industry shifts and product or service changes.
5. Create a Lot Out of a Little, and Put It All on Your Content Calendar
When it comes to content marketing, usually the more the better. A report or whitepaper can and should become multiple pieces. These extensions allow you to efficiently publish across a variety of platforms without having to repeatedly tap subject matter experts for more content. It’s called “content atomization,” and it is important because it streamlines resources while amplifying your message.
6. Include Social Media on Your Content Calendar
Regular posting on social media platforms can help promote new and existing content. When posting, make sure you understand the followers for each of the platforms on which you engage, and customize your messages to match. Also, keep your customer’s journey and your marketing objective in mind. It’s the content marketers job to naturally nurture the target audience without ever feeling obtrusive.
Content Calendars Help Marketers Track the Effectiveness of Content Marketing
Powerful content can increase organic website traffic, but an increase in website visits does not prove effectiveness. Content marketing should lower bounce rates, increase the time on page and boost conversion rates and other key performance indicators (KPIs). High share and engagement numbers are good early indicators that content will work in the long run. Use your content calendar to keep track of individual pieces of content, including when they launched and their ability to support overall marketing objectives.
Content should encourage movement along the conversion funnel. Therefore, the metrics tracked for each piece of content may be different. For example, content developed to boost brand awareness may not drive high conversion rates. But if it’s increasing time spent on the page, it’s likely doing its job. Aim to track and connect all pre-lead data to accurately measure the complete campaign’s effectiveness.
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