It can be difficult to consistently create quality content as we all get side tracked by other pressing matters. In many cases, you have enough content for a few weeks but before you know it, you’ve lost the plot and haven’t posted anything for a while. This is where a content calendar can come in particularly handy. It not only helps you plan content ahead of time but it also makes posting to social media so much easier.
Why Use A Content Calendar
A content calendar essentially maps out all of your content for an entire year. Content calendars will not only help you stay consistent but also ensure that you don’t run out of ideas. It’s important that you’re content continuously reflect what people are interested in or talking about. This can be a new film, breast cancer awareness day or an event like the Rugby World Cup.
While a content calendar is simple to create, many marketers struggle to stick to it. That’s only a small wrinkle to iron out as they are exceptionally useful and should form part of everyone’s content marketing strategy. Benefits of a content calendar include the following:
- Saves time, money and energy
- Keeps you organised and on track
- Keeps your target audience engaged by not posting random, repetitive or stagnated content
What Type Of Content Calendar Apps Are There?
The best thing about creating a content calendar is that you can choose your own platform. Many marketers only use Google Calendar and why not, it has everything they need and then some. However, there are other apps out there and we’ve listed some of the most popular ones:
Before you choose a platform, you need to create quality content and that means doing research. This includes getting to know your audience, using the appropriate keywords, channels and marketing message. Creating a content calendar requires you to follow this simple guide:
Know The Purpose Of Doing Content Marketing
The whole point of creating content is to encourage engagement or a conversation that could ultimately lead to a paying customer. However, for any of this to work, you need to build relationships and trust. Always hiding your best content behind payment gateways certainly won’t help your cause. We’re not saying you should give away your secrets but you need to give them something.
Offer freebies from time to time on your blog or social media channels whether it’s a coupon, discount, free e-book or free consultation. Ask your audience the type of content they want to receive and create accordingly. Also, get their permission before sending email blasts and when you do, make sure the content is good and relevant.
Create Buyer Personas
In order to succeed at content marketing, you need to brainstorm content ideas and create buyer personas. These are representations of your ideal target audience in terms of age, religion, location and preferences for example. If you’ve done your market research effectively, you should know what you need to create.
Once you have that knowledge, match the best content type to the relevant personas. Remember, not everyone wants to know about the same item or topic. Ask these questions to get off to a positive start:
- Does your content match your brand persona? Will it be casual, formal, fun or professional?
- How does the published content reflect your brand online?
- What customer issues can your content solve?
- If your niche is specialised, are you a trusted source of information?
Content Ideas For Online Marketing Campaign
While the content you generate will depend on the industry you’re in, there are a few that will work for almost anyone. The following content types have proven exceptionally useful.
- Theme-based weekly posts using a custom hashtag
- How to articles, webinars or videos
- Case studies or success stories
- Product-related articles
- Related infographics, statistics or press releases
- Buying/Selling guides
The challenge is always to find existing content ideas that are already working with your audience. Find socially-inspired ideas, plan them in your editorial calendar and create them accordingly. By this, we mean include your audience when creating content as mentioned earlier.
Putting A Content Plan In Place
Now that you know why you are doing content marketing and the type of content you need, you can start planning your content schedule. It goes without saying that you need amazing ideas in order to create and plan an awesome content calendar. This is made possible by knowing your goals, content type and your target audience.
Start by blocking out a day or at least a few hours to create the content you need. Think about all the important dates throughout the year like Easter, Christmas or Halloween. Also add any significant awareness campaigns to your calendar and any big events such as the 2020 Glastonbury Music Festival. You don’t have to do a 12-month calendar as it can be time-consuming but try to do at least for 1 to 6 months. You’ll thank us later!
Test Your Content
Before you add anything to your content calendar, be sure to test the content accordingly. There’s no point in posting blogs or social media content that nobody will like or want to click. Reflecting on what we mentioned earlier, make sure your content matches your brand’s online profile.
Is your content interesting, witty or funny and engaging? Considering the importance of SMO (Social Media Optimisation) in today’s online world, your content needs to be shareable. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes; would you like or share that particular post?
Recommended: ‘Tips For A Successful Social Media Strategy’
Keep An Eye On Market Trends, Analysis And Competitors
A content calendar is not a fail-safe and you cannot afford to neglect current trends and top news stories. You need to remain up to date on any changing trends, especially within your niche and take advantage of breaking news stories.
Keep a close eye on your analytics as this will provide you with invaluable insights into what is working and what is not. Having something on your content calendar doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be replaced by something better or more relevant. If a particular type of content is not working, change it or remove it completely.
At the same time, you need to watch your competitors to see what they are doing. Considering that online marketing is such a fast-moving, ever-changing industry, stay on top of your rivals to find new ideas or strategies.
Recommended: ‘How To Do A Competitor Analysis’
What’s The Best Mix For Your Content Calendar?
Success comes from being consistent and through continuous testing. Over time, everyone figures out their best content pieces, posting frequency and which channels to use. Remember the rule of thirds and the 80/20 principle when it comes to creating and posting content. Here is what this means for your brand as one third of your content should be for the following:
- Brand promotion or lead generation
- Content from other sources that still align with your business
- For engaging with followers directly whether it’s through answering questions, responding to comments, or reposting user-generated content
Similarly, the 80/20 rule means that 80% of your content should be helpful and interesting while 20% actually focuses on selling your product.
Recommended: ‘5 Social Media Content Ideas For Increased Engagement’
Example Of A Content Calendar
While not everyone will have a 12-month content calendar nor will they have the same type of content. However, here is a breakdown of content you could use for your calendar:
- 1 – 3 long form content pieces per week (1,200 to 2,000 words)
- 1 – 2 SlideShare presentations per week
- Leave 3 comments daily on influencer blogs or posts
- 1 – 2 infographics per month
- Monthly e-book
Don’t forget to syndicate your content a few times a week which is essential for SEO purposes. This refers to blogs, infographics or presentations and some of the sites you can use include Quora, Tumblr, Digg or Reddit among many others.
Related Article: ‘How To Use SlideShare To Marketing Your Business’
More On WSI eMarketing
Now that you know more about creating a content calendar, you need to really put your brand out there. Social media marketing is an essential part of this and WSI eMarketing can help. You will benefit from the expertise of a reputable digital marketing agency with local and international experience.
We specialise in several areas including PPC, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing and marketing automation. Visit our website for more information and you can even request a FREE consultation.