Only 32% of b2b marketers have a documented content strategy, but 53% of the most effective b2b marketers have a documented content strategy (CMI). If you want your content to be effective, it helps to have a documented strategy. A content calendar is a great way to begin creating that strategy. A content calendar will help your content stay on track to achieving your goals, and assist in keeping all team members involved in the process and aware of content that’s being created. Creating a content calendar can take time, but it’s well worth it.
Social media content calendar or blogging content calendar?
There are a number of different approaches to content calendars, some are just for blogs, social media or ebooks; for a combination; or for all your content channels. There’s not one right way to do it. Figure out what works best for your team’s needs. Different platforms are good for social media content calendars, blog calendars or both. Need help finding a good content calendar platform? Check out this list: Top 15 Life-Changing Editorial Calendar Tools.
Start with the big picture
Once you have your platform picked out, it’s time to start planning. You want your content calendar to help you stay on top of short term execution while staying aware of long term goals. For this reason, it’s probably best to have a monthly content calendar and a yearly content calendar. It’s probably best to start with the big picture and plan out your year at a glance first:
Holidays: Do you want to have any holiday related content? For example, in the winter you might want to publish Christmas, Honukkah or New Year themed pieces.
Seasons: Does your industry have a busy time of the year; a lull? Will that effect the content you publish? If so, how much? Go check out Google Trends and see if any of your topics have seasonal interest.
Events: Are there any industry events around which you need to create content?
Vacations: If possible, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for when anyone on your content team is taking their vacations. Whenever that is, make sure you have a backlog of content to post.
Then, fill in the gaps with a monthly calendar:
Topics: Brainstorming general topics that your buyer personas would be interested in is a good idea. How often do you want to post about certain topics? Make sure you don’t post too much on one topic and forget to post about another topic area all together.
Quantity: How many posts do you need to put out a month? How many a week?
Delegation: Who’s going to be responsible for your content? Is each piece going to be a team effort? Assigning clear roles and responsibilities is key here.
Synergy: If you are creating a comprehensive content calendar, how are you going to coordinate your social media posts, blog posts, ebooks, webinars, etc. to work together?
Series and Recurring posts: content marketing is all about consistency. Series and recurring posts are a way to keep people hooked. If you’re going for this, plan ahead and figure out when these pieces are going to fall.
Things to keep in mind when creating a content calendar…
- Leave room for change and growth: you shouldn’t lock yourself in. Even with a solid calendar surprises will come up: you’ll get a great idea that you didn’t plan, your company’s buyer personas will change or the industry will change. When something like this happens, being able to improvise is key.
- Make sure your content isn’t too predictable: don’t let your content start to feel canned. Find ways to make your content look spontaneous, even if it isn’t.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals: Make sure that your content goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely; and make sure that your content calendar reflects that. The two ways a content calendar can help your SMART goals the most are on being timely and attainable.
Need more help on creating your content calendar? Check out some of these helpful articles:
Need help planning your content strategy for the new year? Take a look at this post: How To Do Successful Content Marketing In 2016.