What would you do if you had an extra hour per day?
Well, a few months back I would have dedicated it to the massive pile of delayed marketing tasks jamming my to-do list. I never had enough time. Meeting deadlines was forever a challenge. I wish I had another me to handle the metrics and manage our various channels.
Organizing tasks is an entirely different topic! I was miserable.
Whether you are the only one in your marketing team or you are managing the entire editorial and content marketing squad, a content calendar is a foundation.
The first step you must always begin with is organizing, categorizing, and planning content for your blog and social media channels. I knew that since day one. What I did not know was how to do it.
I can guess what you are thinking. The solution is using a content calendar. Let me add a bit to your thought. The perfect solution is using a team-based content calendar.
A team-based content calendar will help you create and execute a content strategy that not only inspires your team but also excites your readers.
How good are you at organizing your tasks?
Is your execution perfect?
Let’s be honest. Organizing, planning and executing content is harder than it seems.
Most content marketers don’t even have a well-organized content plan or a content strategy. And then execution is a whole different story.
We have probably heard this quote before. And it still makes me uncomfortable. Without proper planning, our content will be a flop.
Content marketers working to grow their online presence reveal that their biggest marketing challenges in order are:
However, to keep your content organized and well-planned, a detailed content calendar will become your best ally.
Let’s talk about how this powerful tool improves your skills as a content marketer.
One of the significant benefits of the content calendar is that it keeps you on a schedule. It’s a fact that if you are a good marketer, you will stay busy. And sometimes it’s natural to avoid or postpone things such as blog posts when you are running huge campaigns and promotional activities.
But, your audience expects you to deliver when you say you will. The existence of an organized plan for your content marketing makes it feasible for you to schedule your content ahead of time.
Create campaigns a month before they are supposed to go live. This will give you sufficient time to review or to do any extra research and add information before publishing.
Another trick is to keep a running list of content ideas. Organize your thoughts into categories, and you will have a structure to your creativity.
Also, if your company has an approval procedure, your calendar will help you create each piece of content with adequate time for the responsible person to review it before going live.
Creating a post whenever you feel like is okay. That will keep your writing spirit alive. But if you can save your best ideas, you can generate enticing content. Plan your best content ideas on a content calendar. It gives you the bandwidth to research facts, examples, and other supporting content material.
Also, it gives you the time to add the extra spice of creativity to your projects before they get published. We love to add graphics.
How frequently do you notice something that gives you an idea for a blog post, an ebook, or other content?
It’s likely this happens often. But, if you don’t write it down, by the time you’re set to create the content, the idea has vanished. You’re left scratching your brains for a subject.
However, with a content planner, you can note down all your ideas. This step gives you the freedom to then research and mull over the topic for a while before generating it.
Moreover, if your content production procedure includes various stakeholders, finding appropriate topics in advance improves your chances of coordinating the ideas.
Regular and well-ordered content looks professional because it’s organized, while at the same time innovative. Constancy in posting reflects well on your brand.
Also, keeping your content fresh is not simple. After some time you feel you are creating the same thing again and again. A content calendar helps to plan themes and ignore repetition, keeping your target audience entertained (and you too).
Creating a content calendar that is used for a month, a quarter or even a year gives you the benefit of a “birds-eye” approach for your online communications.
It allows you to:
Calendars are oxygen for busy beavers. You already know this if you have ever been saved by the multitasking reminder tool in your pocket (aka the mobile phone). How many times have your notifications helped you remember an appointment or a dear one’s birthday?
Undoubtedly, the human brain is a powerful machine, but not always a foolproof organizer. When you have to sort out complex information and track small details, calendars are extremely helpful. Content marketing is complex and detailed, so it’s no exception to this fact.
Trying to mentally develop the exact up-to-date balance, publishing flow, and keywords for a company blog page is almost impossible, notably when several people are included in the procedure. For overloaded marketing team members, a content calendar is crucial. It is the well-planned roadmap and the marching orders.
First, develop your content calendar based on your team’s strengths. The strengths can include subject matter expertise, writing styles, capability, and humor. It’s true that you hired them for what you want to create.
Wise planners discuss what resources do they need and how they will complete their task with their teams. This way you can create an achievable calendar and not a chaotic one. Everyone should see the same information you do. Create a schedule that all can follow.
Here are a few steps to create a team-based content calendar which can benefit both your team and your audience.
No matter what kind of communication you produce, the content calendar you use will have a similar setup. Here are a few steps to build a great content calendar. Complete these steps before you start filling in a schedule.
An organization hardly publishes content to only a single viewer. Most businesses and companies have various groups of stakeholders or customer types, and each of them is interested in different kinds of content. Content calendars will give you a clearer picture of what you are promoting and to whom. This will also ensure that everything you publish online works simultaneously to help you attain your business goals.
To learn about your ideal buyers, you need to use a simple tool- buyer personas. But is it really that simple? We’ve answered this question for you here. Plus, we have a free buyer persona template for you. You can also listen to the live interview of Adele Revella- the buyer persona evangelist.
When should that unicorn blog post be published? Is it after campaign #1 or before campaign #2? Which lead magnet will be public with this blog post? Is the promotional email approved and ready to be shipped? Is the email list finalized yet? What happens after a viewer is attracted to the lead magnet?
Well, all these details must matter to a digital marketer. Your content should foster relationships with your readers and guide them to the next step in their journey of achieving the desired target. You need to lay out a target path or a customer journey. If you have a clear picture of the content in hand, guiding your viewers from one post to another is more natural, and much more effective.
Developing content categories for your posts will not only help you to stay focused on your complete plan but also save your time when you sit down to create your content. Content categories can smoothen the process of designing a customer journey and providing prospect customers with what they need the most.
Hold regular editorial planning meetings between everyone involved in content creation. Do this before each publishing period. A monthly or quarterly planning meeting is ideal. Moreover, these meetings can be used to plan the publishing content from your depository with reasonable time frames.
These planning meetings can also be used to review the visitors, engagements, and stats from previous publishing periods to evaluate which kind of content is most successful and which needs improvement.
Don’t depend on your calendar entirely. Make sure you check current trends to take advantage of news stories. Also, keep tabs on the activities of your competitors. Make sure that you’re observing your competitors for new ideas or strategies. Watch your content and change it if it’s not working.
Each team member has something to contribute. Some are observant. Some are creative. Others have a unique grasp on mundane topics. If you’ve been working with your team for a long time, you know their strengths and weaknesses. It’s helpful to actually write down what they are best at, what they love doing, and tasks they struggle with. Structure the content calendar around your team to maintain a smooth working team.
Furthermore, if you are new to the team, get to know your co-workers so the strengths and weaknesses can be considered. You can also review their performance with tasks and responsibilities.
Remember to create a calendar based on their strengths, but also give them a chance to explore and challenge themselves.
Content plans should be for an extended period, such as quarterly or yearly. With this perspective, you can discover content gaps and create a stable, healthy balance in topics and campaigns.
As you plan ahead, keep note of industry events, holidays, cultures, and other relevant events. These special days are bound to affect your regular traffic. Connect these events to your content and prepare the natural ups and downs in readers.
It is always smart to maintain some level of flexibility. You have to be alert and vigilant to face any unannounced issues. Current events and developments play an important role in content.
Content calendars help you with content scheduling, including when to set the deadlines. Usually, content marketers create these schedules to improve reader engagement and increase customers.
However, delivering content usually is dependent on team members with their own agendas and time dedications. From the beginning to end, content moves through the hands of your writers, editors, designers, quality control, social media managers, and others.
So, if the schedule is unadaptable, convoluted or ambiguous, the quality of your content will suffer.
Therefore, schedule crucial tasks but be flexible. If a team member has regular commitments, set essential deadlines around them. Employees will have a better understanding of their schedules.
Regular meetings will help to keep your teams on their toes. Sessions can be a challenge, particularly in larger companies. However, the advantages of regular participation are significant and valuable.
Even if it’s a 30-minute discussion or video hangout, bringing your brilliant creative minds together regularly to review and modify the content calendar results in better content.
A content calendar is beneficial for everyone, your team, your business, and your audience. For all the content teams, whether large or small, a content calendar is essential. They ensure stability, planning, teamwork, and balance. A good content calendar can go a long way to grow your customers, engage the readers, improve your content, market campaigns, and boost brand awareness.