January 17, 2019
Creating content is important for any B2B or B2C business. Content is the way your company draws in potential customers and keeps existing customers up-to-date on company developments. Creating a content schedule can seem overwhelming. There are so many moving parts and it can be hard to figure out a way to streamline the process.
The difficulty with content calendars is that there isn't one tried and true method for success. A content calendar, like many business tools, needs to be tailored to suit your specific business needs.
Here, we've put together a brief guide on how to create a content calendar. We've made it easier by breaking the process down into simple steps. Whether you want to build your first content calendar or are looking to improve the one you have right now, this guide will help you reach your marketing goals.
A content calendar or content planner is a tool that helps you plan out a publishing schedule for all of your website content. A high quality content calendar will keep all team members up-to-date on publication status and inform them of vital due dates.
A calendar is more effective than simply using a "to do" list because you can visualize the entire process in a flow chart. You can easily see if you have gaps in content or if you need to reschedule content around holidays or work events.
You can use a content schedule to plan content on a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis. The best way to decide how much in advance you need to plan content is to focus on your industry. If your industry is constantly changing, you'll want a shorter content plan to make sure you stay on trend and up-to date with the content you produce. If your industry moves slower, you can plan content for months and never miss an important deadline.
You can also plan your content strategy depending on the needs of your team. If team members are remote or less responsive, it's a good idea to plan content for a longer period of time so you can give team members enough notice if there are any changes.
The first step in producing content is to figure out what you're going to write about. This stage is essential to the success of your content. You need to come up with content that your potential customers will find engaging or useful.
You can use content assets such as old blog posts and update them with more relevant information. You can also use instructional guides, data that you can turn into interesting stories, and employee expertise that can be translated into an interview or Q&A post.
Identify pain points for customers and any other information they may be searching for that your website can provide. Write down a list of these topics and focus on producing evergreen content that won't be out of date in a few months.
You can also use this time to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) research. One of the best ways to get your products and services to potential clients is to optimize your ranking on search engines. By proving your company is trustworthy and offers quality products in a certain market, you can reach readers eyes before competitors.
An easy way to do this is to target certain keywords in your industry and produce great content. You can use resources such as ahrefs to figure out what potential customers in your industry are searching for.
At this stage, you should also consider what your company goals are. If you are trying to promote a new product, make sure to schedule a piece of content that highlights that product. You should also decide whether your main goal is to drive traffic to your website—SEO is your best friend here— or if you want to increase engagement on social media on another platform.
Once you know what type of content you are going to produce, you need to figure out where you will share it. Here are a few ideas:
One of the best places to share content is right on the company blog. You can keep potential customers up-to-date on what's new and share information on topics they find interesting. This is a great place to post "how-to" guides, news updates, and posts with your targeted keyword research for SEO.
Social media, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, is an excellent way to build brand awareness. Use these platforms as part of your content marketing strategy to introduce customers to your company values and voice. Social media posting should have more lively content to increase engagement. You can share case studies and even create a social media content calendar that focuses specifically on your branding and outreach. Your content team can use Hootsuite to tweet pieces of content or post on other social media sites. Your social media marketing strategy should include tracking stats to track how well each piece of content performs.
Email content can help add an air of exclusivity if you produce content specifically for subscribers. They won't find this content anywhere else on your site and can get a behind the scenes look at your company. You can also target specific audiences with email lists and produce content such as surveys, newsletters, and seasonal changes.
Frequently publishing on your own website helps drive traffic directly to your products and services. Landing pages are a great way to promote products and answer frequently asked questions. They also help improve credibility and improve SEO rankings.
Your publishing schedule needs to be realistic. If you have a marketing team of two people, cranking out new content everyday is likely to be unsuccessful. Plan your content creation around your team. Identify each team member's available workload and schedule content targets they can meet.
Whatever you decide, make sure that your posting frequency remains consistent. Start by scheduling one to three posts every week. It's also best to publish on the same days each week so your returning customers always know when new information will be live.
Most content marketers use a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets or Excel to track content. The beauty of Google Sheets is that you can easily create the document and share it with all team members. You can also assign permissions so team members can make changes or suggestions right in the document. The content plan is then automatically stored in Google Drive where you can easily access it from any device. Our content calendar at The Writer Finder includes the following information:
Your spreadsheet should be tailored to your specific needs. Depending on the size of your team, you may need more or less detailed information. If you need some help getting started, check out the content calendar templates from CoSchedule, Content Marketing Institute, or use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. These templates offer either a free trial or full access to the template.
Use a tool such as Trello or Asana to create an editorial calendar the entire team can use. The tools allow you to see tasks as lists or cards, making it easier to visualize the publication process. You can assign drafts to freelance writers and create tasks for editors to review content drafts. The beauty of these tools is that you can set multiple important dates for different team members in addition to establishing a final publication date.
You can easily track the progress of each task by creating columns such as "drafting", "editing", "promoting", and so on. Make sure to create tasks that easily define the workflow for all team members. You can also create cards with important information including marketing goals, guidelines for company voice and editing standards, and a chain of command for any issues or questions that may arise.
One of the best ways to meet your marketing goals is to start using a content calendar. The entire process helps you hone in on the types of information that are important to your clients. The process can also help you identify SEO needs while helping you manage different types of content.
Ultimately, a content calendar helps you manage both content and team members. You can ensure that each team member knows what his or her responsibilities are and when content needs to be published. Your content calendar should include a wide range of different content types including things like blog posts, podcasts, and infographics. Make sure to pair your content calendar with your social media calendar and social media strategy for the best results. Brainstorm wiht your team members to repurpose content pieces and keep track of everything with calendar tools such as Asana and Google Calendar.
Whether you decide to write your own content in-house or choose to hire freelance writers, using a content calendar can help you stay on track. If you're struggling to produce quality content, The Writer Finder can help you connect with professional writers that are able to write everything from blog posts and social media content to whitepapers.