A content calendar, or editorial calendar, is used by publishers, bloggers, and businesses to strategize content marketing across multiple platforms. Content calendars help teams stay organized and plan comprehensive content that give their readers real value. Without one, most content marketing strategies are ineffective. They are not planned effectively and follow no clear vision or path to achieving any goals.
By using a content calendar, you’ll never miss the opportunity for seasonal content or important updates. The editor or leader of your content marketing team can collaborate with team members more effectively. Plus, you’ll gain a better understanding of your own strategy by laying out in weekly or monthly increments. Using a content calendar is elementary for marketing success, and the setup process is easy. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1. Research
Many businesses have weak content marketing strategies because their content is shallow and sales-y, offering no real value to the customer visiting the page. Businesses recycle cliché content ideas because they believe that “clickbait” titles will actually sell. This is far from the reality. Content marketing can’t be done right unless your topics are useful to customers and provide unique insight they can’t get anywhere else.
Before you start writing, you need to research your target market. Find the most searched keywords in your industry, then create content surrounding those inquiries. Research trends in your industry, including new technologies and controversies that your business can provide insight for readers. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the better content ideas and writing you’ll be able to produce.
Step 2. Audit
Before creating new content, go through the existing content on your website. Compare site pages and blogs to see what is best performing and what needs improvement. This will give you a better idea of what you want your future content to look like and which strategies in your campaign are working best. You may also want to rewrite core pages on your website if they have high bounce rates or don’t convert at the rate you’d like them to.
A comprehensive SEO audit can help you optimize your website for the best user experience. Fixing bugs and optimizing content based on your research will help your site receive better rankings in the search engines. It will also increase the click-through-rate (CTR) of your website. When a user finds one informational page or article, they’ll be more likely to scan your site looking for more.
Step 3. Bookmark Important Dates
Planning out content a week or a month in advance gives you the advantage. You can create better posts surrounding important events and sales, rather than trying to create a promotional campaign last-minute. This will also help your marketing team stay organized and communicate about campaign highlights or specials you want to promote. As you’re planning your content, mark dates where you’ll want to create special content, such as for:
- All holidays
- Seasonal sales
- Product launches
- Company events
- Special campaigns or projects
- Company milestones
Step 4. Write Out Your Content Ideas
Start with writing the titles of articles or videos you plan to share over the week or month you’re planning with your content calendar. If you are planning for the next month, write 30 titles for one article, video, or share each day. Knock out any content surrounding the important dates you bookmarked. Then fill in the rest with content that your research shows will perform well.
To keep track of your titles, keep an index of content for every week or month. You can refer to this index later on to avoid creating duplicate content or overusing an idea. This index can also help you keep track of page links, date posted, and any other information your team might need to keep for reference.
Step 5. Plan Each Day
Once you have all of your titles written, plan out your posting and sharing schedule on the calendar. Ideally, you’ll plan a day to post all of your content on your website, or have each post planned for two days – one to create, and one to post and share. You can also write notes to comment, post images, and curate content for your social feeds. Each day should have a clear plan of what needs to be accomplished.
A content calendar will change the way you execute your content and social media marketing strategies. Having a plan in place will not only strengthen your overall strategy, it will help your team communicate and curate novel ideas for your content marketing plan. If you don’t have a content calendar yet, follow these five steps and practice making one now.
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