Welcome to 2019, everyone!
Many of you reading this will have started work on your content calendar. And those of you who are really on the ball may have already mapped out your content distribution plan for the next twelve months.
But if you’re new to content marketing – or you’ve just been feeling a little uninspired of late – it can be easy to let this all-important task fall to the wayside while your focus shifts to managing staff and catching up with clients.
Well, readers, Indy is here to give you a kick up the proverbial!
In this post, we’re going to discuss the basic structure of a company editorial calendar, then give you five brilliant reasons why you absolutely must develop a content calendar for your business this year.
What is a content calendar, then?
A content calendar is pretty much what it says on the tin: it’s a date-led document that will provide you with an editorial map for all the copy and media you produce.
It’s a valuable, shareable resource that can be used by your business to plan all your content marketing activity. And because it’s laid out in a simple, recognisable format, a content calendar can be accessed – and followed – by every member of the team.
What’s typically found in a content calendar?
A basic content calendar will contain:
- A list of all the key dates for your company; everything from the exhibitions you’re going to be attending to the team away days you’ve booked in for your staff. Events like these are great talking points.
- The topics you’re planning to cover.
- The kind of audience you want to capture with each piece of content.
- Links to any resources that might help with the creative process, such as web pages or Ebooks.
- The name of the person who is going to be responsible for creating and/or signing off the content.
- Notes on any third parties who will need to be involved in bringing the content together. For example, if you want to create an infographic for your website, you might want to work with a graphic designer who will be able to give the piece a professional finish.
- Realistic deadlines for everything you and your staff are going to be producing. ‘Realistic’ being the operative word.
- An idea of what you want to achieve with each piece of content. Do you want to encourage newsletter sign ups? Do you want to persuade the reader to get in touch with your company? Decide upon clear call to actions so the user will know exactly how they should be reacting to each of your masterpieces (and your staff will know how to monitor effectiveness and engagement).
Oh, and be sure to plan your content strategy around national holidays. Even the most diligent of marketers need to take a break sometimes!
Why on earth should I bother putting together an editorial calendar?
In our experience, there are five main reasons why content calendars are so valuable to businesses like yours.
A well-thought-out content calendar will help you:
1) Keep on top of your workload.
Finalising and sharing your content plans will ensure that everyone who’s involved in the strategy can fit their own contributions around their everyday tasks.
2) Track your resources.
It’s easy to get carried away with your content strategy, especially if you’re of a creative persuasion – but being able to total up the costs involved in creating each piece will help you stay well within your marketing budget.
3) Make sure everyone responsible for content creation is singing from the same hymn sheet.
By having a content calendar saved within your shared folders (or, if you’re still old school, plastered to the wall of your office), you’ll be making it easy for your staff to see what needs to be done and when.
4) Encourage accountability within your team.
If Sarah from sales hasn’t pulled her weight this month, you’ll soon spot a gaping hole in your blog content. If Dan from digital hasn’t signed off that landing page yet, you’ll know exactly who’s holding up your latest SEO project. You get the gist.
5) Ensure the right pieces are reaching the right people.
You probably know by now that publishing quality content is only half the battle. To make sure that what you’re creating is working hard for your business, you’ll need to carefully consider what kind of audience you’re trying to appeal to with each piece – and, crucially, how you’re going to reach them. A content calendar can help you record the actual intent of each page, blog, whitepaper, mailshot, infographic, video, and piece of printed material… and monitor the impact each item has on your enquiries and sales.
On top of all this, having a proper content calendar will save you more of that single elusive thing that often comes at a premium for companies and their staff: time.
There will be no mad rush to botch together misspelled social posts minutes before a campaign goes live. Your team will never miss a beat, because they’ll know exactly what kind of content needs to be created, way before it’s due to go live.
Ready to get creative? Hold on – you need to take a look at our 10 content marketing shortcuts for busy businesses first.
Totally overwhelmed by the thought of creating your own content calendar? Outsource this job to an agency that will gladly steer you in the right direction. Contact Indy today!