Is content marketing one of your business’ promotional strategies? If so, how do you find time and stay on schedule when it comes to creating social media updates, blog posts, e-newsletters, white papers, infographics, videos, images, etc.?
While content creation is a valuable and affordable approach to marketing, it does require time and resources. Follow this guide to create a content schedule for your brand, or if you don’t have the capacity to handle it yourself, feel free to contact us to find out how we can assist your efforts!
1. Determine Content Marketing Elements to Invest In
What types of content marketing elements will you include in your strategy? The big three I usually recommend are blogging, social media and email marketing, although you may also want to consider infographics, videos, images, white papers, case studies or podcasts.
Start by thinking about your goals. What do you hope to accomplish with your content marketing efforts? That will help guide you towards the best tactics for your brand.
For example, if you want to increase your website traffic, you probably want to focus on blogging, social media and social media advertising. However, if your goal is higher engagement with your contacts, email marketing, social media and videos/images/infographics might be a better investment.
Also consider your content marketing budget. How much do you have to spend on content creation? This will also direct which types of content marketing elements you invest in for your business.
2. Determine Content Creation Frequency
How often will you update your blog, social media pages, email newsletter, podcast, etc.? Content creation takes time, so figuring out how often you plan to publish new content is key to developing a successful content marketing schedule.
If you’re just starting with content marketing, here’s a possible layout of frequency to get you started.
- Social Media Updates: One per day on each platform
- Blogging: One per week
- Podcasts: One per week
- Social Media Ads: Two per month
- Email Newsletters: One per month
- Videos: One per month
- Images: Two per month
- Infographics: One per quarter
- White Papers: One per quarter
- Case Studies: One per quarter
Of course, you may not invest in all the above content marketing elements, but you can pick out those you intend to use and keep the frequency in mind as you plan your content creation schedule.
Remember to think about more specifics than just “blogging” or “social media,” too. Get really specific about which content marketing tactics you’re going to use. For example:
- One 1500-2000 word blog post per week
- One Facebook update per day, one Twitter update per day and five Instagram updates per week
3. Research Content Marketing Keywords
Now that you know what types of content marketing elements you’ll be creating and how often you want them to go live, it’s time start to plan specific topics.
The best place to start is with your keywords. What terms will your target users search for when they look for a business like yours?
Start by coming up with a list of your company’s most relevant topics, then brainstorm each topic with potential words or phrases users may search for. You can come up with even more ideas by just going to Google and typing in the words/phrases you already have. Then scroll down to the bottom and look at the suggestions of related topics and write down any that are a good fit for your business.
Make sure your list has a combination of head terms and long-tail keywords. Not sure what that means? As Hubspot explains:
Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic — they’re typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
Why is a mixture so important? Head terms are the ones that are searched for more often, but they’re usually harder to rank for – there’s more competition for them. They’re still important to use though, because they come up in more searches, providing the most possibility of website traffic.
However, using long-tail keywords is important too. Even though they might not be searched for quite as often, when someone does type that phrase into Google, the chances they’re looking for a business like yours is much higher. Long-tail keywords may produce fewer leads, but they’re often higher quality.
By including both head terms and long-tail keywords on your list, you’ll be able to balance the results you receive and ideally see even better results in your content marketing strategy.
4. Create a Content Creation Calendar
Once you have your list of potential keywords, think about what types of topics you can use in your content creation efforts. For example, if your company sells widgets, one of your keywords is likely, “best widgets.” Brainstorm a variety of topics you could use that phrase in naturally, such as:
- Best widgets for men
- Best widgets for women
- Best widgets for the fall
- Best widgets in the summer
- Best widgets of 2018
- Best widgets to help you have a better day
In addition to thinking about subjects that are a good fit for your content marketing keywords, think about seasonal or timely topics to plan for:
- Go to Days Of The Year to look for any holidays that may relate well to your brand
- Think about seasonal elements you want to tie into, such as Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day
- Consider your industry’s peaks and valleys – is there a time of year everyone is looking for widgets that you want to capitalize on? Or a slow time of year you want to come up with some creative ideas for?
Once you have a list of possible content creation topics, pull out your calendar and start plugging in when you want to publish each theme. Add the seasonal and timely ideas first, followed by any other ideas that will work regardless of the time of year.
5. Fill In Your Content Creation Schedule
Now that you know when you want each content marketing element to go live, you can work backwards to figure out when to start working on each item. Make sure you build in time for someone to proofread your content for you too – you’d be surprised what a second set of eyes can catch.
When it comes to content creation, I like to start early and break the task into smaller, easier to complete pieces. This helps me feel less overwhelmed, even as I tackle bigger projects like infographics that can take a lot of research, careful writing and graphic design. Here are a couple of examples of how I manage content creation.
Example 1: 1500-2000 word blog post going live September 25
- September 11 (2 weeks in advance): Finalize topic and create a basic outline.
- September 14 (1.5 weeks in advance): Research any outside sources I want to use (e.g. statistics, helpful articles to reinforce a point, necessary charts/screenshots, etc.)
- September 18 (1 week in advance): Draft my post and send to a colleague or two to proofread for me.
- September 20 (5 days in advance): Add any additional images I want to include in the post.
- September 21 (4 days in advance): Draft social media updates promoting the blog post and send to a colleague or two to proofread for me.
- September 24 (1 day in advance): Upload the post to our blog and schedule it to go live on the 25th.
- September 25 (day-of): Pull the live link and use it to schedule my social media updates promoting the post.
As you can see, each item on that list is much less overwhelming than trying to sit down and do it all at once. Long blog posts aren’t the only content creation tasks to split up like this, either.
Example 2: Social media updates going live the week of September 17
- September 10 (1 week in advance): Spend some time reading industry articles and making note of any that stand out to me as particularly interesting.
- September 11 (6 days in advance): Decide which content I’ll share on which platforms and on which days. For example
- On Monday I’ll share a video I recently created on Facebook and a fun infographic I found on Twitter.
- On Tuesday I’ll link to an interesting article I read about my industry on Facebook and a recent blog post I wrote on Twitter.
- September 12 (5 days in advance): Draft half the social media updates (e.g. all the ones for Facebook).
- September 13 (4 days in advance): Draft the other half of the social media updates and then send all of them to a colleague or two for proofreading.
- September 14 or 15 (2-3 days in advance): Schedule out the final updates using Facebook’s scheduler or a third-party program like Hootsuite.
Once you go through your calendar and make notes about when to do which content creation tasks, you’re ready to get started!
Another element to consider here is the types of content you’ll share on your social media platforms. In addition to filling in the topics you plan to publish, consider what types of updates you want to include: videos, images, articles, infographics, podcasts, etc. How many of them will you need to create and how many will you curate from other places?
In your content creation calendar, make sure you pay attention to when you want to share items on social media, and therefore when they either need to be created or found by, and then build time into to find them or create them.
6. Remember Your Content Marketing Analytics
While you have your calendar up, there’s one more item to note: Add reminders to check your analytics every 4-6 weeks. By reviewing the numbers and comparing them to the previous 4-6 weeks, you can see an overview of how your content marketing strategy is going and determine if you want to revise anything.
It’s important to note that a successful content marketing strategy takes time (at least 12-18 months of consistent creation and promotion), however by regularly looking at the analytics you can make small tweaks such as when your social media updates go live and types of content you share, or if you notice a certain topic performs well on your blog you can write more posts about it.
Are you ready to jump into content creation for your marketing campaign? Check out the articles below for more helpful advice. Be sure to contact us if you’d like some help managing your content marketing campaign, too!