generate leads online calendar

As the world is goes online at breakneck speed, businesses are expected to generate ever-more content to attract online prospects and convert them into loyal customers. Companies vying for the hearts and minds of online consumers are relying on their marketing teams to deliver content in shorter periods of time. In order to calm the content chaos, beleaguered marketers should turn to an old friend: the trusty editorial calendar.

For the uninitiated, here are six tips to building a killer editorial calendar that will keep the content flowin’ without the heads rollin’.

Ask Yourself Why – Before doing anything, make sure to ask one simple question: Why are we producing this content? Start with the bottom line. Make sure your content, and by extension your editorial calendar, aligns with your business goals. Regardless of whether you want to build brand awareness or generate leads online, your stated goal should be more than simply “to drive web traffic.”¹ Unfocused goals lead to unfocused content, which usually ends up producing little more than pink slips and red numbers.

Define Your Audience – Remember the end game. You want to create quality content that is relevant to your buyers’ needs. Before you develop an editorial calendar, you’ll need to understand who your target audience is, what their biggest concerns are and what types of content they are looking for. Do this by creating buyer personas, surveying your target audience to understand their needs, or asking your sales team about the conversations they have with buyers.

Choose a Calendar Format – Once you define your target audience, you need to choose a calendar format that works best for you. When choosing an editorial calendar format, consider two things – organization and clarity. An effective editorial calendar should organize your content in a clear and concise manner. Remember, your editorial calendar doesn’t need to be complicated. You can keep it in an Excel file and use different tabs for each project. Just make sure to choose a calendar format that you’ll use and stick to.

Set Specific Content Goals –Begin here by analyzing how much traffic, how many leads, and how many customers you are trying to bring in each month. Analyze your previous marketing efforts to determine how many pieces of content you will typically need to reach those goals, i.e. how many e-books, blog posts, etc.  If your goal is to double the amount of traffic and leads you generate in a given month, you may have to produce twice as much content.² Detailing your content strategy with an editorial calendar will allow you to experiment and compare results.

Build Out Your Calendar – Now that everything else is in place, it is time to build out your editorial calendar. Ideally, you want a mix of content types, topics, and buyer personas to make sure you’re covering the breadth of your target audience. Create separate tabs in your editorial calendar document for different content, such as blog posts, webinars, ebooks, videos, etc. By doing so you can make sure you’re publishing enough of each kind of content, and spreading that content appropriately among your targeted personas and stages of the buying cycle.²

Create a Repurposing Strategy– Whether or not you have a team of marketers pumping out high-quality copy, a solid content repurposing strategy will save time and keep your businesses messaging consistent. If you’re writing a long content piece such as an e-book, plan a series of blogs to promote various aspects it. In this way your blog can act as a movie trailer or sneak preview for your premium content. Conversely, take a popular blog series and turn it into an e-book. Either way, make sure you are thinking about how various content pieces interrelate, and integrate this into your editorial calendar.

A well-built editorial calendar functions as a detailed architectural plan for your online marketing efforts, providing a clear blueprint for creating content that will inform users, attract prospects, build trust, generate interest, and increase website conversion.

Are you using an editorial calendar to organize your online marketing content? If so, what’s working and what isn’t?

¹ Contently.com, “Content Strategy 101: How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog”

² Hubspot, “An Insider’s Secret to Avoiding Marketing Content Shortages”