Content Calendar

Successful Content Marketing

There’s a reason why content marketing has exploded–it’s really effective. 54% of B2B marketers will be investing more towards content in 2013. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of content calendars. They are these handy-dandy documents or spreadsheets where you can plan out your blog content and TOFu offers well in advance. Are you using one? If the answer is no, you really should. If you’re worried about having to introduce anything else to your burgeoning task list, read on. It’s true that planning content for an entire month takes time, but it’s going to help you feel a lot less like you’re drowning in words:

1. You Can Avoid Redundancy

Every writer in the world has topics they love covering and others that just aren’t as fun. If you’re in the habit of generating content on the fly (or at 7pm on a Friday evening), there’s a strong chance your work is going to have a lot less variety and interest to readers than if you took the time to ensure you’re covering subjects equally.

2. Write More Relevant Content

Unless your company has a single buyer persona and little-to-no variation in the demographics and needs of people who are purchasing your products and services, you can’t write in the same way all the time. You need to focus on targeting questions that match the interests of all of your personas, especially the people you’re trying to attract and convert.

3. It Encourages More Consistency

If you’re struggling with posting on a consistent basis, you’re probably not doing anyone any favors. Your readers want consistency, and Google’s search spiders love reading and indexing fresh material. Make getting at least a week ahead on content your priority so you never skip a post due to a busy day or sick leave.

4. It’s Scale-able

Wouldn’t it be great if your company expanded to the point where you had to hire a whole bunch more writers? Ours company has, and it’s fabulous. Effective growth requires good systems, and it’s much easier to get organized from the start than when you’ve already got 6 or 7 writers and your content strategy is a disaster. Sharing your content calendar in a Google doc or a project management software (we use Teamwork PM) can ensure that your whole writing team is on the same page and working towards a unified goal.

5. It’s Better for Research

Remember when you discovered those fabulous inbound marketing statistics that you just had to share in your next piece of blog content? And how you forgot to bookmark the page and couldn’t remember where they were located when you finally sat down to blog? It happens to the best of us. Get into the habit of keeping your content calendar just a click away when you’re cruising your favorite blogs, and annotate your assignments in advance.

6. You Can Include Different Formats

The world’s best content calendars aren’t just lists of blog titles, though that’s certainly a step in the right direction. They include infographics, video content, social media promotion and eBook creation to ensure you stay right on track.

7. It Balances Blogging with Content Offers

Outstanding content takes time, and your average content creator or small business owner has too much on their plate to spend an entire Tuesday writing their next great eBook or whitepaper. Plan out your eBook offers in steps to ensure your workload is stable.

8. It’s Friendly to Any Future Search Updates

No matter what update Google rolls out next week or next year, a content calendar is a valuable component of an inbound marketing strategy for the future. People will always want to get their hands on quality information. Planning to develop and publish a high velocity of quality content will help your company rise to the top of search engines and convert prospects in the age of Panda, Penguin or any other search algorithm updates.

9. You Can Apply Analytics

You almost certainly have some days and topics which fare better than others. I can’t tell you if your readers stop by on Mondays or Thursdays, but HubSpot or another web analytics tool can. Applying inbound marketing metrics to planning out content could triple your blog subscribers, social shares and website traffic.

½. You Can Still Be Spontaneous

One of the biggest objections of content creators to getting organized is the assumption that when you plan out content in advance, spontaneity will die. “How can I possibly newsjack enormous stories in my industry or write from a place of pure inspiration if I’m scheduled to cover a lettuce-washing tutorial next Tuesday?”

Writers, no one will die if you want to depart from schedule to newsjack or write from a place of inspiration. A content calendar just ensures your blog doesn’t go dark on the days when you’re not feeling quite as inspired–and we all have those from time to time.

Why Do You Love Your Content Calendar?