Great content marketers make their jobs look easy.…
With close to 1 billion live websites, it’s becoming abundantly clear that companies must raise the bar on content creation. This involves going above and beyond just committing to publishing content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
It requires a content marketing calendar, one that will make decisions concerning identifying topics and scheduling tasks a much simpler process. It’s a considerable undertaking, but one well worth the time and effort.
Here is how you can do it, step by step:
Step 1: Figure Out Who Your Audience Is
Understanding and focusing on your target audience is the single most important step in content creation. It helps you define who is most likely to be interested in your message, share your content via social media, and most importantly, drive revenue. This process is usually referred to as creating customer personas.
Understanding your audience means you’ll need input across multiple internal departments. Relying solely upon your marketing team is shortsighted. You will deal with multiple customer segments and various customer types, all interested in different kinds of topics. Your content needs to be scheduled, discussed, and planned accordingly.
Step 2: Answer Two Crucial Questions
These two critical questions need to be ironed out before going any further:
- Which objectives are you trying to meet? Defining your goals is critical to choosing how you’ll combine content formats. It’s no longer just about text, particular content formats have been proven to work especially well for achieving different business objectives.
- What internal resources do you have at your disposal? Understanding who will partake in content creation will simplify how you schedule their time and what role each person will play in content production. It will also help you set realistic and attainable goals for all team members.
Step 3: Grab A Content Calendar Template Or Create Your Own
There are many downloadable content creation calendars available online.
However, if you decide to go alone, then either Google Docs or Excel are practical solutions.
In choosing your content, it’s a good idea to identify an overriding topic, one where you address a given need or concern and then include subtopics for content that can be created at a later date. Creating a sequential series of posts helps with planning and scheduling, and it’s a guaranteed way to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
If you do decide to make your own calendar, make sure it includes:
- the headline,
- the date of publication for the content,
- the target audience you’re creating the content for,
- who will take part in creating the content,
- the current status of the content piece and
- the type of content format you’ll be using. This could include videos, images, infographics, business whitepapers, e-books, case studies, and more. Hubspot has an extensive list of content formats you can always go back to for some inspiration.
Content creation becomes a much simpler process when all these aforementioned items are clearly laid out. You can then adjust the schedule accordingly and not have the kinds of disruptions that are so much a part of haphazardly putting content together.
Step 4: Fill In Key Dates
Make sure your calendar clearly identifies holidays, company events, and industry events. These can be trade shows, conferences, exhibits, future product launch dates, and more. You can then plan content around these points and use them to generate content ideas. This part of calendar creation is really important as it helps you reveal plenty of marketing opportunities that might otherwise be overlooked.
Step 5: Start Brainstorming Ideas
All team members should play an active role in content creation. It spurs creativity and ensures that the content that’s created appeals to a wide audience. Ultimately, you need to have different points of view in order to appeal to all the personas you’ll be targeting.
Discuss your customers’ most pressing issues and how your content will address and possibly remove them as going concerns. Be sure to welcome everyone’s input and review the types of questions and needs your customers are likely to have. Next, focus on your core competencies and choose topics that demonstrate your company’s abilities to tackle problems head-on.
Find your existing assets such as whitepapers or CRM data and repurpose them into content pieces that will appeal to an online audience. For example, you could create an infographic from the research you’ve done.
Finally, don’t shy away from using web tools such as Feedly, Buzzsumo, and What to Write to generate even more ideas.
Step 6: Publish The Content And Measure Its Performance
Within your content, provide definitive statements and include a call to action that gives customers a reason to act and inquire. Finally, measure the content’s performance and use periods of review to set up future metrics and benchmarks on content creation.
Your content calendar will empower your team to produce the kind of content likely to be shared on social media. By bringing in multiple viewpoints, you’ll make sure your content appeals to a varied audience. In the end, it’s about understanding what your customers want, how they want it, and how you and your team can give it to them. The content creation calendar will help you do exactly that and more.