How to Plan a Business Content Marketing Calendar
Create consistent, relevant content that helps your current customers and attracts potential clients. Sounds like an easy content marketing goal, right? Executing it is the tricky part. You must plan ahead and do research. You must know who your specific target audience is, what matters most to them, and where they prefer to consume content.
To achieve greater success online, develop a content marketing calendar for your business. It makes maintaining your plan much easier and ensures everyone in your organization is on the same page. Here are some ideas to get you started on your digital marketing plan.
Content Marketing Goals
The key to success for any business is connecting directly with its customers with helpful content that guides them through their buying journey. What questions do they have about your services or industry? What are their pain points? How can you gain their loyalty and be helpful without selling them something?
We’re all tired of being hawked something every second of the day. Just be helpful and you’ll win their trust. You can answer a customer’s common questions and solve their problems by covering specific topics on your company blog, social media accounts, emails and newsletters.
We’re all tired of being hawked something every second of the day. Just be helpful and you’ll win their trust.
Tracking targeted topics — and writing a strategic plan for executing them — on a content marketing calendar throughout the year helps connect your company directly to customers and keeps your business stakeholders aligned with your message.
Identify Your Target Market
You first must identify your target audience and create a buyer persona for your ideal customer. Beyond the general demographics, what are their behavior patterns, motivations and goals? How do existing customers consume your company’s content? What are their specific needs and concerns?
With that ideal customer in mind, craft a content marketing plan that includes a variety of topics and content types that will be helpful, innovative and showcase your company’s brand identity and voice. Do you want your message to be irreverent/serious/educational/fun-loving/inspirational? Can you tell your company’s story in a unique way through a video, clever social media posts, or a series of blog posts on your website?
Start a Content Calendar
A content calendar can be planned around seasonality/themes, industry trends/events, product launches, company news and announcements. It should also include “evergreen” content that works any time of the year, tips and trends, and repurposed content your company already created.
And the good news? You may already have the content you need to fill the entire calendar! Got PowerPoint slide decks leftover from training sessions? Turn them into videos, blog posts or online slide decks. Surveyed your customers lately? Repurpose the results into an infographic or news story about your company. Are you good at answering customers’ questions? Showcase those skills in a video, podcast or blog.
Perhaps choose 12 monthly topics, or themes, for the year. Then once a quarter, use a weekly worksheet to flesh out each of the monthly topics. You may want to keep a master calendar for all content ideas, and a second one that’s more specific to the project at hand. For instance, a blog post on the calendar might include information on: post date, author, tentative title, keywords, category tags, call to action, and production status.
Does seasonality impact your small business? Take marketing advantage during slow times by scheduling content around events like trade shows, conferences, product launches and other updates. Want to keep your customers engaged and coming back? Provide helpful information that explains a process that customers often ask about, or tell a story about your business/happy customer/unique employee.
Implement Your Content Plan
Once you’ve nailed down the content topics and types, it’s time to schedule, publish, promote and track it using your content marketing calendar. Plan for multiple platforms, such as email sends, blog posts, newsletters, PR news releases, and social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Track each piece of content with call-to-action blurbs that will show you how customers find your company. Ask them to download your eBook, follow you on Instagram, register for your webinar, or share your blog post with a friend or colleague.
A content marketing calendar doesn’t need to be complicated, but it needs a plan and, more importantly, follow through. If you don’t have time to devote to developing and executing your company’s content marketing plan, contact Red Pen for a customized strategy.
Tips to Stay on Track
Follow these content marketing tips to stay on track all year:
• Know who you’re trying to reach.
• Connect with customers in the format they prefer.
• Define a precise content marketing plan with topics and types.
• Identify and share your message on the right channels.
• Schedule content consistently throughout the year.