You know you need content. People are hungry for it.
Having great content that provides value to your audience is an essential part of your business.
The problem a lot of people have is producing it consistently.
Publishing one post isn't going to be a game-changer. But finding a way to consistently provide high-quality content is what brings people back. It's what makes them think of you as the go-to person or business.
It just takes some critical thinking, strategy, and execution. (You can find the first two below).
Thanks to the team at the Content Marketing Institute, here are three steps to an overflowing content calendar:
1. The basics
Start by gathering the key content marketing strategy information on which you will be basing your content creation efforts.
Your answers to the following questions will help you determine what you need to track in your calendar, as well as help you stay focused on your marketing goals as you plan your content creation.
- Who are you creating content for?
- Keeping your target audience top of mind as you create your calendar will be essential for planning how to deliver on its needs through your content marketing.
- Why are you creating content?
- Are you looking to generate leads? Increase your thought leadership? Drive attendance to your events?
- What skills and resources do you have at your disposal?
- The formats, frequency, and overall workflow you track in your calendar will likely depend on who is writing and where their expertise lies.
- How can you stand out?
- What unmet industry needs can be addressed with the content you create? What gaps exist in your current content creation efforts – or the efforts of your competitors?
- What industry events happen throughout the year to which you can tie your content for added exposure potential?
- Knowing where you can play a lead role in owning the audience’s attention will help you fill your editorial calendar with impactful content that helps you meet your business goals.
2. Setting up your calendar
There are lots of dedicated tools on the market that offer a wide range of calendaring capabilities.
For example, MyBlogU.com founder Ann Smarty says she relies on Trello, a free collaboration management tool, to help her maintain a list of content ideas, set deadlines, and remind contributors when deadlines are approaching. Trello also includes a calendar view that marketers can access as a “power-up” feature.
However, it’s perfectly fine to start out with a simple Excel spreadsheet or a shareable Google Sheet to track your content’s progress through your editorial process.
At the most fundamental level, we recommend that your editorial calendar include the following fields:
- The date the piece of content will be published
- The topic or headline of the content piece
- The author of the content
- The owner of the content – i.e., who is in charge of making sure the content makes it from ideation to publication and promotion
- The current status of the content (updated as it moves through your publishing cycle)
You may also want to track these elements to help you stay organized and on track over the long term:
- The channels where your content will be published
- Content formats
- Topic categories
- Keywords and other metadata
- Calls to action
3. Keeping your calendar filled and focused
One of the most challenging parts of building your editorial calendar is making sure you have enough relevant ideas to fill the schedule.
The CMI team also uses our editorial calendar to track the topic ideas we want to try to cover in future content pieces. Keeping a running list of ideas within our calendar spreadsheet makes it an easy reference tool when we need some topic inspiration or starter ideas for brainstorms.
In her post, How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing, CMI’s VP of Content Michele Linn suggests tracking different types of ideas in separate tabs on the spreadsheet, such as:
- Existing “brick” content that can be used as a call to action in new content pieces
- Ideas for content that can be repurposed into multiple content pieces
- Content that can be compiled and curated
The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to ways to use editorial calendars to organize your content marketing and keep your efforts moving in the right direction. What additional tips, tools, and ideas have worked well for your calendaring efforts?
Source: Content Marketing Institute
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