We all know what a Calendar is. A Content Calendar functions pretty much the same way. A content calendar is a document that allows you to plan your content creation, publishing, promotion and measuring your content marketing efforts. The major benefits of a marketing calendar are:
- It simplifies the content creation process
Content calendar makes it easy for you to develop ideas and topics for your blogs, social media websites (Facebook, twitter, Google+, etc), etc. With it, you are able to sit down and determine the kind of topics you want to share per time, either for a week, a month or months at a stretch.
- It helps you to plan and organize your content publishing around events, dates and launches
A content calendar helps you to plan contents for your seasonal or yearly events, product launches, dates etc. Planning these events ahead will help you to have enough time to put in your best. Many big companies plan their contents in advance before it actually takes place and this positions them on top of their competition.
- Gives you enough time to create your content
You have enough time to write or outsource your content creation as the case may be, long before the time you need it. You have enough time to conduct research, look into case studies and produce epic content that you audience and search engines will love to see.
Your content calendar need to have a time-frame to make it easy for you to track and measure your return on investment. Although, everyone uses a different time-frame depending on business needs. However, the appropriate thing should be to develop your theme for the year. Your theme should spring from your business objective for the year. This includes what you hope to achieve in the course of the new year. Now, you can develop topics and ideas around your objectives. You can gather your ideas and topics over a year's period and then structure it out on a monthly basis. With this, you can measure your achievement
on a monthly basis and then conclude it when the year ends.
The content of the calendar
In my article titled How to develop a winning content marketing strategy for b2b business". I made mention of knowing the needs of your audience. Knowing their needs will enable you to know what type of content to develop for them. You can serve your contents in different formats such as:
- Blog posts
- Power point Presentations
- Charts and Graphs
- Magazines articles
- Webinars and Teleseminars
- Speeches, workshops, interview
- Tutorials and guides
- White papers and special reports
However, if you are just starting your content marketing strategy, I will advise you to start with your business blog. Then when you become an expert, you can add other types of content to it. Before you settle for the type of content to create for your audience, make sure it is something you can create and that your audience will like to receive the information in the format you are serving it.
It is time to schedule your publication. In doing this, you will need to decide the frequency, length and style of your content. The frequency of publishing should be according to your business needs. Some business owners blog every day, some
once in a week and others on a monthly basis. You need to choose the system that best work for your business. In deciding that, you need to factor in the time it will take you to create other types of contents, engage with your fans on social media, reply to comments on your blogs etc.
The length of your contents also depends on your choice. Content marketing industry leaders advocates long posts (1000 - 3,000) as opposed to short ones (300-500) commonly seen around. The reason behind this is that long post
allows you to delve into the heart of the topic to give your audience all they need to know about that topic, making you an authority in that regard. You also need to determine the length of your podcasts, video, webinars etc.
There are different types of content style such as Chatty, friendly, business-like, brash, etc. Personally, I prefer to go with the friendly style. It allows your audience to connect with you easily, giving them better understanding of your topic.
Content calendar tools
There are several calendar tools online for business owners who finds it difficult to create one. A calendar tool help you to stay organized and there are different types of it. The major thing here is to make sure that it has the features you need, such as sharing, follow-up, collaboration etc. Ensure that your team can utilize it effectively for content scheduling. Below are tools you can use for your business:
Google docs is owned by Google and it is the same thing as using Microsoft Excel. However, you can get free templates to adapt to your business here. When you create your calendar on Google docs, it enables you to collaborate and edit as a
team. Every team member can log in, check and know the publication dates, keywords, promotion days etc.
The WordPress editorial calendar provides an overview of your blog and when you need to make your post. It has several features such as drag and drop feature to help you change your post dates, publish post titles, contents and times, See the status of your posts, manage posts from multiple authors etc. You can use this plugin if your business is still growing. It does not have the capability to track content nor feature for social media posts.
Hubspot editorial calendar is suitable for business owners who are new to content marketing. It includes type of content, keywords and dates. All you need to do is to type in your content ideas and start working on it. It helps you to keep your topics organized, track keyword and call to action use and ensure that content is developed with the specified time and money. However, as your team grows, you may need to look for a more comprehensive calendar.
Coschedule provide a better WordPress plugin editorial calendar that is more comprehensive and you can try it out for free for 14 days after which you can upgrade to the paid plan.
Kapost has the best editorial calendar tools. It is used by top b2b business such as CBS, Cisco and Content marketing institute. The software has the capabilities to track your content marketing workflow from beginning to the end. It is good for big corporations that creates enormous content and have lots of team members. The Kapost software is not free, the price starts from $2,000 per month.
Content calendar is a must if you must track your marketing effects to know your return on investment. It also enables you to plan ahead of time, so that you can create useful content for your audience and be on top of your competition.