We’re here to help with your 2017. That’s right: there is one thing you can do now that will dramatically improve how you feel when you walk in the door after all the holiday festivities. No, we’re not suggesting that you swear off cookies and wine for the next few weeks. We are recommending that you make yourself a content marketing calendar that covers the first quarter of the coming year.
Creating a content calendar is as easy as using an agenda or spreadsheet to map out each week, and scheduling each piece of content— be it a blog post, a social media post, or a newsletter send. This one little exercise will anchor you now, and will help you and your team anticipate what needs to happen in the coming weeks.
Done right, a content calendar becomes a valuable tool for macro and micro planning — scheduling everything from grand themes to granular social media posts. It also enables you to sync your content with your other marketing and advertising projects to ensure that the right messages get to your audiences at the right time, via the optimal channel.
How to build your content calendar
Build your content calendar in a spreadsheet, shared calendar, or one of the myriad online content planning tools available. There is no one calendar to rule them all; the best content calendar is the one that works for you and your organization. Want to see some examples? This Content Marketing Forum post contains some excellent sample content calendars with different structures, content types and criteria such as target audience.
Before building your content calendar, take some time to write down the objectives of your various marketing channels. Knowing your objectives will help you see how all the moving pieces fit together, making it easier for you to generate ideas and topics to advance each objective.
Then begin roughing out your content around key seasonal events, promotions, sales cycles and any themes that are relevant to your business. These themes will form the core of your weekly content cycle. Then fill in your calendar with specific topics and content pieces, broken out by day and channel.
Think about your production process: how long does it take to write, design and integrate new content? Pace the production in your calendar so there is enough time to develop your content (copy, images and integration). And make sure you buffer your scheduled content to cover any reviews and approvals you may require.
An essential marketing tool
A consistent and up-to-date content calendar is crucial for any kind of content creation— and particularly any content that is posted or sent at regular intervals. Once you understand your content goals and have sketched out its themes and topics, you will have more bandwidth to explore, research and create great content around these topics.