Content marketing gives companies a unique opportunity to show off their expertise and provide information that can generate leads and close sales. In this context, failing to build a content calendar can do significant harm to your business.
Make sure you avoid falling into the common traps by following the advice on how to rearrange your marketing efforts into a content calendar for optimum results below.
Recommended further reading: Successful Digital Marketing Strategies Have These Three Things.
Schedule Everything Through a Content Calendar
A content calendar is a shareable resource that all the marketing teams in your business can use to plan content. Instead of cherrypicking content from a long and unstructured list, a calendar will allow you to visualize how every piece of content is published throughout a certain period of time—usually 12 months. The main benefits of this approach include:
- Coordinating team efforts with a content calendar: Making sure your marketing team, salespeople and managers have full visibility over your content calendar is key to optimizing results. It ensures the content you create to support overarching campaigns is published at the right time, you don’t stray from your strategy and all content creation stays on schedule.
- Spotting logical opportunities for future content: Creating a content calendar gives you a detailed overview of all your content and its recurring themes. This simplifies scheduling, makes it easier to plan ahead and makes sure you have the visibility to produce and publish seasonal content on time.
- Maintaining a consistent brand voice: Your brand voice can define how successful your content efforts are. Creating a calendar will allow you to see whether your content calendar represents your brand’s beliefs, values and unique selling propositions (USPs) holistically. If it doesn’t, you will have the insight needed to tweak it accordingly.
Perform a Target Audience Analysis
Performing a target audience analysis will help you fine-tune your content calendar so that it supports your key business objectives. Organize and plan your content better by asking yourself the following three questions:
- Which content formats will best engage my audience and achieve my goals?
- When is my audience online?
- Where does my audience look for content?
Using the Right Content to Engage Your Audience
You need to choose the correct format if you want to ensure your content engages its intended audience and achieves its core objectives. Not sure how to do this? Here’s an overview of how you can switch up content formats based on two of the most common marketing goals:
Brand awareness: Content marketing is one of the best ways to achieve brand awareness. However, content that builds brand awareness must convey vital information in a way that’s easy to understand and makes your business stand out. Rather than crafting a single data-packed ebook, this means your content calendar should include:
- Variety of articles, including topical industry posts, how-to posts and top 10 lists
- Video storytelling
- Eye-catching infographics
- SlideShare presentations
Lead generation: To create lead generation content, you will used “gated content” where a prospect must give you their email address contact information to access the particular article or white paper. Consequently, you will need to provide strong social proof and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Instead of writing a typical blog post, this means you should:
- Educate prospects and customers with ebooks (Need help? This this is a good ebook generator)
- Explore your product or service in an ultimate guide
- Address your prospects wants and needs through case studies
- Issue original data and research through white papers
How to use this information to rearrange your content calendar: The way you present your content is crucial to gaining your audience’s attention or winning leads. If your main objective is to achieve brand awareness and your content calendar is built around ebooks and white papers, you might need to consider breaking down the information and rearranging it into more user-friendly portions, such as a blog series. Likewise, if your main goal is to generate leads, you may need to collate all the blog ideas in your schedule into a larger plan.
Determine When Your Audience is Online
There are comprehensive studies into the best time to post, but you’re unlikely to find conclusive times that apply to all industries and channels.
B2B and B2C customers, for instance, often behave differently online, as do users who favor Twitter over Instagram. Consequently, you will need to look at the analytics tools of each social network you publish on or use trial and error to adjust your schedule for maximum engagement.
Let’s say you’re a business that targets B2B buyers and decision makers. Posting your content just before 7:00 in the morning and then again around 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening could help you catch commuters that use mobile devices to check their social feeds during rush hour.
Alternatively, if your business is targeting new parents, posting content at 2:00 a.m. could be the perfect time to reach sleep-deprived people who are up late with their baby.
The peak time to reach your audience changes across each industry and industry. Taking the time to analyze when your audience is online, and rearranging your schedule accordingly, means your content will stand a much better chance of gaining the visibility that it deserves.
Where Does Your Audience Discover Content
With so many channels available, it’s difficult to know where to publish your content to achieve the most success. Even though it can be tempting to publish your content equally across all the major social media networks, you will need to consider how active your audience is on each platform to make the most of your efforts.
Here’s a quick overview of the value Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can provide.
Scheduling content on Facebook: As the biggest social network, you might that your content faces a lot of competition and achieves limited reach on this platform. However, if you are prepared to pay for promotion, it can be a great platform for building brand awareness. Via Ads Manager, you can target your content at groups of people based on their location, demographics, and an extensive list of interests and behaviors. Studies also suggest that active users are weighted towards an older audience.
Scheduling content on Twitter: Utilizing real-time updates and hashtags, Twitter is a great platform for sharing news about your business and generating brand awareness. Matching your content with popular hashtags can also help you jump on trending conversation and gain free publicity. Twitter polls are also an easy way to interact with your audience and ask their opinion, get feedback on your products and services, and identify topics customers would like you to create content around.
Scheduling content on Instagram: As a visual-based platform, Instagram is ideal for lifestyle businesses and ecommerce brands that want to showcase their products through high-quality photos and short videos. As a result, it’s the platform of choice for many retail, food and beauty-based businesses. Users under 35 make up more than 70% of Instagram’s 800 million active users, which means you need to on it if your target audience includes significant numbers of Millennials and Generation Z.
How to use this information to rearrange your content calendar: The best social network for your business depends on your target audience. For example, Instagram is the best place to showcase products to a younger audience, while Millenials are more likely to share content on Facebook.
There are loads of free tools you can use to see how your social media audience aligns with your target audience. Using the data acquired, adjust your content calendar to ensure your publishing on the platform where the greater proportion of target audience looks for content.
Review Your Content Calendar Regularly
Arguably the most important aspect of nailing your content calendar is reviewing your past successes and failures. In addition to regularly rechecking when your audience is online and where they look for content, using Google Analytics (GA) to monitor your website’s traffic is crucial.
Installing GA means you’ll be able to see how many people view your content, how long they spend on each page, what country they are from, what device they are using, whether they are coming from social or directly from a search engine, and more.
How to use this information to rearrange your content calendar: To ensure that your content marketing strategy remains on target, consider reviewing your schedule every six months. If you’re thinking of investing in a new domain or your business is relatively new, it’s recommended that review it even more regularly.
From a financial perspective, committing to regular content campaigns can get expensive. For this reason, tweaking your schedule based on what your audience likes and doesn’t like is the most effective way to tailor your content so that it achieves the best possible results.
Content marketing is essential to modern business, but it takes a lot of time and effort to create and distribute. Failing to coordinate your content calendar properly could see all that hard work amount to nothing. You stand a much better chance of rearranging your content calendar for optimum results when you discover when and where your audience is online and what content formats they enjoy.