Think like a publisher and plan ahead to ensure fresh content
If content marketing is important to your marketing effort then you need to start thinking like a publisher. Creating fresh content on a regular basis requires planning to ensure you feed your social media channels, turn up in search and nurture customers and prospects through each stage of the sales cycle.
An editorial content calendar helps you manage your content marketing process. It ensures that your content – press releases, white papers, case studies, articles, blog posts, videos, and more – are ready when you need them for maximum impact.
Determine your annual content needs
Plan your calendar with a year-long view. Consider the following dates or milestones as you plan the content you need:
- Product or service offering launches: Figure out what content you’ll need to reach targets with your new offerings. You might need a mix of press releases, blog announcements, updates to your website, videos, a white paper and more to support the launch.
- Company events: Factor in your attendance at trade shows or conferences.
- Selling cycle: Determine if you need to disseminate specific information to support selling cycles in your industry.
- Industry announcements: Decide if you need content timed to counteract competitors’ planned launches or coincide with the release of annual research.
- Be opportunistic: In addition to the above, allow for developments within your industry that might create a need for new content.
Create and manage your calendar
To ensure you stay on top of your calendar and that the content supports your marketing objectives:
- Appoint a calendar coordinator: Put one person in charge of the calendar to keep it up to date and ensure content creation meets goals and deadlines.
- Assign responsibilities: Each piece of content needs a producer who is responsible for seeing the content through to development and, if necessary, design.
- Identify audience: Align your content with the appropriate audience(s) based on their need for information to furthering the engagement and/or the buying process.
- Determine distribution: Determine the best channels for distributing your content and re-purposing it for other materials. A blog post should also be targeted for appropriate social media channels and bookmarking sites and can be included in an email marketing campaign or newsletter.
- Set metrics: Establish metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your content in meeting objectives.
You can create your own calendar; content calendar templates also are available from a number of sources online. Once your calendar is complete, make it available to your team on your company server or in the clouds. Used properly, your editorial calendar is an invaluable tool to keep you on track to provide content that connects with your audiences.