A business's success with lead generation and search engine optimization is intricately linked to the strength of the organization's content marketing strategies. Across industries, it's clear that if brands want to engage prospects and strengthen their relationship with existing clients, they have to generate content that intrigues target audiences and positions them as thought leaders of their industry. This is impossible if businesses don't have an organized, strategic approach to content marketing, so a thoroughly planned calendar is a must. While creating agendas for various social media platforms, blogs or other channels is a wise choice, it's important to have a central calendar marketing decision-makers can refer to.
When creating and managing a content calendar, there are several best practices to consider:
- Mark important dates: When planning a content marketing plan for the month or quarter ahead, it's a good idea to note special events like product or service launches, report or white paper releases, webinars, open houses and industry conferences. Establishing dates well ahead of time allows businesses to plan content leading up to events on multiple marketing channels, thereby ensuring they effectively reach leads. Additionally, brands should determine when frequently or periodically distributed repeat content like newsletters should be disseminated.
- Do the research: Once important dates are established, marketers have a better idea of which days need to be filled with content. While quantity over quality is never an advisable motto to follow in content marketing, businesses should ensure they're consistently delivering something of value. The intended audience determines the value of the content. It's essential to not only research industry trends, but to also analyze the business's unique audience to determine what types of content – like white papers, case studies or evergreen articles, for example – and which channels – such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or email marketing – are most effective.
- Create themes, but keep it original: While various types of media shared by brands may share the same underlying message, content should always be fresh. That information shared via social media, blogs and other outlets that covers the same topic should approach it from different angles. For example, when promoting a webinar, one message can profile the host or speaker while another discusses how readers would benefit from attending the event.
- Maintain flexibility: While the point of creating a content calendar is to establish a plan, unforeseeable occurrences can shift marketers' priorities. That's why it's important to constantly monitor customers' interactions with the brand as well as developments in the industry to ensure the business can address news or changing behaviors in real time.