How to Plan Your Content Marketing Calendar
As the year 2016 winds to a close, it is yet again time to fine-tune or create a unique content marketing plan for your business in the year 2017.
Running a small or medium sized enterprise can be a really tough affair. Your marketing needs are as real and urgent as those of any multinational, but your marketing budget is either minuscule or non-existent. But the good news is, you don’t need to have an astronomical budget to reap big rewards for your marketing efforts. With dedication, commitment and some healthy dose of creativity, you can take advantage of content marketing calendar and the free content marketing tools that are readily available, to take your business to the next level. Actually, I’d love to add one more service for editing, it’s needful for perfect articles.
Creating a good content calendar for your business sounds like the best resolution in the coming year. But, building one from scratch is a task that seems complicated but one, that can actually be straightforward. After all, the further ahead you plan for your business, the better placed you are to produce high-quality content that promotes your brand. The plan might be weekly, monthly, or quarterly based on how your industry moves.
Do this and you will have a wonderful 2017 with a consistent flow of content to drive massive traffic to your website. Here is the ultimate guide to creating a perfect content marketing calendar.
Set a timetable for your content releases
The first step in the creation of your content marketing plan is to set a periodical timetable for your content releases. Depending on your market sector, this can be a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or semi-annual affair, or a combination of any of the above or even all of them. The timetable for release of your marketing content is dependent on a number of factors, the key factor being the type of content.
Social media tools are very powerful marketing platforms for any business. Content posted here though tends to be short, catchy and sparse in details. An online presence on Facebook and Twitter will be key for short but regular updates, which can be a daily affair for example. Blog posts, on the other hand, address key areas of interest in the business in a more in-depth manner than a Facebook post or a tweet. As such, blog posts are best suited for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly updates, which are deeper in detail but limited to a specific area of interest or sector of the business.
Quarterly or semi-annual content, on the other hand, tends to be extensive in both breadth and scope. As such, they favour newsletters and magazines which contain detailed content covering different aspects and areas of interest in the business. Depending on your business needs, choose a timetable that will give your business optimum exposure during your periodical releases.
Assign milestones for each release
Now that you have settled on a timeframe of how regularly you will be releasing marketing content, you need to come up with a schedule of each release and assign it a specific date on the calendar of the coming year. Generally speaking, a goal is always easier to achieve if it is encompassing a number of milestones, which allows you to gauge progress and make adjustments in unexpected changes. For example, if you realise that your social media posts have a bigger reach and better client engagement than blog posts, you can increase the frequency of social media posts by borrowing catchy parts of the blogs too when the appetite of your followers, with links to the full blog posts to improve the blog engagement.
Decide who will do the release
You have decided on the type of content that you will be posting in your marketing endeavours, and put in place a year-long timetable for each post, so what next? Well, you need to come up with a concrete plan on who will do each of these content releases. Unfortunately, not every other business owner is creatively endowed. If you fall into the category of those who lack ability or skills in the creative department, it is time to go forum shopping for the appropriate professional content creator, be it a social media strategist, a blog writer or a copywriter/editor.
Online content platforms offer a perfect solution for business owners who find themselves in this kind of a dilemma. Just come up with guidelines on the type of content you need to deliver, and the substance of each and pay a professional to deliver the same in no time. For the creative, it is time to take initiative and come up with a stock of content that can see you through at least two months, just in case you get swamped by the daily grind.
Broadcast your content
The next step in the actualization of your content marketing plan in your start-up is to decide the means to be used in the dissemination of the content developed. You can either opt to use targeted marketing for your content sharing, or mass marketing. With targeted marketing, you share your content with a pre-determined list of customers or potential customers, while in mass marketing, you share your content as widely as possible with the general public and hope for a favourable response. If your business has a dedicated client database and a customer mailing list, you can use targeted marketing for your existing customers and mass marketing to reach out to potential customers.
On the other hand, if your business lacks a client database or a mailing list, you need not worry at all. Invest time and effort in a mass marketing content sharing campaign, and within no time you can build a formidable database of potential clients based on feedback received. At the end of the day, your choice of content dissemination method will be determined by the client contact information available to your business. The core difference between content shared in a targeted way and content shared to the masses lies in the search engine and social media optimisation done on the content. Mass marketing requires content that is highly optimised to attract the maximum possible hits while targeted marketing content can take a more natural form.
Evaluate and measure the success or failure of your marketing campaign
The final step in setting up your content marketing calendar is to come up with an evaluation standard to measure the success or failure of your marketing campaign. The core aim of marketing for a business is to gain new clients or customers and get feedback from the existing ones so as to put in place mechanisms to ensure their retention. Embarking on a content marketing campaign and putting in place a content marketing calendar is a good way to go, but you need to have specific targets that you hope to achieve at the end of the process. Put in place measurable objectives to be attained within a specified timeframe, so that you can gauge the effectiveness of your timetable progressively.
Well, the effectiveness of a content marketing calendar will be dependent on the quality of the content shared, and your commitment to ensuring that the content is shared in a regular and sustainable manner. So in this coming year, take up the challenge, set up a simple content market calendar for your business, then watch it grow and reap dividends from your efforts.