One of the best things a company can do for their content marketing strategy is to create a content calendar for their business. While creating content on the fly has its advantages, and should be applied when appropriate, there are a variety of benefits to having your content mapped out for an extended period of time. What can you gain by using a content calendar as part of your marketing strategy? Here are few examples:
- Time: By planning ahead you’ll have more time to spend on other important aspects of your business.
- Energy: Knowing what you’ll share beforehand will save you from trying to find new content last minute, allowing you to put more energy into other tasks.
- Consistency: Creating and scheduling content ahead of time will help to make sure you stay consistent, which is important for a successful content marketing strategy.
- Flexibility: As breaking news occurs, you’ll be better armed to modify your content calendar accordingly.
- Adaptability: As you create a plan for content, you can adjust what you want to share based on your audience’s responses.
The purpose of content marketing is to share relevant information that your audience is looking for. Having a plan will let you curate exactly what they want, when and where they want it.
Are you sold on creating a content calendar as part of your marketing strategy? Fantastic! Throughout this post you will learn about different types of content, various methods of sharing content and how to put it all together in a calendar.
Types Of Content For Your Calendar
When it comes to putting together the content calendar for your business, you need to consider the type of content you will share. There are a few different ways content can be categorized: evergreen versus topical and informational versus self-promotional.
Evergreen vs. Topical
As the name implies, evergreen pieces stick around, just like the foliage on the plants the term was named after. With a relatively long shelf life, this type of content is perfect for adding to future dates in your calendar.
If evergreen content stays relevant for an extended period, you can probably deduce that topical content is more time-sensitive. This type of content includes breaking news, as well as seasonal or timely information. While you can plan for things like holidays and seasons, breaking news and other time-sensitive topics require you to act urgently and share the information right away.
Informational vs. Self-Promotional
Now let’s take a look at the difference between informational and self-promotional pieces.
- Informational: Informational pieces share information and serve the purpose of educating or entertaining your audience. Examples of this type of content include industry articles, photos, memes and videos that are not promoting your business. They are purely for the benefit of the customer and establishing yourself as their go-to source of information in your industry or niche.
- Self-promotional: These pieces of content serve the purpose of explaining why your business stands above the competition and help to drive conversions from passive consumers to active customers.
While you may be tempted to tout how amazing your business is as much as possible, I would urge you to reconsider. In most cases, there is a fine line between coming off as helpful and arrogant. Three Girls subscribes to the 80/20 rule for our client’s content marketing strategies. This means approximately 80 percent of your content should be informational pieces, and the remaining 20 percent should be self-promotional. It’s a safe mix that considers the audience’s needs. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you’re unsure about how heavily you should promote your business, evaluate what your biggest competitors are doing and how their audiences respond.
It’s important to note that a piece of content will be evergreen or topical AND informational or self-promotional. For example, a self-promotional piece can be either an evergreen item that is relevant at any time, or it can be topical because it’s only valid for a short period.
Channels To Include In A Content Calendar For Business
Now that we have covered the basics of the different types of content, it’s time to start thinking about the forms of communication you will use to share it.
Social media is top of mind when it comes to sharing information as part of your content marketing strategy. With so many different platforms to choose from, and consumers spending increasingly more time scrolling their feeds and sharing information with their friends and families, it makes sense that social media has become a go-to avenue for communication with your audience.
When it comes to creating your content calendar as part of a marketing strategy, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind for social media.
- How often will you post on your different social media channels? If you’re just starting out, here is what Sprout Social recommends for each platform:
- Facebook: 1-2 times per day
- Twitter: 3-10 times per day
- Instagram: 1-3 times per day
- Instagram Stories: 2-5 times per day
- Pinterest: 3-20 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1-2 times per week
While this may be the recommended number of posts, it is better to take on what you can handle versus over-extending yourself on a consistent basis.
- Are you going to use a scheduler or post manually? Using a scheduler like Hootsuite can make your life much easier and allows you to post more often than if you were to do it manually. On the other hand, the plus side of posting to each channel without a scheduling program is that there will be no doubts that your post went live.
- What mix of content are you going to use? As you map out the content calendar for your business, you’ll want to make note of the different types of pieces you’re going to share, how often you’ll post self-promotional items and other things your audience would find valuable.
- Are there any holidays or important dates you need to be aware of? Looking ahead to holidays and events will give your social media a more personable and approachable quality. com is a terrific resource to find fun holidays and celebrations.
Blogging is an amazing way to provide insightful information for your audience and helps your website’s search engine optimization! Creating one long-form post (greater than 2000 words) at least once a week is what Three Girls Media recommends. If 2000 words a week is too much to start with, you can post bi-weekly. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re consistent.
Consistency and quality are critical to having a successful blog, yet when it comes to blogging for business as part of a content marketing strategy, these two essential ideas are often the most overlooked. Search engines are constantly looking for new, high-quality content so they can get the best possible information to users. When you’re not posting regularly, the search engines won’t know when to return to your website to catalog the latest information. By staying consistent you can actually train the search engines when to come back to your site.
It’s also important to post regularly for the benefit of your audience. If articles on your blog are dated, potential customers won’t have new, helpful information and will go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for. With many shoppers researching online, it’s important they see the latest and greatest from your brand, so they know you’re a thriving, up-to-date company. Make sure everything you take live on your blog will help – not hinder – your content marketing efforts.
You can read more about blogging for business in this informative Three Girls’ article here.
Newsletters are another fantastic form of content that puts information right in front of your audience without them having to search for it. When it comes to planning newsletters as part of the content calendar for your business, you want to send one out at least once a month. Be careful of sending too many though; you don’t want to annoy your subscribers and push them away.
When deciding what content to include in your newsletters, it depends on what you’re hoping to gain by sending them out. Your goals will help guide what you should share. Some types of content you should consider including are:
- Blog posts
- Exciting company news
- Behind the scenes sneak peeks
- Exclusive or advance information and news
Make sure you keep your content short, sweet and to the point. If you’re sharing articles or blog posts, be sure to include an enticing snippet on what the article is about, along with a link to read it.
Podcasts are an easy and convenient way to share information that is gaining traction and should be included in a content calendar as part of your marketing strategy. As with the other forms of content marketing we’ve discussed, you will want to note how often you plan to create new episodes. This will depend on the type of podcast you have and its format.
If you’re doing quick, informative podcasts, like our CEO Erika Taylor Montgomery’s Two Minute Marketing Tips, it would be highly beneficial to post one to two times a week. Other forms of podcasts include:
- Interview: These podcasts interview individuals within a particular industry.
- Scripted non-fiction: A serial podcast with one theme for a full season.
- News recap: Summarizes the news within a specific industry.
- Educational: Focuses on teaching their audience.
- Scripted fiction: These podcasts are similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced.
After you decide what type of podcast you want to produce, the next thing you need to ask yourself is how long you want each episode to be. Some formats will naturally have longer episodes than others. Longer episodes require more time in production, which can drag out the frequency with which you release new content. Just like with everything else you post online, you need to be consistent. As you consider your content calendar for your marketing strategy, make sure you create a schedule you will be able to follow through with.
Putting Together A Content Calendar As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you know how often you plan to create content, it’s finally time to put it all together on a master calendar or spreadsheet. I recommend working on one month at a time; this allows you to see all forms of content without it being too overwhelming.
However you choose to set up the content calendar for your business, putting it together is simple! Start by marking holidays and special events, as well as the days you’re posting to your blog, sending out newsletters and uploading podcasts.
After you outline which days your content will go out, you need to determine the topics for blog posts, podcasts and newsletters. Your content calendar will show when items go live, allowing you to repurpose content in other areas. For example, you can use a blog post you scheduled at the beginning of the month in your social media, as a jumping-off point for your newsletter and as the topic of your next podcast.
That’s it! You’ve created a content calendar for your marketing strategy! In order for it be successful, remember to check it frequently and update it before the start of every month with new dates and topics. With this tool, you’ll save yourself valuable time and energy that you can put to use in other areas of your business. Need help with your content marketing strategy? Contact us today to learn how we can take the pressure off your shoulders so you can focus on other areas of your business!
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