With so many moving pieces and parts in a content and social media marketing strategy, it can be a challenge to stay on top of it all. One key tool can not only plan a marketing approach far in advance, but also take advantage of specific times of year when certain campaigns will thrive.
That is the beauty of a well-thought-out content calendar.
Content or editorial calendars are not only for magazines and other types of publications. Given the rise in popularity of content marketing, marketers now find value in having an internal content calendar to stay organized with what they publish on blogs, websites, social media, and press releases.
Creating a content calendar is important for several reasons:
Planning in advance maximizes opportunities
When planning content over a 12-month period, it helps visualize the big picture of what’s coming down the pike. Planning further out into the year provides more opportunities to take advantage of.
For example, if a company exhibits at a major B2B service conference in May, cited on your content calendar, the marketer can map out related content in the weeks leading up to the event. Ideas may include a post about the company’s involvement with the conference, or a tweet that there will be a giveaway at the booth to drive foot traffic during the event.
If past analytics reveal that blog posts about staying organized do really well in September, it makes sense to plan some ideas for that month in the calendar.
An editorial calendar helps with goal planning
Because every marketing and PR task is linked to overall goals for the department or company as a whole, building an editorial calendar can help keep those goals in mind as content is planned.
Diversifying types of content appeals to a wider audience
When content is written piecemeal without an overall plan, marketers might miss the trajectory of the content written.
For example, there might already be two blogs published about the new technology, or three tweets in a month about the same technology. Offering readers variety in content and platform types can help in reaching more people. Sketching out the content plan in calendar form can help ensure variety and protect against redundancy.
Without a content calendar, holidays can easily sneak up on you, leaving comms pro scrambling to come up with a winter holiday content strategy the week of Thanksgiving. An editorial calendar includes all holidays – big and small – to plan content around. Early planning also provides time to brainstorm, and come up with unique topic ideas.
Five tips for getting the most from an editorial calendar
Plan early – and be ready to amend
A good time to start planning the editorial calendar is in January.
While it’s helpful to plan in advance, allow for tweaks throughout the year. Change is constant, from a press release regarding a new product debut mid-year, to a major industry change requiring a whitepaper.
Quarterly check-ins help ensure the content calendar is up-to-date and the marketing and communication teams are in-line with what is scheduled to publish.
Pay attention to publish dates
The more analytics are employed, the better marketers understand the intended audience and when and how they respond best to published content. Engaging with consumers might necessitate publishing content on the weekend to get lots of views, whereas a business audience may be more likely to read content during work hours. The content calendar should reflect the data.
Also, companies with a global audience need to keep holidays and time zones of other countries in mind during planning.
Take advantage of smaller holidays
Beyond the traditional holidays, there are dozens of lesser-known holidays such as Child Health Day and Read Across America Day, which make for great and unique content marketing opportunities.
Align social media shares with published content
An editorial calendar is great for helping match social media updates with the other content being published by the marketing team, both on the company blog and for resources such as whitepapers and eBooks. For every newly published piece of content, get the most reach by promoting it socially over the days and weeks that follow.
Get everyone involved
Reach out beyond the borders of the marketing team to ensure the content calendar accurately reflects all relevant company activities. The sales team can offer important product updates and releases, and the executive team can share which industry events they’ll be attending and which ones they want highlighted in content.
If content is published under different executives’ names on company blogs or websites, make sure those are also included in the calendar.
To get started, download Cision’s editorial calendar template by clicking the image below.