Developing a content calendar that makes a marketing impact
By Sue Voyles / July 21, 2021 / Uncategorized
All too often companies enter the world of social media posts, blog writing, e-mail marketing and what’s called “content marketing” without a solid plan on how to proceed with a consistent message across many wide-ranging channels.
One of the major challenges is the content itself. Sure, it’s relatively easy to create a “post” for Facebook or LinkedIn, but doing so on a regular basis, and with good information or thoughtful ideas can become a major hurdle.
While there’s a lot of important aspects to pushing out content through digital platforms, one of the most important is developing a calendar, or schedule, that will help allow a company to be consistent in their approach, thoughtful in what they share, and truly give them a chance to build an audience or following over the long run.
How to develop a content calendar
Let’s zero in on how to develop a useful content calendar. There’s several important things to remember: keep it simple, focus on engagement through content that showcases your knowledge or expertise, and plan in advance so that the content can be organized and scheduled.
Let’s face it, many of us just don’t have the time to sit down and write social media posts, search Google for interesting ideas, or think about a graphic or photo that showcases our brand.
That’s often when companies turn to a friend or a relative to “take over” their social media content and fail to realize the value of this kind of marketing and public relations.
So, first of all let me urge you to avoid this DIY trap and focus instead on a plan that develops content, uses a calendar and scheduling approach, and allows for enough flexibility that it can reach across many platforms or channels.
Keeping your content simple
Ask some questions about what it is you want to present, and in what arenas. Think about your ideal customer and what will engage them. Once you have decided to, say, begin posting on LinkedIn for business connection development, you will need content, a schedule and a way to make it happen.
There are plenty of easy ways forward. A simple Excel spreadsheet can help organize potential material for the days you want to post. As part of keeping it simple, remember to set a pattern for your content. You want to be consistent, whether it’s once a week, twice a week or even three times. It takes time and effort to develop the content for those messages.
Now consider what your options are for the actual post. Here’s some obvious options:
- Materials from your website or other company marketing materials, repackaged to share and linked back to your online presence.
- Articles or information presented by third parties, especially those in your industry who are not direct competitors.
- Announcements, updates, developments among your team, your products, services or the company itself.
When it comes to “art,” company photos, stock images, videos and even infographics can work well to represent a message, an idea or connect the written content with a visual that captures the intent of what it is you are trying to say and the interest of your audience.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s only as hard as the time you or your team invest in thinking about, creating and deploying content. And if your team isn’t up to the task, there are plenty of companies like Logos Communications that can work with you to figure it out.
Focus on engagement
There is no point in developing content, or a calendar to deploy it effectively, without identifying your goals first. Content that engages your current clients, excites potential new customers and showcases your industry expertise is the key to building an organic following on social media.
From a practical viewpoint, the content is critical, but without all of the planning, scheduling, and thinking that goes into achieving an interesting, balanced and engaging social media or digital presence, you might as well stop before you start.
This article is focused on the idea of a content calendar, and how to create, manage and use it to reach others. But without the material itself, there is little chance for success. So, while I began with the idea of keeping it simple from a broad perspective, now we have to zero in on the material itself.
Creating engaging content
Here are some simple suggestions for engaging content.
- Keep it to the point.
- Do less “selling” and more connecting.
- Build relationships with the people in your market, your team, the community you work in, and the broader community made up of your potential connections and clients, friends, distant relationships.
- Make it helpful by sharing knowledge, techniques, tools, resources and examples of what works for you and your customers.
Experts suggest mixing your social media posts with about 50 percent being curated, shared content, another 30 percent original content that you’ve created and the final 20 percent focused on talking about yourself with promotional or sales content.
I would also stress the idea of stories. Facts and figures are great, but without a story, without a point of view, the numbers may not lead to the kind of connection that is deep and lasting.
So, to sum up thus far – besides keeping your calendar and content plan relatively simple, (something you can manage on a weekly or monthly basis), focus on content that is engaging, easy to understand, deep and yet relatable. Connect with your audience and make an impact that excites people when they think about you or your company.
Once you have decided, plan your content
The entire process of thinking about, creating, managing and deploying a content calendar – whether for social media, digital marketing, blogs or even podcasts – revolves around the need to plan what it is you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.
Like anything in our highly competitive business community, having a goal is important but having a means of executing the tactics to reach the goal is just as important.
As you begin, consider these questions:
- How often do you want to post, write a blog and/or send out an e-newsletter?
- What social media channels should you use?
- Will your website host a blog? Will it be sent out or posted in some other fashion?
- Where will the material you want to use come from – internally and externally?
- Can you do it yourself or do you need to hire help internally or from an outside company?
- Talk to others, research success, and learn what has worked for your peers.
Content calendars can be a challenging task for business leaders already busy with finance, product development, service-oriented, HR and marketing responsibilities.
And yet if you know that you have something valuable to share, and believe you have the material, the ideas and the information that will connect with others (from customers to potential clients) you will need to figure out how to plan, develop, manage and implement a content calendar.
Sure, you can share posts or blogs as the opportunity or need arises, but think about it this way: if the news you get from your local newspaper or radio station only got updated whenever the editor felt it was time, maybe today and then not again for three day or four days, would you want to get news from it? I’d say that’s unlikely.
To encourage you, I conclude with this simple idea – a company like Logos Communications knows how to help small and medium sized businesses place a consistent, simple, engaging message before its customers or potential customers.
We have the expertise, and if you check out our website or our social media platforms, I know you will get a better understanding of how we can help.