Content calendars are the cornerstone of any great marketing plan and provide a framework for sharing reliable, cohesive content. When you are promoting across multiple marketing channels, a comprehensive and effective content schedule will help to achieve your overall content marketing goals in 2020.
Defining your content themes for different objectives and audiences provides clear consistency that will help to maximise engagement and keep customers coming back for more.
Here’s why we love them so much at Topcontent!
Planning a content schedule can make you feel confident
We all understand that businesses which publish regular, useful and creative content generate more traffic than others. It’s intensive work. However, instead of placing emphasis on fast posts and short term gains, content calendars help us all to focus on longer-term strategies. Producing a framework for this and establishing content pillars allows us to determine precisely the type of content required and exactly when it should be posted.
Many businesses are also using several different social media channels. Each of these platforms, from Facebook to Instagram, serves an entirely different purpose and customer set. So it makes perfect sense to prepare a content schedule which covers all the platforms and helps to plan and present content specific to those individual audiences.
Having a documented strategy means that your content calendar is your organised planning guide. However, trending, live or user-generated content can be regularly added to spice up the subject matter and keep it fresh. The whole aim of social media is to allow audiences to actively engage and enjoy time-sensitive and useful information. This requires a strategy!
Why you need a content strategy even if you think you don’t
Coming up with a succession of topics and researching them all is time-consuming. Taking an impromptu approach to topics might be fine in some business areas, but content marketing is driven by high-quality consistency. With a content schedule in place, we can all spare ourselves the stress of identifying topics late in the day or missing any looming deadlines.
Here at Topcontent, we think the main opportunities and benefits include:
1. Keeping you on time and right on track
Drifting away from your primary focus is a real problem when there are so many other things taking priority every day. Using a content schedule allows a helicopter approach and a better perspective. It’s much easier to align regular content with your marketing strategy, notice any glaring content gaps and prevent missed opportunities or deadlines.
2. Generating new ideas and concepts
It’s a fabulous way to encourage brainstorming with your team and get those creative juices flowing. Once you start planning and organising content topics, there is normally a surge of new suggestions and thoughts which often generates unique ideas. When you then analyse engagement levels and feedback, it provides valuable insights to help with your planned content.
3. It’s terrific for transparency and teamwork
Your content calendar is always planned in advance, allowing everyone to stay ahead of the curve. This planning reduces stress for everyone and provides transparency across teams or departments. It keeps them on the same marketing page, and everyone can see what’s been planned or where activities fit into the overall strategy. This total transparency promotes better teamwork, communication and results.
4. Engaging and retaining your audience
We have all sometimes got lucky with a great piece of writing, but effective marketing needs to be sustainable over the longer term. When we rush to publish unplanned content, we can easily repeat topics or choose a random subject that doesn’t resonate well with customers. To engage and retain customers, a content schedule is a perfect tool for maintaining continuity and publishing a variety of new, interesting and captivating content.
5. Maintaining clarity and consistency
Consistency is the key to effective content marketing and ensures that your target audience keeps coming back for more. It also promotes your company brand, image and credibility. Entertaining, educational and pertinent content will always keep customers returning regularly and win the day.
6. It unites social media and paid advertising
As content creation and social media marketing are connected, your content schedule will help to identify any opportunities for paid advertising. Any really successful organic pieces of content can then be promoted across multiple channels. You could choose to use Facebook or Instagram Ads, for instance, or Linkedin Sponsored Content to clearly communicate your message to your chosen audience.
A comprehensive audit leads the way forward
Before you rush into planning a content calendar, there is an essential comprehensive audit that needs completing. This involves studying your social media presence and gathering data across social media platforms. Evaluating essential facts, together with engagement levels, helps to establish where your content is performing best and identify the biggest opportunities.
Digging deep into those statistics shows which content is really resonating with your target audience. Paying close attention to the timing and frequency is vital too, as your Instagram users might be more active during the evenings and your Facebook users more active during lunch hours. A content schedule can then be used to demonstrate the distribution of content in slightly different ways or at different times of the day to engage your audience on each social media platform.
Although you might think you know your customers best, it’s always wise to do your research before jumping straight into your content calendar!
Social media tools can help save the day
Many companies can find it overwhelming to manage multiple social channels, especially when scheduling regular content. There are some useful tools available to make life just that little bit easier, including social media scheduling tools. These allow you the freedom to post across many channels at the same time and to optimise posts to publish at optimum times.
Here are our three current top picks:
- Sprout Social – includes demographic listening features, analytical aids and tools to help ROI and social content optimisation.
- HootSuite – content scheduling programme with a robust content organising platform and Google Chrome extension that allows immediate content scheduling.
- Zoho – allows calendar creation with drag and drop for easy rescheduling and management, together with the ability to share content with other team members.
Make your content calendar even slicker
Outlining your overall plan using a content schedule will maintain consistency in posting and content credibility for your niche market. Relevant, evergreen content can be stored in a content bank and used to increase posts or fill in any gaps. New promotions, product updates or educational information content are usually always relevant. Try to focus more on sharing trending news, company events, interesting facts and ‘behind-the-scenes’ disclosures whenever you can.
Remember, this vital process is not about approaching content in an ad-hoc way. The route to success means aligning each and every article consistently with your overall marketing strategy. Creating content should also be fun and inspiring!
Producing an effective content schedule can sometimes sounds like an increased workload you can ill afford. If this is the case, then here at Topcontent we can help with our fantastic Self-Service content delivery system. Here, you can place and control your content orders and have them delivered back the same route – fast and easy. You can place your content orders according to your planning and leave the creation to us. Final content will be then ready when you need it.
It’s fast, simple and just a click away! Get started already today!