Everything you Tweet, like, publish and post across the internet is content and, though it’s nice to share other people’s content – sometimes, the fact is, those shared posts will never bear YOUR calls to action or YOUR brand messaging. For that to happen, you need to create YOUR own material and, sadly, (good) content doesn’t just fall out of the sky; it is born from a very deliberate editorial policy, the heart of which is your content calendar.
OK, but what exactly is a content calendar?
A content calendar – also known as an editorial calendar – is, simply, a plan for publishing all kinds of content, be it a social media post, a video or a blog post. You could be part of a multi-national team or a one-wo/man show; voluptuous budgets are not required to maintain a content calendar, which will ensure your posts are timely, relevant, on-brand, targeted and the right mix of newsworthy, educational and entertaining.
Content calendars can be as basic as a whiteboard peppered with Post-It notes, or an elaborate Google Docs spreadsheet accessed by an entire team of graphic designers, copywriters, community managers and digital marketers.
What your editorial calendar should include will depend on your brand’s needs, but here are a few staple headings to get you started:
Topics and titles
Include topics and potential headings for blog posts and articles. If you’re stuck for ideas, refer to Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator, which uses an algorithm to produce word combinations for headings. Days of the Year is another great source of inspiration, which provides a collection of all the world’s weird, wonderful and crazy days of recognition together in one single database that ensures you’ll never be stuck for ideas. With all the big ones like International Women’s Day down to the more questionable entries like Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, you’re bound to find something worth posting about that is both timely and able to be (subtly) tied back into your brand.
Videos, blog posts, articles, newsletters, social media posts, infographics, white papers, reports, case studies, surveys, SlideShares, ebooks, quizzes, images and quotes; what is your content going to look like? Here are 10 types of content you can’t go wrong with to get you started.
Will it be more impactful to communicate the information with an image, or is it a topic that requires keyword-rich paragraphs to get your message across and excite search engines?
HOT TIP: If it’s 1,500+ words, your post will receive on average 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than posts with less.
If you sell to multiple markets, make sure you are catering to them accordingly. If you follow the 80/20 rule (80% of sales come from 20% of customers), then theoretically you should be focussing a greater portion of your content on that 20%, as they are the clientele generating most of your sales. Secondary markets also need to feel the love, however, but perhaps slightly less frequently. By adding the ‘who’ into your editorial calendar, you can be sure you’re covering all your client bases in the right proportions.
Finding the right keywords can be as simple as plugging some obvious choices into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, which suggests alternative keywords and offers search volume estimates that identify the word combinations people are more likely to be searching so you can include them in your content, headlines and hashtags. Not sure where to start? What would YOU type into Google if you wanted to discover the content you’re about to produce? Think like a consumer!
Who’s responsible for preparing the content? If you’re the sole creator, you needn’t worry about this column, but if you work in a team, there may be instances where a piece of content is a collaboration between a copywriter and a graphic designer to create an infographic, for example. Assigning content to a team member makes them 100% accountable and ensures their piece is submitted, edited and approved prior to publishing – three more potential deadline columns to add to your editorial calendar.
When are you going to unleash your content on the world? Should there be varying post times to attract international clientele as well as local buyers? How do you know when people are online and consuming content? When posting to social media, check account analytics to discover when the maximum number of followers are online and adjust your publishing times accordingly. Employ the use of auto-publishing platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer to drip-feed followers content, even when you’re sleeping!
How will you distribute your content? Social media, website blog, guest posts on other blogs, monthly newsletters, online forums, LinkedIn groups or a combination? By including all the places you plan to publish the content you can tick off each one as you’re posting or scheduling to ensure maximum exposure. Colour coding this information can also be useful to compare which mediums have the most activity and ensure this is consistent with your strategy.
Creating original, quality content is time consuming, and time is money. Don’t be afraid to recycle posts and publish them at varying times with alternate introductory text. Find out which combination was the most popular, speculate as to why that particular intro/image combination attracted more attention and replicate that style and tone for future posts.
Where can I find an editorial calendar?
CoSchedule, HubSpot and Webpage FX’s downloadable Google Docs editorial spreadsheet are just three of the customisable online calendars your business can use to tighten up your content scheduling and ensure you’re delivering consistent, targeted and varied content to keep your customers coming back for more.
Too much too soon? We understand the demands of maintaining an editorial calendar – we do it for most of our clients on a daily basis! If you need help setting up, populating or executing an editorial calendar to make your content work harder for you, get in touch and we’ll discuss a schedule that works for your brand, within a budget you can maintain.