Believe it or not, we encounter a lot of businesses that are hesitant about getting their company blogs off the ground.
Sometimes it is too difficult to find the resources and creativity, other times there might be scheduling conflicts that prevent staff members from finding the hours.
In an attempt to provide organization for our content creation and sharing at Corporate Three Design, we’ve started managing an ongoing content calendar.
What is a Content Calendar?
Content calendars are scheduling tools used to provide guidance and organization for your team’s approach to blogging, social sharing, and content creation. Dedicated content calendars are managed and updated over time, not simply created for a quick, one-time glance.
How do you manage a Content Calendar?
There are plenty of different content calendar templates available online, but they all work to accomplish the same goals of organizing your digital publishing and content distribution process over an extended period of time.
An effective content calendar should be designed to address the following goals:
- Establish topics and who/what is needed to produce each piece content
- Determine viable channels for effective content distribution
- Develop a regular schedule for sharing and repurposing content
- Document the success of the entire publishing and content distribution process over an extended period of time
Content Calendars help plan topics, resources, and publishers
Start by performing plenty of research about the kind of content you want to offer. Generate a broad list of topics based on what you’ve determined is important to your audience, then look for ways to make those topics your own.
Always strive to connect with your followers in ways that are more than just self-promotional attempts. Consider creative approaches to celebrating holidays and promoting upcoming events outside of your regular commentary on industry news and client work.
The Corporate 3 Design blog provides an inside look at what is going on within the walls of our office every week. We also make an effort to share insight on trending topics in the digital advertising industry and offer quick tips, fact-based analyses, and detailed instructions for valuable approaches that our clients can take to improve their online businesses.
At a small agency like Corporate Three Design, our internal publishing efforts are, in some ways, limited by the size of our team. While we do have a small number of team members dedicated to content creation and blogging, we also regularly task designers, developers, and sales with some of the workload as well.
Whoever you place in charge of managing your content calendar must be able to identify and leverage the strengths of every member on the team. These individuals must be trained to not only look for opportunities to create timely content, but also how to regularly source content ideas for entire blog posts from team members to lead a valuable discussion with a unique approach.
With the help of a dedicated calendar, everyone involved in the content creation process knows exactly what is expected of them for the entire duration of the publishing process. Additionally, it sets the tone for how much your team really values organization when it comes time to onboard new employees.
Determine viable channels for content distribution
Be sure to spend time researching which social platforms will make the most of your time online. Consider the unique makeup of your audience and use demographics statistics to evaluate the proper mix of marketing channels to share your message.
Knowing your target audience will allow your activity on social media to be more thoughtful and intentional, but remember you aren’t the only one trying to grab their attention. If your company or brand is new to the social media landscape, don’t forget to investigate the effectiveness of your competition’s approach to social media.
Develop a regular schedule for sharing and repurposing content
As a team, decide how frequently you plan on publishing new, original content and sharing external links from around the web with your followers. Finding the right mix of original and shared content can only be achieved through thoughtful experimentation and analysis.
However, there should never be a time when you have nothing to share. Brands can always find opportunities to post evergreen content.
Evergreen content still provides value for readers who are just finding it for the first time. These are your key blog posts containing resource directories, lists of best practice tips, detailed tutorials, product reviews, and brand/explainer videos. When done right, evergreen content should be your most clicked content across social channels and organic search.
With the help of social media automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, your accounts can continue to share engaging content with your audience even while you are away from the computer. Buffer’s nifty scheduling tool will go so far as to analyze your profile’s engagement throughout the day and suggest new posting times where you can expect the most success. Once your publishing process takes off, employ the use of automation tools in order to save time and money.
Document the entire publishing and content distribution process over an extended period of time
While determining a definitive ROI might be a challenge for your business in the early stages, look to your content calendar as a record for obvious areas that need improvement.
- Did we publish everything on time?
- Did we publish everything on the calendar?
- Should we share more/less?
- Should we post to our blog more frequently throughout the week?
- Are we sharing enough original content to drive traffic to the site?
- Are we targeting the right keywords?
- Are we linking to enough outside sources?
Analyze your successful content pieces, and determine why they performed well. Always look for new opportunities to share successful content pieces and repurpose them into something new.
Determine which social metrics are meaningful to an analysis of your business’ content management and sharing strategy. Ideally, someone on your team will need to get familiar with using Facebook’s Page Insights console, learn how to read and understand analytics on Twitter, and become a Google Analytics guru.
As your strategy evolves, so will your calendar. Maybe you’ve identified the only social metrics that matter to your company and want to add columns for documenting those for each piece of content. Maybe your calendar was too much for your employees to wrap their heads around, and it requires simplification in order to get people to use it.
The challenges will be unique to the business size and type; however, all brands can benefit from implementing some form of a managed content schedule or calendar for their publishing efforts.
Looking to find direction and consistency for your messaging? Discover what original content and creative copywriting can do to enhance your existing marketing strategies.