Can it be? Are we really at the end of my five-part series on Content Strategy? Sigh. If we must end, at least we get to end with my favorite part — putting together the content calendar! It is so satisfying to go from the theoretical, “We could do many things!” (or its corollary, “Oh my god, what could we possibly do?”), to gathering your thoughts on buyer personas, their journeys, your content map and now, putting them all down on a calendar with authors and dates.
Your Content Calendar: Putting Pen to Paper
This is the chance to take your persona’s pain points and write something (blog post or other content, such as white paper or video) about how you can help them.
This is your chance to think about the questions these wonderful people might have in their research for a solution (aka, the buyer’s journey), and put a helpful keyword in your material, or buy Google Adwords to help them find you.
This is the chance to be creative when thinking about content types. While I love the old standards of blog posts, lists, FAQs, how-to videos, and of course, the very useful white paper, I always ask new clients:
If you could make a calculator or a slider, what would you show people?
Cost saved? Errors reduced? Increased customer satisfaction?
Not everyone can justify interactive content, but thinking about it can get you motivated to talk about the impact your product or service can create. (While we’re at it, check out this awesome ROI calculator. Now that is killer content.)
I crave structure. (And best practices. And KPIs.) So when I did Hubspot training, I gratefully noted all the helpful templates and formats they share. Their content calendar template is really foolproof, and conveniently available as a Google doc so your whole team can keep on the same page.
One of my clients was overwhelmed at the idea of having to write two blog posts a week, and create one new piece of downloadable content a month. (Best practice. Yes, I love them.)
But look at how the calendar parses things out. You’ll see that you are only talking to each audience every third time (assuming you have three personas). You’ll have a variety of downloadable material types (eBooks, white paper, video, infographic). And you’ll be working on a variety of topics, which lends well to sharing the work across your team.
(If your team is a bit short, EM Marketing is here for you! I would be only too happy to run through all the steps of this content strategy and creation process.)
The Big Picture
My last best practices for creating your content calendar, given to me by my best manager in this area.
- Look at your overall yearly objectives and pick the themes within them (by persona if possible as your different audiences may have different seasonal issues).
- Have one theme per quarter. Optimize your downloadable content to provide real value around that theme. Optimize your other content (blog and social posts) into series around those topics.
- At quarter’s end, check your metrics. (Remember step one of this process? You set goals.) Celebrate your success and/or tweak as needed. Repeat!
Let your content be a reflection of how you love what you do (because you’re great at it, right?).