Content content content! It’s all the rage these days. If you’re a business owner, big or small, you’ve probably heard of content marketing. What is it? It’s exactly what it sounds like: Marketing with content! Why exactly is it all the rage? Because it gets your voice out into the world, and our world is connected online like never before. By creating content that’s related to your business and contains helpful content, you can gain traffic to your website, increase interest in your business, AND, increase revenue! Sounds awesome, right?!
This comes with one little price: Someone has to create the content.
If you’re already using content marketing, you probably know this can get stressful really fast ???? You may have found yourself frantically scheduling Facebook posts ridiculously early on Monday or throwing together a blog as quickly as possible. You may also find yourself frozen with inaction when you get behind, can’t think of topics, or “life” gets in the way.
With a marketing schedule, you can calm your mind, act strategically and tame your schedule.
Using a Content Calendar Will Change Your Life…For the Better!
I’m going to tell you how to make your content marketing life way less stressful.
It’s called a Content Calendar. It’s basically a schedule that lists when and what type of content you’re going to publish.
Here’s an example: You’re going to create one Facebook post on your business page every other day at 1 pm for six months. This shows what type of content you’re creating, which platform you’re using, and when it will be posted. Simple!
There are several types of schedules including blog calendars and social media calendars. In my opinion, these are all essentially the same thing and can be rolled up into one single marketing schedule.
Why Use a Content Calendar?
“I publish plenty of stuff and have so many ideas! Why do I need one of these content calendars?”
Well, I can assure you that you’ll find out how much easier your life will be after you’ve started to use one! I’m going to tell you why using this nifty tool will change your life.
You’ll be More Organized
Who doesn’t want to be more organized? It feels amazing! No more rush-projects, late nights, or searching for a last-second idea to copy (let alone all the praying for a stroke of inspiration, then drinking 100 cups of coffee and spending HOURS trying to clobber something together by your deadline….).
With a content calendar, you’ll know exactly when and what type of content to create long before it’s due. If your calendar sends notifications to your phone, then you’ll never miss a beat. Depending on which platform you use, you can even set reminders days or weeks ahead of time to avoid procrastination. It’s amazing for productivity and locking in the TRUST of your audience.
You’re Traffic Will Increase
If you’re using content strategy in addition to your calendar (publishing relevant and helpful content, using keywords, and posting on the best platforms), then you’ll watch your business’s traffic spike. You’ll start attracting the right type of customers and begin to notice a steady flow of new traffic. Just wait!
Never Miss An Important Date
People love important dates. Holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions are all good times to focus your posting efforts. Remember that one time you woke up and thought, “Oh no! It’s Christmas and I totally forgot to advertise my holiday sale because I was too busy gift shopping!”? Me too. WIth a marketing schedule, you’ll have those announcements scheduled out days ahead of time so you can party without a worry in the world!
You’ll Stay Relevant
When you gain loyal customers, some of them will start to expect posts from you, especially if they absolutely love your brand. You don’t want to lose these fans, so keeping up with your regular content production is key! With the massive amount of information being pushed these days, it’s essential to remain relevant on the web and not fall into the background.
How to Create a Great Content Calendar
These five steps will show you how to create a content calendar from scratch and enjoy the benefits of your newly organized content plan!
1. Choose a Platform
First things first. Choose a platform. There are so many apps and gadgets for marketing schedules out there. What’s my preference? I like to keep things simple with Google Calendar. If you have Gmail (which, if you don’t, I would recommend it), then this is the app to use.
It’s easy to download on your phone and sends you reminders. I’m in love with the fact that I can specify when I want to be reminded. Let’s say you’re planning a vacation a month from today. Since you’ll be out of town, you can set a reminder for three weeks from now. That way, you can create all of your content before going out of town!
Another amazing part of Google Calendar is that your assignments can be shared with others. If you work with a team, when you can add everyone to your calendar. Then you have the option to add notes to specific tasks and divvy up the work.
While this is my favorite platform, take some time to do research and find out which platform will work best for you and your specific needs.
2. Specify the Content Type
There are SO MANY places and types of content to post on the Internet these days. Making this decision is going to be one of the biggest steps in your content strategy because you’re considering who your audience is and what they want to see.
Your posting locations will determine who will see your posts and how frequently. The most popular social media platforms right now include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
On a similar note, you need to plan out what type of content you’re going to create. Will you use instructional videos or funny GIFs? Maybe you’ll make Google My Business offers or educational articles. The options are virtually unlimited.
Again, remember to do your research on this too. Some options are better than others depending on your business. For example, if you’re a cake decorator, Pinterest and YouTube are perfect for posting beautiful photos of your works or creating “How To” videos.
If you’re a business coach on the other hand, then posting a helpful article on professional business networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter may be better for you.
Choose a few core channels, and focus there before diversifying.
Decide on Frequency and Time
The next step to creating your content schedule is deciding how often and at what time you want to post your content.
A blog post is typically published once a week and a newsletter is usually sent out once or twice a month. There are all kinds of beliefs on the Internet about when to post. For example, some websites recommend two times a day on Facebook at 12 pm and 6 pm during the week and at 10 am and 7 pm on weekends. Others may have a completely different opinion. ????
I’ll let you in a secret. No one really knows! This data is based on analytics. There are certain trends, yes, but at the end of the day it just depends on what you discover for yourself.
Try this out: Do some investigative work. See what’s recommended and try it out. Then check out your analytics and map out when your media gets the most visibility. Your Facebook Business page comes with it’s own data tracking system. As for your website, you can connect it to Google Analytics and check out your data that way.
At the end of the day, marketing is just one big experiment!
Pick a Writer
Do you have a team of superheroes? A dream team? You might not have this luxury yet if you’re just starting out. However, if you’re business is starting to grow and you can budget for one team member, I suggest hiring someone who can write and is organized enough to manage your social media. It is completely possible to find someone within your budget to free up your most irreplaceable asset – your TIME ????
This is called investing in yourself. If you have a steady revenue, then you might be making excuses like, “I can’t afford that” or “Only I know my business well enough.” Get out of that mindset! Business owners become so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that they can lose sight of more important duties such as networking and actually running their business.
Hiring a content manager ensures that your content is not rushed and therefore higher quality. Delegating time-consuming, repetitive tasks to an expert can be an enormous weight off of your shoulders and allow you to do the things only you, as the business owner, can do. Keep in mind you don’t have to delegate everything, sharing a load can be an enormous relief.
A good content writer will mastermind with you and become familiar with your work that they can seamlessly assume your “voice” and know how/when to tap you for your expertise when they can’t speak authoritatively without your help. (Note: do not become complacent, it’s your job as the authority to maintain an active hands-on review process, training, and offer regular critical feedback/praise – so be sure to set aside some time for this)
Stay Updated on Trends
Keeping up to date on marketing trends is essential to creating a top-notch content schedule. It’s how you’ll make sure that your content strategy is working.
Digital marketing is a trial and error kind of deal. It’s changing all the time. This is what makes it fun AND challenging. What determines a successful marketer is someone who is always on top of the current trends.
With that being said, I’ll tell you that you might have to adjust your content schedule from time to time. Create your schedule one month out in advance and see how it goes. Check out analytics and see how your traffic is flowing.
If you’re not doing as well as you would have liked, then find out what needs to change. Do you need to start posting on Instagram more and on Pinterest less? Should you be using this newsletter generator instead of that other one? Is there a new and trending platform that you should start using? Should you be posting at 1 pm instead of 12 pm?
These are ALL questions that you should constantly be asking yourself when creating your schedule. Choose, test, and adjust accordingly!
Creating your content calendar is fun, challenging, and it WORKS. It’s the perfect recipe for reducing stress, creating quality content, and making sure your content strategy is awesome. My final advice? Research and test! Remember that marketing is experimental and even it’s own art form. Over time, you’ll find out what works for you and get into your unique marketing groove.
Need advice on what how to create a content calendar for your specific business? Plan a call with me!