Why every business should use a content marketing calendar
Nowadays, so much of what we do is pre-planned. Our diaries are pre-booked, our meetings are pre-scheduled and even our tweets are pre-organised. Although this pre-planning takes away some spontaneity, we believe that having an effective content marketing calendar is fundamental to maintaining a successful content marketing strategy. If you currently don’t have a content marketing calendar in place, here are a few reasons why you really should, and how you can get started…
1. Set time aside to create your content marketing plan
Sit down at the start of each week, or each month if you’re focusing on a long-term strategy, and take some time to discuss your content marketing plans with your team before you put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. Together, start brainstorming and jotting down ideas for new content that can be uploaded to the calendar once you’re ready. Write down notes, bookmark interesting articles/news stories online and keep track of certain hashtags or keywords that you might want to use when it comes to creating content. Setting aside a specific amount of time to do this will enable your calendar to work more effectively, as you won’t be scrambling around to find last-minute ideas and can spend your time doing other more important tasks instead.
2. Use the correct tools
A simple spreadsheet or Gantt chart often works well. But before you begin, start by planning out on paper the things you want to add to your calendar and then type it up later – this is a great way of being more inclusive, creative and visual with your plans.
There are also so many online tools that make managing a content marketing calendar easy. For example, with just a few clicks you can schedule tweets automatically and set them up for weeks at a time, without having to log in and post every day. Try the likes of Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social for scheduling content across multiple social media platforms – a blessing if you have a number of different social channels to manage. It’s important to find a platform that works for you, and most of the scheduling tools have free trials that you can take advantage of before deciding which is right. Many are free to use anyway, unless you need premium accounts but, again, you can use free trials first to see if it’s worth spending your money.
3. Update your calendar regularly and keep it relevant
Sitting down at the start of every week/month is a good way to kick-start your content marketing calendar, but a lot can change in just a few days. You might have scheduled a tweet commenting on the expected sunny weather, but when the day comes the forecast has changed and it might be grey and miserable all day. Your scheduled post will then look robotic and your followers will be able to tell that you didn’t log in and manually send it. Make sure you check your calendar every couple of days just to make sure that what you’re intending to post is relevant. Remember to keep up with world news and trending topics too, as posts about current affairs tend to perform well on social media.
4. Don’t forget the power of manual interaction
Your content marketing calendar is there to take the stress out of your social media management. It’ll save you from logging in every day, wasting hours scrolling endlessly through your news feeds, and will enable you to use your time more effectively. It is important, however, not to forget that the power of manual interaction is HUGE and we recommend that you do this at least once every couple of days. If you’re trying to grow your social channels, engagement is key, so make sure you’re replying to comments, thanking people for sharing your posts and are searching relevant hashtags to keep up to date with the latest news; remember to follow relevant accounts every now and then too.
5. Integrate your offline marketing with your online campaigns
Finally, don’t forget that offline marketing is just as important as all your online strategies and must be integrated into your content marketing calendar. You might be sending out physical brochures, printing out leaflets or posters or running a new campaign with hard-copy newsletters. All of these things are key components for your content marketing strategy, so remember it is paramount to overlay these with your online marketing.
Schedule your social media and remind people that they’ll be receiving something through their doors shortly, or tell them to look out for your hard copies when the new campaign launches. So much marketing is online nowadays, but it’s crucial not to forget about the power of offline and how hard-copy campaigns can be just as effective too. By integrating both types of marketing into your content marketing calendar you’ll have all bases covered and can really maximise your presence.
So there we have it, just a few reasons why having a content marketing calendar will really help your business. The majority of your content marketing can be set up automatically thanks to the tips in this post, but try and get a balance between being human and automated – don’t let your channels become too ‘robotic’, and don’t ignore manual interaction and offline marketing too. For help with content marketing calendars or social media management contact us at Oxford Content Company.