The Importance of Creating — and Maintaining — a Content Calendar

Sep 12, 2018 8:30:00 AM

By Cathy Cain-Blank

“Content is king.” Even Forbes reminds us that as trite, tired, and overused as this phrase may be, it’s more true now than ever before. In an age where individuals and businesses frequently turn to their laptops and smartphones for solutions and business strategies, your organization must have fresh content ready to inform, educate, entertain — and of course, make customers of them.

The problem is that content has to tick a lot of boxes in order to be deemed high quality. It needs to be relevant to what’s currently going on in a given industry. Content must be thoughtful and well-written (or well-produced, in the case of visual content). Viewers need to find it useful or they’ll categorize your content as clickbait and keep scrolling the next time they see you pop up in their inbox or newsfeed. Finally, it has to be interesting to draw them in and close the deal.

Your ability to create content that fulfills all of these requirements can ebb and flow like the weather. Some weeks, there’s a lot going on and you experience a flood of blog post and email ideas. Other times, you enter a content drought and can’t think of a thing to say.

That’s where a content calendar comes in.

What is a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is an organized source that lays out exactly what you’ll present to your audience — your current and future clients — and when you’ll present it. In addition to being high-quality, content needs to be constant. If you send something out to your followers or subscribers consistently for a couple of weeks and then disappear for a month, they'll lose interest. Your content calendar will keep you on track in terms of consistency. John Boitnott, digital consultant for Inc. magazine reminds us that constancy is not only good for audience engagement; it will also help with SEO of your blog and website.

If something exciting or unexpected arises, it can always be added onto the list, but creating a content calendar in advance will ensure that you’re never without great fodder for that next LinkedIn article, blog, or social media post.

How Do I Create One?

To create a content calendar, start at a high level. First, play a little game with called the “Is It for Us or for Them?” Challenge when considering content topics for your audience. If a topic sounds interesting to you, consider whether it’s something your customer base wants to know about. If it’s something you feel they need to know, think about how you can present it in a way that matters to them. Does it solve a problem for them? How can you get them excited about it?

In this frame of mind, create five topic “buckets” that are subjects your audience would like to know more about. If you’re uncertain what topics are a hit, break out your trusty analytics tools to see which topics have performed best in the past in terms of web traffic, email open and click-through rates, and social media engagement. General topics will cover things such as “Fashion,” “Cybersecurity,” or “Automotive Maintenance.” Now, fill those buckets with sub-topics that would make great articles or posts. (For example: “How often does your vehicle really need preventative maintenance?”)

Depending on how often you’ll post, fill in your calendar with the topics you've chosen. Make sure to include planned product launches, holidays, or other special events. You’ll find that as you create planned content, new ideas will naturally flow out of that process and you’ll be able to add those topics to the calendar as well.

Don’t forget to take advantage of any blog posts you create and connect them in with your social media/email marketing. With your content calendar on the roll (and constantly being updated), you’ll never have a content drought again!

Need help building and maintaining your content calendar? Contact us today!