Where do I start when creating content?
Brilliant sparks of creativity certainly help with content creation, but consistency is key to building trust with your audience. Creating a content calendar provides a practical process to consistent content creation.
Creating a content calendar
A content calendar is a detailed schedule of what you’re going to share with your audience based on your marketing strategy, events, holidays and happenings throughout the year. By following a content calendar, you minimise the creative struggle of trying to figure out what to create. Planning ahead ensures you won’t miss any important events and it will save you time and energy. Most importantly, it keeps your readers and audience engaged by preventing your content from becoming stagnant, repetitive or appearing overly random.
Planning an entire year’s worth of content may seem like a daunting prospect so you might prefer to break it down into months or quarters. Firstly, make a list of upcoming holidays, especially those that align with your brand, strategy, content or ethos. Have a think about what each month means to your audience, for example in January, a lot of businesses are thinking about their goals for the year ahead. While in December many of us are wondering how we’re going to make it through the silly season, but if you’re in retail you can start promoting your products in November. Consider what you’re planning to do in your business in the coming months. Also consider trends in your industry and how you can align yourself with them.
Who is your audience?
It’s important to understand who your audience is and who you would like them to be. What are their desires, problems, questions, weaknesses, passions and joys? What makes them tick? What are their wildest dreams? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your content to suit their needs, hopes, desires, problems and aspirations. The more often you publish, the more trust you build as you become known as an authority in your industry, plus you’ll stay front of mind. As your network grows, you’ll build rapport with your audience and develop deeper connections, so when they’re ready to work with you there’s no doubt in their mind that you can do the job.
Variety keeps it engaging
A variety of formats will keep your content engaging including social media, blog posts, special offers, EDMs (electronic direct marketing, e.g., emails), videos, webinars, podcasts, courses and eBooks. Even a good old-fashioned leaflet can set you apart. Soon you’ll discover what appeals to them the most and then you can develop your content calendar accordingly in the future.
Right tools for the job
There are plenty of content calendar tools and templates you can download, or you can create your own in Excel or Google Sheets, which you can share with your team. Whether you separate your calendar into each type of content, such as one for your blog, one for social media, another for EDMs depends on your business structure. Keeping it simple is best and you will want to include the topic/heading, the platform, publishing date, relevant sources of information and keywords.