I realized recently I’ve been in the content creation business in some form for well over ten years. That’s a lot of blogs, social media posts, newsletters, e-newsletters, and other miscellaneous content created during those years.
And one of the things I’ve seen in this time is the way content creation has changed to become more complex. That’s why a content calendar is something you absolutely must have.
Content calendars aren’t a new thing, but now they’re more important because of the enormous amount they can do for your brand.
The Benefits of a Content Calendar
Content is the lifeblood of an organic SEO approach. You have to generate as much content as possible to establish authority in your particular field. This content can take the form of blogs and social media posts as well as cross-posts with other influencers and guest blog posts.
The calendar helps you keep this content generation flowing consistently to promote you and your brand. But it does more than that—it helps you strategize your best approaches to the content and allows you to keep a consistent tone throughout all the channels.
If you haven’t planned ahead with a content calendar, then you are trying to generate content in the moment. This is never a good idea. Anyone who has ever stared at a blank computer screen knows how tough it is to come up with a quality blog or post just off the top of your head.
Having a content calendar allows you to work several weeks out so you don’t have to try to be spontaneously engaging.
As a rule of thumb, I usually try to stay about a month ahead of the game with my content calendar. This way, I can get all of the needed collateral together on each post. By working a month ahead, you can have your blog posts written, edited, formatted and SEO optimized then placed into your website’s “back end.” You can also look for pictures to accompany your posts and have them created if need be.
Finally, you can have all your social media posts ready to go and optimized for each platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. It also gives you time to reach out to other influencers in your field who can help your standing with guest posts, giving you a robust return on your investment.
Content is everywhere around you. Unfortunately, many people turn their content into a “one-note symphony.” For instance, if you run a skin care company, you may spend every day talking about the different skin conditions out there—eczema, psoriasis, winter dry skin and the like. People go to social media and blogs because they want to be educated and this information is valuable. But it’s also not the best way to handle a social media campaign.
I like to use this analogy to help explain this problem. Think of all this content going into social media as a party. Each platform is a different party—different people, different food, and different music. So, you want to keep your content suited for the right party.
If a party is appealing to teens or mid-twenty-year-old’s, you wouldn’t want to break out the Frank Sinatra records or some light jazz. If a platform appeals to a certain demographic, then play your material to that crowd and do it with variety.
If you were to go up to someone at this party and start talking about skin conditions and diseases, you might hold a person’s attention for a few minutes. But if you do nothing but talk about this for the entire party, you’re going to alienate a lot of people. Content creation is just the same way. If you talk about the same thing every single day, you’re going to lose followers quickly.
A content calendar can help you see the “big picture” so you can vary up your material. Instead of posting about the “disease of the day,” a skin care business could post about anything which is related to their wheelhouse. These might include the educational posts, but also run into other areas such as make-up tips, nighttime skin care regime, must have purchases, fashion tips, and other trends for the new year. They could even consider guest posts with dermatologists and other influencers and to follow and repost from those influencers. If you mine for ideas, you can make even the most seemingly boring field an interesting one.
How do you know if your strategies are working for your brand?
There’s two metrics which are essential—growth and engagement.
If your numbers aren’t growing regularly, then you aren’t really succeeding with what you are doing. This growth doesn’t have to be huge. Even one new follower a week is still some growth. And remember, you don’t just want any follower. You want one who will actively engage with you, not a “bot” or “collector” who is just looking to get as many people following them as possible.
But the real key metric is going to be engagement. You don’t want to send your content out into the universe and not hear anything back. You want your followers commenting and reposting your content to show people are interested in what you have to say. This will help you get your name out there and establish you as an authority in your field.
Moving forward, there’s three take-aways you need:
- Create a content calendar
- Use the content calendar to stay about a month ahead of your posts
- Tweak your posts and content based on feedback from your online followers.
If you do this, then your content will be much stronger in 2020.
Want More Information about Content Calendars?
Below are two links that I feel give really good in-depth information as well as sample content calendars for you to look at/download: