While reading the mandatory parade of articles predicting marketing trends for the new year, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll see something about content marketing becoming more important. It’s been that way for several years, and one thing I can predict with confidence is that it will be on next year’s prediction lists as well.
Okay, we get it. Content marketing is important. But for many people, the problem lies in figuring out how to get started.
It’s the start of a new year, so you’re probably already making business plans and goals and resolutions. While you’re in that mindset, take the time to create a content calendar. Integrating content marketing into your regular schedule can seem like a daunting task. How do you come up with all those ideas? How often should you put out content? What kind of content, and when?
Taking the time to sit down, work out these issues, and put everything on paper (or on a digital calendar) helps to put your mind at ease. If you go through the process one step at a time, it will begin to seem a lot more manageable.
1. Consider Your Demographics
This is just like any other aspect of your marketing strategy. Who makes up your customer base, and what would they be interested in reading or viewing? The most important aspect of your content isn’t length or frequency or even perfect grammar. It’s usefulness. Consider what each section of your client demographics wants – what information they need, what tips they might be looking for, or just what they might find entertaining. A good laugh is always useful.
You’ll also want to consider what is the best time of the week and day to post your content. There have been plenty of studies done that show which kinds of people are online when, as well as when the are most likely to share or comment on content rather than just view it. You’ll have to decide what’s most important to you – views or interaction. If you’re just starting out and don’t have many social media followers, you might want to focus on getting more exposure first.
Once you’ve determined who you’re writing for and what their needs are, it’s a lot easier to come up with content ideas. Knowing the preferences of your audience can also help you decide what type of content to focus on. Remember that content marketing is more than blog posts. And it’s more than writing.
If your audience is young and impatient, video content and highly visual content like info-graphics might serve you better. If you need to pack a lot of information into a short amount of time, video guides and webinars are helpful. Big content projects like whitepapers or eBooks are something you can offer to people in exchange for their email address. Don’t forget about the effectiveness of email campaigns.
Don’t be afraid to mix it up. If you’re not sure whether one type of content will work, try it and see how people respond. Crafting a content marketing strategy is an ongoing process that requires experimentation, data collection and analysis. A content calendar should never be written in permanent ink!
3. Write It Down
Actually creating the schedule is an important step. Since you should be putting out different kinds of content each month, it can be easy to lose track of what needs to be done without a physical calendar. You’ll also want to keep track of what time of day you’re posting each type of content, especially if you’re experimenting to see when you get the most views and the best interaction with your content.
Try to balance each month with smaller and larger projects. If you don’t already have a social media calendar, posting each day on Facebook and Twitter is a quick and easy way to produce regular content. It’s also good to post on a blog at least twice a month, though once or twice a week is better.
In addition to regular written content, try to produce something different each month as your “big content” project. This could be anything from a photo-based slideshow to a fun office video to a whitepaper based on a study you conducted. Try new things each month, but always refer back to your demographic to make sure it’s relevant and useful.
You don’t have to come up with big content projects for the entire year. It might be more helpful to schedule new brainstorming sessions at the beginning of each month and schedule that release of the finished product at the end of that month.