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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

How to create a content calendar in 7 easy steps



Why should a business create a content calendar?


Creating a content calendar is an absolute must for any business owner. I always practice what I preach and create one for my business at the start of each year.


It will help on so many levels ensuring you:

  • Provide content of value that delivers strong engagement

  • Have the right mix of content, using different formats so your audience don't become tired of the same type of blogs and posts

  • Tie in with your business proposition ensuring everything is aligned from your brand vision, company values, customer service policy and nothing disconnects

  • Tap into pertinent topics and themes that your target audience would like to hear about built around your audience personas

  • Leverage keywords to help your search engine optimisation (SEO)

  • Don’t miss out on key opportunities as you’re looking at things more strategically and having the time to plan

  • Repurposing evergreen content and leveraging key assets you have access to

  • Leveraging content across all your channels and not just your social media platforms to get maximum value

The result will be better content and huge time savings in the long run. If you're planning upfront and not scrambling around at the last minute to create blogs, you're far more productive and everything should work far more cohesively.


How to get started


Here are a few tips to help create a content calendar. It is important that this doesn't replace a content strategy. Your content marketing strategy needs to be developed before you start to define the role that content marketing has in your business and agree the objectives.


1. Create a calendar for the whole year - use a diary, spreadsheet or online tool to make a note of key dates for your business for the entire year. Include all major events from product launches, promotions, bank holidays, trade shows, new staff joining etc.


2. Research relevant awareness days, national events and local events - add these to your calendar for the 12 months. There are lots available online.


3. Business topic - brainstorm topics relevant to your audience and that tie into your business. Cross reference this with keywords that your prospective customers may be using to search for your business or to find useful information. You may want to have a topic of the month or week.


4. Format - consider varying your content so you are not churning out the same things all the time. Will it be a video, a long article, case study or infographic. There is no right or wrong mix but do think about what is realistic factoring in time and budget constraints, and what will be of most value to your audience. Consider how you will represent your topic visually and include the final link to help you plan. Use free image libraries to help.


5. Business as usual posts - include your regular posts and leverage popular social media hashtags such #fridayfeeling and #throwbackthursday etc to communicate the softer and more human side of your brand. Then pad out with curated content from third party and authorative sources.


6. Curated content - identify curated content sources from third parties and pad our your content plan with weekly posts. Curated content is easy and free to generate, will ensure your content is varied and can help to position you as an expert in your field if you use it in the right way.


7. Channels - which channels will you use? Your blog, your newsletter or social media platforms? Remember to leverage content across all your channels and ensure there are no conflicting messages. Consistency and reinforcement of message are important to build a strong brand.



Commit


You've made the important step - you now have a content plan for the year. Now, you need to commit to it. Remember this shouldn't be the sole responsibility of one person or marketing. Delegate and let the whole team across the business contribute. This is vital for it to be sustainable.


There are lots of free templates and tools to help you get started. HubSpot offers a free guide. For further tips read developing a thought leadership programme or a wider marketing strategy or drop me a line for a free 30-minute consultation to see how I could help your business take your marketing to the next level.

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