No matter how big or small the business, a carefully planned content calendar is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. But why is a calendar so important and what are the benefits for digital marketing?
Creating the right type of content at the right time can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of digital marketers. Using a calendar allows you to break it down into manageable chunks which, in turn, can make it easier to come up with ideas.
Start with the dates that are important to your audience and that you know you need to create content for – include public holidays, your key events, sales and promotions and any other special days. For your events and promotions, schedule in a build up of content to increase and reinforce awareness of what you are doing and when.
Once you have those in place, the gaps will be fewer and much less daunting. Without something in place, it can be difficult to know where to start.
For many smaller businesses, content is just an extra thing to be done and can sometimes be an “add-on” to other roles and responsibilities. Not using a content calendar means that other aspects of your role can easily take over. A calendar will let you allocate your time because you have already broken down the task into smaller chunks. Knowing the content you need to create also means you can schedule in bulk in advance.
When you are creating content you should always have your goals in mind and a calendar allows you to keep that focus. What are you trying to achieve? What goals did you set as part of your strategy?
A content calendar allows you to plan ahead and ensure that your content fits those goals, matches your brand voice, and provides a consistent message to your customers and helps you engage with them.
Without a calendar, it can be very easy to lose focus of your goals and your brand and as a consequence, your audience can receive mixed or confusing messages.
The best creators use a number of different sources for content. Creating a shared calendar within a business allows others to contribute and add teir ideas. Tap into the expertise within your business and schedule it into the calendar. Others in your team will know what they need to do and when, creating a collaborative aspect.
Analysis is an important part of digital marketing and when you are looking at your analytics it should be done side by side with your calendar. If you have a sudden rise in engagement or followers you should be able to tell at a glance what content lead to that rise and then schedule in similar for the future. Or, in reverse, if you create content and can’t see that it has an effect you should ask why not? What didn’t resonate with your audience? Was it the type of content that didn’t work, for example, or the timing maybe?
A content calendar doesn’t need to be complicated – if you are updating it regularly the simpler the better. It is possible to purchase products that can help you build a calendar and manage your content but you don’t have to. A simple Excel spreadsheet, split into months or weeks depending on the quantity of content you are creating, is usually sufficient.
A content calendar is important but remember that it only provides the bare bones. The really good digital marketers get the structure right and then flesh it out both with content that they share from others and news, events and trends that they react to. Just scheduling makes you unresponsive so both should be part of your strategy.
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