Setting up your content marketing for success and, the ever-elusive, ease of management is a must for 2016. With all we have stuffed on our plates, creating efficiencies early on will make or, if we don’t, break us. A winning recipe many professional content marketers use is found in their editorial calendar strategy.
The mistake many marketers make is taking this task to lightly. A well-thought out editorial calendar makes your execution that much easier and more impactful. In order to make this process a bit less daunting, we’ve created a simple framework to get you going.
Step 1: Revisit your content marketing strategy and positioning statement. Assess what areas within them need more reinforcement. Write at least 3 down.
Step 2: Consider your top 3 primary goals of content marketing and what actions you want your audience to take to hit those goals. Record those as well.
Step 3: Are their core products and/or messages that are paramount that you get across to your audience? Add them to your list—yes, 3 of them.
Step 4: What publications out there speak to your market on your brand topic? Take a close look at their editorial calendars. What 3 topics continuously come up. Put them down.
Step 5: Next, think about your audience. What consistent pains or questions come up over and over again for them around your brand? Take the top 3.
You now have a content marketing editorial calendar resource in your hands.
Step 6: You should have a list of 15 main topics. Hopefully, there is some crossover. These will be your most powerful posts. Take out a calendar and position those crossover post topics where it makes the most sense, and where they will have the most impact.
Step 7: Most likely you have 9-12 topics left on your list. Consider how you can group these together as well as in a path your readers will enjoy following. Think of it as a connected story or sales journey. Add these to your editorial calendar, one per month.
Step 8: Do you have any big events within your organization (ex. product launch or anniversary) or those you attend (tradeshows)? How can you create a topic that ties into this event? Put it on your calendar near the event date.
At this point, your content marketing editorial calendar should be coming alive before your eyes.
Step 9: Create space in your calendar for trends that emerge during the year. As you watch your key influencers, media, and audience interests, you’ll want to incorporate those more fluidly into your editorial calendar as they come up. You may even decide to juggle a bit of your calendar to align the trend with one of your already identified topics. Pivoting in marketing is important.
Step 10: Watch your analytics! If a topic is killing it and comments run deep, then you need to take advantage of its inherent virility. Add a series on to your marketing plans highlighting this topic of interest. Research the topic further and build a blog, white paper, ebook and/or webinar around it. These work as powerful content for any calls-to-action in the future.
You should be breathing easier now and may feel the excitement of the new year creeping in.
Take that adrenaline and attack the next item at the top of your content marketing list. Go get’em!