The time for content marketing to shine is now — according to LinkedIn, 72 percent of marketers report having a content marketing strategy in place.
However, only 30 percent of those that reported having a content marketing strategy, actually have it documented. If content marketers are not documenting what they are planning to implement, how are they able to activate their internal stakeholders and clearly define their goals? How are they able to fly blindly while investing more money in content marketing?
Implementing a content strategy without documenting it is like embarking on a family trip without a map or itinerary. You might have an ultimate destination in mind, but without a plan for how to get the family there and what to do when you are there, competing internal agendas and miscommunication can make it difficult to complete your travel goals. LaneTerralever’s Senior Director of Content Marketing, Elise Gould, presented a webinar on the importance of content marketing editorial planning and six steps that you can take to build a content calendar that you will actually use.
Having a content calendar in place allows your company to state its objectives and track progress. Your team’s content calendar should be an executive summary of your content marketing strategy, track every step of your content strategy, and include SEO initiatives, content marketing, press releases, events, product releases, and digital media assets.
How to avoid creating a content calendar that won’t get used
Just because a content calendar is created does not mean it will get used. There are several reasons why content marketers might not use their content calendar, including:
- The content calendar was created in a silo, without much input from other departments in the organization.
- The content calendar is not flexible enough and cannot move the way that content needs to.
- The timelines are too stringent for production.
- Content was not tied to measurable goals.
Understanding why content calendars do not get used will help you construct a calendar that will be efficient and useful in reaching your content marketing goals. If you are struggling to herd any content rebels, it's important to remind them that a content calendar is not about controlling content creation, it's about creating better content more efficiently.
How to create a successful content marketing editorial plan
Your team’s content calendar should define who will be responsible for creating the content and the process by which content will get created and maintained. Focus on building a scalable and repeatable content strategy that allows for clear communication and shared governance. It's important to craft a unified approach to your content strategy by aligning all your internal initiatives and creating a content strategy that everyone can get behind.
Here are six simple steps to help you create your content calendar:
- Interview all stakeholders and define content objectives.
- Get to know your target audience.
- Conduct keyword research, using a tool like BrightEdge.
- Research your competitors.
- Identify potential opportunities.
- Identify key messages and content pillars.
Case study: Advanced Recovery Systems
If you want to see the effectiveness of a content calendar, look no further than our client Advanced Recovery Systems, who generated an 87 percent increase in revenue with a content calendar that drives SEO. Using BrightEdge's keyword research capabilities — the Data Cube and Opportunity Forecasting — we were able to identify keyword phrases that demonstrate high user intent, recognize content opportunities, and prioritize content production.
After identifying what content would be produced, we set a publishing cadence of three content pieces and one premium content piece each week. We also deployed several location-specific microsites to reach location-specific searches. Utilizing this process in 2016, ARS was able to see a 441 percent growth in monthly visitors, a 51.57 percent decrease in marketing cost per admission, an 87 percent increase in monthly admissions, and a 188 percent increase in total organic listings.
Let content calendars help keep all teams in sync
Utilizing a content calendar for all to see and use can give you a common starting place for everyone involved in your content strategy, and ensures that all parties are on message and on brand in their content creation. It also allows you to measure the effectiveness of your content strategy and report back on it, which can help you earn your keep in the boardroom and continue to grow your authority.
To learn more about the keys to creating a successful content calendar in six easy steps, watch our webinar and hear more about how documentation can revolutionize your content strategy.