While 79% of B2B marketers have a content strategy, only 43% actually have it documented. Without a documented strategy, you are missing out on higher levels of productivity and better results for your brand or client. At ColinKurtis, we use content calendars to help our food ingredient, manufacturing and equipment brands stay organized. If you feel like you are always getting behind on projects, read these steps on how to build an effective content calendar.
1. Audit Your Channels and Brainstorm
An outward-in approach to content planning will help you see the bigger picture. So before you dive right into planning your content, the first step is to analyze your channels. For example:
- What social media platforms do you use?
- Do you use email marketing?
- Are you writing blogs?
- What content is currently on each of these platforms?
Also, before you start filling in your content calendar, take some time to ideate and brainstorm. Think about what content has been successful in the past or if there are gaps that need to be filled. Knowing which channels you have and getting your ideas flowing will be the foundation of your content calendar strategy.
2. Define Your Goals
Another big picture step is to define your brand’s goals. If you already have a strategic plan, you can incorporate key messaging from that, and if not, plan out a few overarching goals that you want to integrate into all of your content. These goals will be important to refer back to when planning out topics. Try naming the top three goals, placing them at the top of your content calendar template for visual reference.
3. Decide on a Timeframe
Based on the number of channels and projects, decide on a timeframe your content calendar will outline. For example, are you planning for the entire year or quarter by quarter? The more content you have to plan for, the smaller your timeframe should be. This is because you want your content calendar to be effective, and crowded content calendars can be overwhelming. For example, some of our food and beverage clients post frequently on social media, and it’s best to plan quarterly, so the calendar doesn’t get too long. But if you are only doing one post a month, then planning in a yearly format would be acceptable.
4. Build Your Template
Now that you have your channels, goals and timeframe, it is time to start building out your content calendar. First, start by choosing what software you will use. You can purchase many templates online, but simple tools like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets can also be effective. To build your own template, begin by placing your goals at the top so you can easily refer back to them. Then, add your timeframe, content categories and any other key information relevant to your brand—the more personalized it is to your brand’s workflow and productivity, the better. At ColinKurtis, we like to frame our content calendars around three categories—paid, owned and earned content.
5. Fill Out The Categories
Now for the fun part! Go through each category—social, email, blogs, etc.—and fill in your topics. The more details you can include in the content calendar, the more helpful it will be later on. For example, consider including a link, CTA or image direction if you are planning social posts. Also, keep in mind important dates like holidays or events and plan those into your content. If you work as part of a team, now would be the time to call upon the experts in each category to assist with topic ideation or guidance.
So now that you know the steps, why are content calendars beneficial? Content calendars are particularly helpful when you work on a team because you can have everything planned out in one place. This ensures that everyone is organized and on the same page. Content calendars also hold you accountable for your work. You can check back with your calendar to see what you accomplished, as well as what pieces of content might have missed the mark. Finally, having all of your content planned in one place helps you track your results and better plan for the future. While this may seem like an extra step in your content planning process, content calendars will actually save you valuable time and energy down the road.
Want help creating a content calendar for your food and beverage brand? Contact Mitch Robinson at Mitch@colinkurtis.com or call 815.965.6657 EXT. 1, and find out how ColinKurtis Advertising can help!
Blog post from:
Vice President, Digital Integration