As most business marketers know, content has made its way to the forefront of digital marketing in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) ranking and driving traffic to your website. However, pushing out a high volume of content without an underlying strategy is a waste of time and money.
One of the best tools for mapping out your content is with a strategically planned content calendar. Research from the Content Marketing Institute indicates that only 32 percent of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, and those marketers with a plan are 60 percent more likely to be effective with their content marketing than those without.
So let’s examine 7 smart ways a content calendar can help keep your marketing team strategically aligned with your marketing objectives.
1) Keyword Placement
Using the keywords decided upon during an SEO audit, plan your content calendar in a manner that allows you to strategically feature those keywords in regular blog posts.
2) Blog with a Focus on Consistency and Quality
Not only is it good for SEO, but regularly released blogs also increase your visibility to your blogging community, your social media followers and your e-newsletter subscribers. Creating quality content on a regular basis tells Google to keep an eye on your website, and it will help you be found for your keywords on an ongoing basis. A content calendar will also save you a lot of time because you won’t have to create content on the fly.
3) Take Advantage of Timely Topics
Holidays, seasons and the ever-expanding list of national recognition days make it easy to plan topics around those events. For example, during the week of Thanksgiving, one of our clients issued a list of the 10 customer habits for which they are most thankful. On National Manufacturers Day, clients with manufacturing expertise can post premium content such as a Manufacturer’s Guide to Tax Credits.
4) Be Flexible: Revisit Your Calendar and Realign as Needed
Sometimes it’s necessary to make changes to your calendar based on sudden news. By reviewing your calendar on a regular basis, you can be sure that you are targeting each audience with enough frequency and are able to spot gaps in coverage. There will be times when you need to deviate from your planned calendar topics—and that’s fine! Sometimes our clients’ priorities change, or there is late-breaking news that affects their clients. Just be sure you adjust your calendar to get back on track.
5) Assign and Divide Responsibilities
Who is writing your blogs? Are you using internal experts, your marketing team or an agency? Our Strategic Marketing team here at Skoda Minotti works in a variety of ways. Sometimes we edit the blogs for our internal experts, and other times we create original copy for a blog. The same holds true for our agency clients. Depending on our clients’ needs – and their budgets – we may write a weekly blog or two blogs a month. In some instances, we alternate with the client for blogging responsibilities. Your content calendar should include a column that lists the author for each blog.
6) Mix It Up
When you plan your content calendar, think beyond blogs. Include premium content such as e-books, checklists and white papers. Premium content requires visitors to submit contact information—that’s valuable information that can help your business generate leads.
Infographics can be a great way to present information in an attractive format that your audience can quickly digest. Finally, consider repurposing longer content into sound bites that can stand alone or link to your longer content. By repurposing content, we reach our clients’ audiences with multiple formats (e.g., blogs and infographics) in different mediums (e.g., blogs, newsletters, social media, etc.). Consider the areas of expertise you want to prioritize and which content your audience would most value.
7) Track Your Progress
There are a number of tools we use to determine how well our clients’ blogs are tracking, both in Google search and in reader interest. By using analytical tools, you can quickly get a good sense of content performance. For example, heat map software can tell you where visitors click on a page and how far down they are scrolling.
Our Strategic Marketing team works with our clients to track the performance of their content and make any necessary adjustments, such as content release timing and keyword tweaking. Our focus is on increasing page views, boosting the number of blog subscribers and driving more leads into your sales funnel.