If there’s one thing every inbound marketer should do in 2014 to ensure they’re set up for success, it’s incorporating a content calendar into their inbound marketing strategy. And for those who currently use one, I suggest you take it one step further and make sure you’re taking full advantage of this beneficial planning and tracking tool.
A content calendar is your key to making sure you are consistently publishing strategic, unforgettable, and share-worthy content.
If you’re like me then you appreciate the start of a new year and the opportunity to get organized in both your personal and professional life. Consistently utilizing a content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) can help you in a variety of ways. Here are the top 10 that every inbound marketing program can benefit from:
1. Strategically plan for dates, holidays, product launches, seasonal trends, etc.
Before you begin scheduling blog posts or assigning topics to writers, you’ll want to take a look at the upcoming months and determine what specific dates might affect the content you’re publishing. Topical, timely content reminds your readers that you are informed and up to date, plus it allows you to tap into opportunities for additional exposure.
2. Eliminate writer’s block and increase productivity.
By planning out topics, titles, and keywords in advance you and your writers will be better prepared to sit down and write a fine-tuned blog post. No need for last minute, late night writing when you know exactly what your blog post will be about and when it is due to your Blog Manager.
3. Your blog will have a healthy diversity of topics.
A content calendar allows for you to balance out the topics appropriately in order to keep your readers interested and showcase your different areas of expertise.
4. CTAs will be used to reach readers at different stages of the sales process.
Many of your blog post topics should be chosen based on the desired action you want a reader to take. A content calendar helps you plan content based on the CTAs you need to focus on and also allows for balance.
5. Strategic keyword usage and tracking will become much easier.
Use your content calendar to strategically choose keywords before writing begins, and update the calendar after you’ve finished optimizing the final product. This will make it easier to refer to which keywords you’ve targeted over a period of time and whether your efforts are working.
6. You’ll see more consistent publishing because of deadlines and planning.
As mentioned in #2, deadlines and proper planning can greatly help writers from getting “stuck” but it will also keep a week or two from slipping by without publishing. The trick here: Make sure writers adhere to deadlines set.
7. You can still allow for flexibility and inspiration.
With a content calendar, nothing is set in stone, and nothing should be. Something might happen in the news or maybe a writer is inspired by a personal experience with a client, don’t hinder this type of content by refusing to budge.
8. Never forget a blog post idea again.
On your content calendar we suggest you also have a blog post idea-tracking tab that is updated regularly. Whether it’s from an official brainstorm or something writers email you because they’re thinking about writing on that topic – use your content calendar as a tool to record it and follow up.
9. Methodically create themes and series of posts that will engage your readers.
Instead of haphazardly posting a series, you could plan for it to run every Friday or the first Thursday of the month. You can even create recurring themes that your readers will become used to and anticipate such as a Friday round-up post or end of the month Infographic.
10. Help your partners help you.
If you work with an inbound marketing agency or consulting company like The Center for Sales Strategy then keeping your content calendar updated can really help us help you. We’ll have the ability to provide feedback on titles, chosen CTAs, or keywords before you publish a post – only further ensuring your content is optimized and top-notch.
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