In order for your small business to be successful with content marketing, you need to be strategic in producing content that strikes a chord with your audiences and connects with their needs. In other words, your content needs to ‘hook’ your audience and make them keep coming back for more!
The whole point of content marketing is to educate, without trying to sell, so that your customers are able to make informed decisions, and because you provided them with that knowledge, they are more likely to feel a connection to your brand.
So how do you decide on the right content topics? Most people simply pick topics when they sit down to write, but a better way of simplifying and organizing your content for maximum effect is through an editorial calendar that strategically lays out your content marketing activities for a set period of time.
Before you create your editorial calendar, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Who are your target audiences?
- What topics are they interested in?
- What trends are happening in your industry?
- What publications/blogs do your audiences read?
- What topics are your competitors covering?
Once you answer these questions, you are ready to start organizing your editorial calendar. There is no right or wrong format here, you can use a simple bulleted list, an excel file, or there are a ton of online tools to help you create and organize your calendar (for a good list, click here).
Some column headings to get you organized can include things like:
- Content type (blog post, feature story, news release etc.)
- Content headline
- The audience you’re writing this piece for
- The person assigned to create this content
- The date you want to publish it
- The channels you will use to distribute it (i.e. your website, social media etc.)
- Your measurement metrics (page hits, comments, downloads etc.)
Once you organize your categories, brainstorm topic ideas based on your audiences and what they are interested in. When you have your main ideas you can organize your calendar by general themes for each week or month. Always stay flexible in your content scheduling to allow for changes, the world is always changing so you never know when a new trend or news event will happen that you may want to cover.
You should also identify how each piece of content can be re-purposed. A feature story can be re-worked into a blog post, a news release can be dissected into social media status updates, always look for ways to re-use your content.
Taking the time to strategize and plan your content will go a long way towards making sure that you’re always providing fresh content to your audiences. And by having a strategic editorial calendar, your job as publisher will much easier and (hopefully) stress-free!