A content calendar is a document where you can plan out the schedule for all the content you want to publish in a given period of time. Ideally, every business should have a content calendar, as it makes it easier to track all the content that’s supposed to be published on your various platforms so you don’t forget about any of them.
Content calendars are also great for SEO and other marketing purposes because they make sure you are consistently creating and publishing content that can help you attract more traffic and improve your rankings on search engines.
Now that you see how important it is to plan your content, let’s go into six tips that can help you create an effective content calendar.
Start by making a note of any important dates
When you’re planning your content, you’ll want to arrange it around important dates. These could include dates that are important to a lot of people, such as Christmas. You could also add industry events, and dates that are important to your business — such as when you’ll be releasing your next line of products.
Keeping these dates in mind can help direct your publishing schedule so you’ll know when to create and post seasonal content. The dates can also influence the types of content that are suitable to create for some specific periods. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that you create celebratory content to acknowledge periods like Christmas or the New Year. And it’s also important not to forget to recognize somber holidays like Memorial Day.
Make sure you mix up your content types
You don’t just want to create one type of content time and time again — it’s important that you mix it up to keep people interested, target a wide range of keywords and appeal to different segments of your audience. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of content you can create and add to your content calendar.
How-to guides are informative pieces of content that tell readers how to perform a particular task. Most how-to guides include specific and step-by-step instructions that can help people to achieve a goal. To give you a practical example, let’s take a look at this how-to guide from FreshBooks.
FreshBooks is a company that provides an accounting solution for small and medium-sized businesses. As a way to educate their audience, they’ve created a blog post that explains how to write a winning invoice letter.
The guide outlines up to eight steps and it gives specific instructions that can help small businesses create a good invoice letter to send along with their invoices when billing clients.
They even include a simple format at the end of the post to give people a head start on creating their invoice letters. Looking at it, you can see that it’s a really great example of an evergreen topic as content like this can typically be posted at any time when you don’t have a seasonal idea.
To create something like this for your business, you want to make sure you’re choosing topics that can actually help solve pain points for your audience. So to do this, you can look through social media forums like Reddit or Quora, and read through the discussions that are taking place around topics in your niche. This will give you a better idea of the problems your target audience is facing.
When it comes to industry news, these are content pieces that you can use to enlighten your audience about events or updates that are taking place in your industry. To give you some inspiration for creating an industry news piece, here’s one from Hootsuite that we can look at as an example.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows people to curate content for social media, schedule posts and monitor their effectiveness. As a company in the social media industry, they try to publish information that relates to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
In this example, you will find that they’ve created a post to talk about Instagram’s new update that allows businesses to add a Black-owned label to their accounts. As a social media management platform, the company would have a number of Black-owned businesses as customers or in their audience. So making a post about this update is a great way to inform people about what’s happening in the world of Instagram and how it affects them and their businesses.
By including content about industry news in your content calendar, you’ll be able to show your audience that you’re staying up to date on all the current events in your industry and also care enough to educate them about these updates.
Round-Ups or Comparison Pieces
Round-ups or comparison pieces highlight different product or service options that are available to customers and then provide information such as the benefits and disadvantages of each one. Comparison pieces offer a great way to help people make a better buying decision and they are greatly appreciated by customers who are in the consideration stage of their buying journey.
Here’s a fantastic example of a comparison piece so you can get a better understanding of what they look like.
Best Nursing Programs is an online resource that provides useful information about the best universities and schools for people who want to become qualified nurses. On their blog, they’ve created a round-up of 88 schools to compare which ones have the best-accelerated nursing programs for prospective students.
They rank these schools based on factors like location, pass rates, graduation rates and tuition fees. This allows their audience to get enough information that will help them decide what school is the best, and which nursing program would fit their academic needs.
You should also be thinking of adding comparison pieces to your content calendar, as they will help your audience in making better decisions on what to buy. Just make sure you maintain an objective and unbiased stance when comparing several companies or products, even if your business is part of the options.
Always have a goal in mind
A lot of websites and business owners make the mistake of churning out content without having any real goal in mind, but the best content strategies have intention behind them. Some of the common goals you might have for creating content are boosting your SEO, promoting a particular product or establishing authority in your field.
To establish your goals, consider what you want to achieve with the content you’ll be creating. It’s important to do this as it will guide you in choosing the types of content to create. For instance, if you want to show your expertise and establish authority in your field, you should ideally think about creating ultimate guides.
Ultimate guides are long-form and well-detailed pieces of content that you can use to educate your audience on several topics, and they also allow you to show your audience how knowledgeable you are. And if your goal is to boost SEO, you should be looking at creating quality how-to guides that include relevant keywords that will help your content rank on search engines.
To help you in identifying your content goals, Loganix has some useful SEO templates that you can use. You’ll find that the content strategy and content brief templates will be particularly useful in helping you stay on track with your content marketing goals.
Create both timely and evergreen content
You need to have a mix of both timely and evergreen content in your calendar. Timely content refers to the type of content that is focused on current events, while evergreen content is based on topics that will continue to stay relevant even as time goes on.
Your timely content can be tied to special dates in your content calendar, and your evergreen can be slotted into your plan wherever there’s a gap. To come up with topics for timely content, make sure that you follow relevant news sources in your industry and stay updated on events that are happening around the world.
And, if you want to craft topics for evergreen content, one way to do so is by performing keyword research. To do this, you’ll need to use specialist keyword research tools like the ones from Moz or Ubersuggest. You can input relevant words about your niche and they’ll give you a list of search queries and keywords that have been typed into search engines by people in your target audience. With this information, you’ll be able to come up with evergreen topics that your ideal audience will genuinely be interested in.
To give you some more context, let’s look at some examples of these types of content.
My Canada Payday is a financial lending company. On their blog, they have a post that talks about how people can thrive in a post-Covid-19 economy. The world as we know it has changed post-Covid and people in their audience might be finding it hard to come to terms with the reality of how things have changed.
So, to help, the company has created a post that highlights the different ways that people can deal with the changes while ensuring their personal finances do not suffer too much as a result of the pandemic. It’s a great example of a timely piece of content because it provides very useful information on how people can develop new skills, explore new opportunities and even leverage technology to ensure they stay profitable in such an uncertain period.
And, for our example of evergreen content, we have a post from Bookyourdata on cold emailing and how it’s the most effective marketing channel. In the post, they outline the advantages of cold emailing and even explain all the common misunderstandings that people usually have about this method of marketing. Cold-emailing has proved itself time and time again to be a very useful marketing technique, so this piece is one that would definitely be relevant and helpful to marketers and businesses for a long period of time.
These content types can work for any business — product- or service-based. You just need to make sure that the topics you select are relevant to your industry. Just because a topic is evergreen or trending doesn’t mean it will provide value for your business, so you need to be careful in discerning what topics you should cover.
Remember to plan how you’re going to promote your content
It’s not enough to just create your content — it also needs to be promoted so people can see it. Some of the popular ways people promote their content is through social media or newsletters. On your social media platforms, you could create posts that link to the content on your website and then include an intriguing caption that attracts the attention of your audience and makes them want to read the full post.
And, if you have a newsletter list, you could also send out email updates whenever you write blog posts. You can simply write a summary of the post in the email and include the link to the full piece on your website. Now let’s take a look at a company that does well in promoting its content effectively.
Tribetactics is a company that offers content production and repurposing services for its clients. On their social media accounts, they regularly share updates on their blog. Take for example this post on their LinkedIn that tells people about the different ways to repurpose video episodes into different formats. The post highlights video and audio, then leaves a link to their site for people to continue reading the blog post.
By doing this, they’ve piqued the interest of their audience on social media so people will want to click on the link and find out the other formats for repurposing content. This is something you can also do on your social media platforms to get people interested in your blog posts and drive more traffic to your website.
And if you need help in monitoring your social media analytics to check the success of your promotion efforts, check out this post from SocialPilot that highlights some of the best social media analytics and reporting tools. They will help you in monitoring the activity from your promotion efforts so you can know if and when to tweak your content sharing strategy.
While it’s important that you plan your content in advance, you should still be flexible in case anything happens that would need you to change course. For instance, the coronavirus pandemic changed the world very quickly, and a lot of businesses had to change their content plans.
Other events like the death of a prominent figure, an industry-wide crisis, global issues, or any unforeseen circumstance could also cause a business to change its content calendar. Even if the news does not affect your brand directly, it may affect your audience so you need to stay updated and monitor the type of content you’re putting out, if any, during sensitive periods.
If you want to get the best results from your website content, you need to ensure you have an effective strategy and calendar in place. I’ve outlined some great tips for you, like taking note of important dates, creating both timely and evergreen content, as well as staying flexible and open to change in case of unforeseen situations.
These tips will be of great help in ensuring that you create a truly effective content calendar that guides your business and improves your consistency when it comes to content posting. And, if you would like more tips on topics similar to this, make sure you check out more of Study Breaks’ content for additional help.
Aaron Haynes is CEO and co-founder of Loganix. The company is an SEO fulfillment partner for digital marketing agencies and professionals, which provides the services businesses need to improve their online visibility and grow. If you liked this article, check out the Loganix blog, where you’ll find more SEO guides full of expert advice.