SET UP YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Once you’ve built your buyer persona and mapped your content around that persona’s buying cycle, it’s time to figure out when and where to share the content you will ultimately be creating. An effective way to do this is to create an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is like a roadmap for content creation, showing you what kind of content to create, what topics to cover, which personas to target, and how often to publish to best support your inbound marketing strategy.
Here are some suggested steps for creating yours:
1. Set up your editorial calendar by creating a Google calendar or spreadsheet to record your editorial plans. While in an ideal world you should be planning for the next three months, that goal is oftentimes easier said than done. Work backwards from your marketing goals to guide your plan.
2. Look at how much traffic, how many leads, and how many customers you are aiming to generate during the timeframe of the editorial calendar — whether that be a week, month, or quarter. Analyzing your previous marketing efforts can help determine how many pieces of content you typically need to reach those goals.
3. Fill your calendar with specific dates and publishing tasks, such as updating blogs or social networks daily, posting new videos or podcasts each week, publishing an ebook or hosting a webinar each month, and so on. For each date, list the topic, the title of the piece, and the target persona. The goal is to create a good mix of content types, topics, and personas to make sure you’re covering your various audiences.
Note the SEO keywords, the stage of the buying cycle, the calls-to-action, or other inbound marketing goals that each piece of content must address.
4. Make note of important dates or external events that are good hooks for specific topics or types of content. For example, retailers could highlight major holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, or Mother’s Day and plan content that fits with the seasonal theme. B2B marketers could note important industry trade shows they plan to attend, and schedule blog updates, recaps, or videos generated at the event.
5. Look for opportunities to repurpose content. For example, the publication of a new whitepaper or research report could generate several weeks’ worth of blog posts that each share details or small nuggets of data from the complete report. Create separate tabs for each kind of content you publish, such as blog posts, webinars, ebooks, videos, etc. That way, you can make sure you’re publishing enough of each kind of content, and spreading that content appropriately among your targeted personas and stages of the buying cycle.
By the end of this process, you’ll find that you’ve filled up most of your calendar with detailed plans for content. This should prevent you from spending hours each day planning your content by providing you with a content calendar that you simply follow. If there are a few holes, that’s okay. You want the flexibility to capitalize on news or hot topics as they arise over the course of the year.
For those weeks when you can’t find the inspiration for, say, another blog post, calling up your calendar will give you a great visual reminder of what you’ve covered already and what you’re planning to cover next week or next month, so you can at least narrow down your options.
CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY
With the information and resources provided on this page, you should be ready to start developing (or thinking about who to hire) to help you develop your content strategy and begin cranking out some killer content.
Here’s a quick summary of the important points we covered:
1. Use behavioral and demographic information about your prospects to develop buyer personas based on their interests and needs, then target your content accordingly.
2. Map your content to the buying cycle of your customers to ensure that you’re creating content that works best for your readers based on which stage they are in.
3. Create an editorial calendar to build a detailed schedule for creating and publishing content.
4. Find new ways to come up with creative content topics that are relevant, helpful, and fun for your readers, and keep a backlog of these ideas so you always have some on hand when you’re ready to create new content.