Like most B2B organizations, you probably have developed a content marketing strategy (if not, time to play catch up). Without a strategic blueprint that clearly spells out how you plan to use and develop marketing content, which building blocks you already have in place and where your gaps are, you might be sabotaging your future success. And once that foundation is in place, your next steps should include creating a comprehensive marketing content calendar that details how and at what pace you’ll address these gaps over time. As the old saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
So, why is it so important to have a plan and well-considered processes in place when it comes to content marketing instead of “just doing what you can” as team members have time? The reasons are many, but in short, developing a content marketing calendar that supports your broader content marketing strategy…
1. Creates accountability for content and aligns your team around common goals
Establishing a detailed content calendar that denotes which team members own the different elements of your content development efforts goes a long way towards creating accountability. Like anything else, your calendar needs to be enforced and maintained, but adhering to it will mean a consistent flow of valuable information to prospects and customers. In addition to assigning specific team members to specific deliverables, it should denote which funnel stage the content serves, which personas are being targeted, due date and other information relevant to your strategy.
2. Helps you allocate resources within the team to achieve desired results
With a formal, regimented content calendar in place, it will be easier to allocate team resources to complete the pieces and keep the content machine moving smoothly. Your content calendar’s primary purpose is to schedule when, where, and what you should post/publish, as well as outlining the types of content you plan to create. Having an established cadence of consistent high-value content keeps both prospects and customers interested and engaged, so identifying and addressing internal resource challenges that could hinder your ability to meet these content demands is important.
3. Guides which type of content to develop
Developing a detailed content calendar also provides a framework for outlining the specific “content buckets” you’ll need to address and ideally will include example topics and guidance on what percentage of your content development should be allocated to each bucket. In addition to helping you create the right types of content for each part of the buyer’s journey, a well-crafted marketing calendar gives you insight into how well you’re covering the span of pain points your solutions address and the areas of knowledge that your market would expect you to cover.
Planning tip: Get together around a white board with your product management team to ideate and align on the most pressing problems and issues current customers or prospects are dealing with. When able, get further validation of these topic areas with long-time customers and prospects that you’ve established a strong dialogue with. Then, use this information to guide your content strategy and further prioritize your content marketing calendar.
4. Aligns team on target audience profiles
As we indicated earlier, a detailed content calendar will define which persona is being targeted with each piece and what stage the intended audience is at in the pipeline. It’s critical that you develop materials which personally resonate with your audience for greatest impact. Naturally, this can’t occur if your team hasn’t already developed and operationalized buyer personas. Keeping personas front and center in your content development processes helps your team focus on audience needs instead of your own.
5. Establishes urgency and priorities for your marketing content
No doubt, putting your content plan in a documented format complete with the type of content you want produced and a deadline for getting it completed will provide a necessary rigor and discipline around this process. It’s even comforting for team members who have been assigned specific content pieces that there’s a schedule in place to keep everyone accountable. With all this in place, you’ve really done everyone a favor in setting them up for success.
Bonus tip: A helpful element in the content development equation is devising a useful keyword strategy around topics your audience is interested in. Keywords help search engines connect your audience with the content they’re looking for. Your content calendar can help you plan and track keyword focus to boost your site’s organic traffic.
Get your team together or if you’re going this alone, block out time on your calendar and get focused on the job at hand. There’s even a variety of content calendar tools out there in template formats to help plan all of your company’s content. Remember, your content should never be about YOU. Creating insightful content which solves customer problems and proves to them you understand their business should be your “true north” as you embark on this journey.