Let’s talk about Content Club. It’s a member-based community, launched by Yappa, that runs free events and training courses to help people make better content. If you’re a Brighton local and (in their words) a “digital maker, mover or shaker”, it’s more than likely that you’ve been to one of their events. If you haven’t, we highly recommend getting along to one, soon.
Earlier this year, we attended one of their sessions on the importance of creating a content calendar. Put simply, this is a calendar that details what content your business will produce and how it will be delivered to your followers through various platforms, over a given time. While it’s tempting to write down Content Club’s entire presentation word for word, here are our top takeaways instead:
- There’s no denying it: having a content calendar is crucial. It helps you plan and organise your content, providing vital structure. It saves time and improves focus – not to mention making collaboration easier!
- A content calendar can provide the cure to procrastination (well, almost). Having a public and concrete deadline, shared with your team, your clients and even your followers, spurs you to take action. It also keeps you on-brand and on-message, which is important for building trust with your audience. Once earned, the best way to maintain that trust is by holding yourself accountable to those deadlines, posting on a reliable schedule so that your audience has a reason to keep coming back.
- Effective content marketing is both proactive and reactive. Planning content around themed campaigns, brand-related news and relevant upcoming events helps develop a loyal following. Meanwhile, reactive content helps you to stay relevant and engaging, providing an opportunity to join a topical conversation. Make sure you do both.
- Not sure what to post? Ask your followers! Find out what they want to read. Do they have burning questions you can answer? Could they provide feedback you can use to optimise your content? Taking this approach is engaging in itself: think Twitter polls, Facebook Live Q&As and Instagram Stories, or simply a traditional survey.
- Harness the talents of your creative followers. User-generated content (UGC) builds brand credibility: customers trust other customers. Host competitions, create personalised products and campaigns, share interviews and reviews, and repurpose advice and top tips into list posts and infographics. Encourage your audience to use a specific photo hashtag, so you can easily identify and repost. Good UGC is inherently shareable and encourages others to get involved.
- Once you’ve identified your topics and audiences, it’s time to be populate your calendar. Be realistic about the platforms you’re going to use and how often you’ll need to post on them. Remember to add time for planning and things like content development (like a long-form blog post or video filming and editing). A top tip is to schedule related warm-up posts – telling your followers that a piece of content, event or promotion is on its way.
- Make sure everything has a strategic purpose. Whether it’s to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, generate sales leads, convert leads to sales, improve customer retention or upsell, you should know how each piece of content is going to impact upon that. Never post content just for the sake of it.
Finally, although you really need to maintain a rolling content calendar, it should always have room for flexibility and adjustment. Most find that planning one month in advance works best, with a six-month or yearly outline that will help guide each month – although this may vary according to the size of your business.
Keeping track of your analytics will help you to identify which posts are working and which need to be adjusted or removed. And always have evergreen, back-up content in reserve. This allows the breathing space to handle the unexpected (coming down with the flu or disappearing on a spontaneous holiday…).
by Liz Naven