Using a content calendar to plan your content has many benefits.
For example, a content calendar helps you:
Having a content calendar helps you to be more organised as you can plan the content you are going to use well in advance, rather than putting something together just in time, or even missing the deadline all together.
You can easily work back from the publish date for each piece of content in the calendar, planning when you need to start work on the piece to be able to publish it on time.
You can visualise at a glance the content you are going to publish for the next month, 6 months or even a year to make sure that you have a consistent flow of quality content lined up, rather than sporadic bursts of content of varying quality with big chunks of no content in between.
So how do you create a content calendar for your business?
Rather than recreating the wheel, save yourself the time and download one of the many free content calendar templates available online.
Here are 2 of my favourites:
Adapt the template to your needs, including video, social media updates, case studies, photos and eBooks etc as you wish.
There are also plenty of paid for content calendars available.
Once you have your content calendar in place, the next step is to fill it with quality content that you are going to publish and share with your audiences.
But where are you going to find inspiration to come up with ideas to fill your content calendar?
Here are 9 ways to help you find inspiration to fill your content calendar with relevant and quality content that your audiences will want to read and share.
1. Keep an Eye on the Competition
Monitor what content your competitors are creating.
For example, could you create a blog post that would go into their blog posts in more detail or write about the subject matter from a different angle?
Look at the comments they get. Could you use that information as inspiration?
2. Ask People What They Would Like You to Blog About
At the end of your blog posts, ask people to make suggestions for future posts in the comments field.
Or you could ask people on social media what they would like you to blog about. Do a quick poll to ask people if they would like you to blog about topic A or topic B next.
It’s also a great way to interact with your followers.
Remember to answer every comment and suggestion and let the person know if you do publish a blog post using their suggestion (actually, this blog post was suggested by Gail Logan of Kore Transformation – thanks again Gail!)
3. Content Curation
Don't be afraid to share other people's content (and remember to give them credit for their work!).
Feedly is a great tool to help with content creation.
4. Repurpose Existing Content
Do you have any content that you have already created that you could repurpose? For example, perhaps you have a video on YouTube that you could transcribe and use as the basis of an email in your email marketing?
Or perhaps you have an eBook that you could use to create a blog post to encourage people to sign up for your free eBook?
Or perhaps even a webinar that you could use to create short clips that could be used on your website and social media?
If you’re stuck for ideas for what to blog about you could try HubSpot’s blog generator tool. Just type in a few keywords and it will come back with plenty of ideas.
6. Google Alerts
Set up Google Alerts relevant to your industry so that you can let your target audiences know when news breaks that might be of interest to them or affect them in some way.
7. Important Calendar Days and Holidays
Work your way through the months of the year and add in to your calendar all the important days and holidays that you could produce content to mark or promote in some way.
You can find a list of important calendar days and holidays on Time and Date’s website.
8. Key Dates for Your Industry Both at Home and Abroad
What events are coming up that will be important for your industry?
If you know you are going to be involved in an event, however big or small it is, that would be of interest to your target market, you could write about it or create a video, sharing what you learned.
The more valuable the content you share with your target audiences, the more they will come to see you as an authority in your field and trust you (and hopefully do business with you and recommend you to others).
9. Key Dates/Events for Your Business
While these can’t always be known in advance, if you know that you are definitely going to be doing something that your audiences would be interested to know about, get it in the calendar.
I hope you've found this blog post useful. You can find out more about what we can do to help your small business grow by visiting our Marketing Services page.
Or even better, go ahead and contact us now by phoning 0131 629 5117 or dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.