A content calendar is your marketing master plan. When you have a plan you know where you are going and it makes your life easier.
RV-Ing has become massively popular this year. It allows you to take a vacation without all the travel risks we face in this time of the coronavirus. You’re buffered from having to go into as many group settings. You can minimize indoor restaurants, stores, and the like.
Before you can jump into your rig and take off… you have to make some decisions.
Imagine this scenario…
“Honey lets take off in the RV this weekend.”
“Great idea, where shall we go?”
“Oh, I don’t know…maybe just wander.”
“Well, okay, but how do I know what to pack? I won’t know what kind of clothes we need or how many. I need to know how long so I know what to do for food. Will we stay where we can get electricity and WiFi? You know I hate dry camping.
“ What about a pool? A place with a pool would be really nice.” She paused and sighed, thinking of soaking up some sun, and paddling on a pool float.
“Right…I was thinking of avoiding the crowds. I heard the COVID is more prevalent along the interstate.”
Her voice dropped. ‘I didn’t think of that. With more people using their RVs campground, will we even be able to get a reservation? I’d have to get on this right away.”
He nodded his head. “It’s sounding like a lot of work. Maybe we should just stay at home. How about we fire up the grill and do steaks with the kids?”
She stepped closer and slipped her arms around his neck. “Did I ever tell you that you are one clever man?”
While deciding to stay home might be the easy way out for your vacation. For your business…not making decisions or creating plans could have far more dire results.
You, like me, have probably been involved in making a lot of vacation plans and business plans. Without a plan, things just don’t get completed. Stuff gets missed, opportunities lost.
Taking the time to create a master plan for your business marketing may not be on the top of your fun list. Yet it can be very rewarding. Better sales, happy loyal customers, and life made easier.
That’s the beauty of a content calendar.
3 Benefits of a Content calendar.
All marketing needs to be built around the person who is your ideal client – it’s targeted to and for them. So for your calendar to be effective, you need to have a clear image of your client.
A Content Calendar is Client-Centric
You start with everything you know about how your product is the solution for your target client. How it improves their life. Use your prospective client avatar to determine their emotional triggers.
What are their needs, goals, pain points? Then determine how they look for solutions. Are they hunting and hanging out on social media, or are they searching websites? For social media, which channels do they use the most?
What search words are they using? What questions are they asking? Armed with this information you know how and where to reach them.
Guys obsessed with fly fishing or motorcycles will be looking in very different places than a woman suffering from stress, pain, and lack of sleep. Their emotional triggers for buying are different. Your marketing has to be different.
Will you want to approach your prospect the same way year-round or will there be seasonal and holiday influences? In most cases, you may want to use holidays to help your target client find the perfect gift for people they buy for.
For women, finding a perfect gift is significant. When they give a gift that is so perfect it brings joy to the recipient, they as the giver also get a dose of pleasure…another emotional trigger.
Most men want shopping quick and easy.
For many women, a positive shopping experience gives them a dopamine rush…it feels good. It also drives them back to where they had the experience, to do it again.
Your Content Calendar Keeps Things On Schedule
Your content calendar has three key considerations. The special annual calendar days that are celebrated or recognized for the country you live in. The marketing content you will share and the conversations you will have with customers and prospects.
With a content calendar, the next to-do’s are clear and pre-scheduled.
You have a plan to follow so amidst the distractions of business operations, your marketing stays focused and on schedule.
Managing a business and helping it grow is a lot of work. The smaller the team, the broader the workload. The broader the decision making responsibilities. This in itself can get you side-tracked.
Some businesses set up their content calendar with monthly themes based on the season or holidays. These are calendar-based posts. Articles, blogs, social media, and emails all follow the same theme.
Others may be based on adding a weekly or semi-monthly value content. The theme might be a series of related topics. For example, an overview topic supported by a more in-depth exploration of components found in the overview.
That’s what I’m sharing here. First, an overview of the benefits of a content calendar, followed by articles on the different components of a content calendar.
Your content themed articles might have 3-4 sub-articles or there may be more. I generally start with an idea-list doc. When I get another idea, I add it to the list. Then I can pull from my list to plug into my content calendar.
The third component of your content calendar is client conversations. These are posts where you’re not selling anything, not delivering content – just building a relationship with your customer. This is so important in the digital age because we don’t have that small talk we used to have when someone walked into our store.
How to start
You can use any kind of calendar to get you started. I’ve used my Google Calendar, a Google Sheet, (spreadsheet), Trello, and ClickUp. Google calendar is much more limiting. I find the others work better because I can plug in not only my topic, but where, how, and when I’m going to share it.
Your yearly calendar can be tweaked and reused —-so it’s evergreen.
You might start with a three-month calendar, but building to a yearly calendar has its advantages. If a particular topic does well or bombs, you can flag it to reuse or to avoid.
That means your next year planning is quicker and can be even more targeted because you have the experience of the previous year.
Since it’s on paper or your digital calendar…not carved in stone, you can always change things. When the coronavirus hit, businesses needed to adjust their messages quickly.
Those that went with a pre-plan on autopilot, ran into some embarrassing situations that hurt their reputation.
One of the best examples of this was the unfortunate airline that promoted “there couldn’t be a better time to fly.” The wrong message at the worst possible time.
How I Do It?
When I work with clients first we focus on their target client and create an avatar. Then we set up their content calendar to focus on that avatar. We create a logical master plan and lay it out on the calendar.
Then as we implement it we make sure it is in alignment with the world around their client. As we progress through the year we use analytics to evaluate performance and make notes for next year.
If you would like a quick evaluation of your content calendar, contact me. I’m offering a free 15-minute evaluation. firstname.lastname@example.org