Most small business owners tell me their biggest challenge with content is knowing and organizing what to write about. There’s no question–content creation is hard and we’re always trying to make it easier with resources like this content creation guide . Content strategy is really about planning your content around your business so you know when and how you’ll deliver it.
The next step is to build a content calendar so you know what content you’re going to deliver to help your business. There are six steps to filling out and building your content calendar.
1. Get the Calendar Out. Physically pull your calendar out and identify all the holidays–the statutory holidays and the holidays that you plan to take. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is so that you can identify where you need to fill some content when you’re out on vacation and the second is to that you can identify any time slots where it makes sense to build content around specific holidays on the calendar. Everyone has certain cycles or seasonality to their business and it’s important to build that into your content. For example, it might make sense to build some writings on topics like the New Year or the holiday season.
2. Review Core Business Objectives and Marketing Calendar. When it comes to delivering content, the most important reason for creating content is to help you achieve your business objectives. So the next step is to think about writing content around what you want to promote in your business. But remember, rather than outwardly promoting your solutions, you want to demonstrate that you deliver a solution to the problem they’re trying to solve so create your content that way.
If you’re getting ready to launch a new product or service, think about when you need to put some content out there to help you drive interest in that offering. Reverse engineering your marketing calendar is critical here.
3. Strategic Partner Content. Look at what is going on in your strategic partner community and how you might incorporate that community into your content calendar. You can promote their events, do interviews with strategic alliances, or even include content they’ve written as a guest post.
I think strategic partner content is an opportunity that is severely underused. When you attend conferences, take advantage of having access to so many great experts and see how you might be able to develop strategic partners and build that into an opportunity for content.
4. Develop a Series. Think about how you might develop a series that you post once or a week or a once a month post that follows the same format. It might be an interview series, maybe it’s more of a general interest kind of piece that’s appropriate for your audience, or maybe you feature a tool that might be of interest. For example, I work with a firm that sells accounting software and with their monthly newsletter, they always try to include a piece that fits under “The Lighter Side”. Another popular series I’ve seen is “Wordless Wednesdays”.
5. Identify the Remaining Holes. Take a look at your calendar and figure out where the remaining content holes exist. Now you want to look at the topics that you’ve posted on in the past that have attracted the most views and comments and think about creating additional content around those topics. Also, go back to the questions that your clients and prospects are asking you and plan to write posts that include the answers to those questions. That is content that your audience is interested in so be sure to feed them that information.
6. Sharing Other People’s Content. Sharing relevant great content from other sources can never go a miss because you want to be known as a resource that always has access to and shares the best information out there. And you can look to incredible sources like TedTalks, Quora and Alltop.com.
Now there are no excuses. Building a content calendar using this process will no doubt make your content creation so much easier, but it will also guide you to build the right kinds of content to meet your business objectives.