It can seem like “winging it” on social media is not just a good approach, but the best one. Trending subjects change from day to day, producing content can be as easy as typing a thought in and pressing “send,” and conversations with the public can lead almost anywhere. But like any other marketing activity, the more rigorous your planning, the more likely you are to realize good results. That means one of the most important steps for successful social media marketing—and successful digital marketing as a whole—is creating a content calendar to plan and coordinate all the posts, articles, videos, etc., you and your team will publish.
Let’s review several benefits of a content calendar.
As we mentioned in our blog on choosing a single goal for social media, restrictions often lead to creative endeavors being more inventive and more productive. Suddenly a universe of possibilities shrinks to something you can examine and discuss in detail. That makes it easier to generate high quality ideas.
For example, imagine a company offers a versatile “Software as a Service” scheduling and project management app that can be used by almost anyone across any business to coordinate activities. The question, “How can this app help businesses?” might have a million scattershot answers. But if the marketing team decided to focus on uses for human resources in January, benefits for trainers in February, etc., the focus narrows and better, clearer ideas arise.
Speaking of that one goal, when you are planning and creating content well ahead of time, it becomes a simple task to make sure it helps resolve the most pressing needs of your business. It also becomes easier to ensure that if you must address more than one need in a given period—such as maintaining leads into your sales funnel while also addressing recruiting—the shifts between them occur in a structured manner that avoids giving one short shrift.
Finally, a calendar can ensure you’re publishing the correct kind of content. For example, you may adopt an 80/20 approach in which you post four pieces of helpful content for every post that presses for the sale. With a properly planned calendar, you’ll hit all those notes at the right time.
Zig Ziglar once said, “People often complain about the lack of time, when the lack of direction is the problem.” Content creation simply takes less time, stress, and effort when it’s planned well ahead.
When you use a content calendar to plan the next quarter or year, you eliminate the scramble to come up with content on the fly. It also ensures all upcoming events (from holidays to trade shows to product launches) are considered and planned for well in advance.
A study by Hubspot concluded that companies publishing more than 16 posts per month generated 3.5 times more site traffic than those publishing less than 4. But producing at least 4 fresh pieces of content a week can be daunting.
It may seem like “anything goes” brainstorming would produce the most options, but the more effective (and cost-effective) method is to plan content and repurpose it. In fact, advanced planning can give you the time to create rich and engaging content that might not exist otherwise. Creating a white paper or 10-minute video can’t be done on the fly, but will be well within reach if they’re planned months ahead of time.
Not every company has experienced content marketing experts in house or the time to create the needed content. We follow the most up-to-date practices and achieve the metrics that matter. Get in touch with Cain & Company for thoughtful, strategic content marketing that boosts your bottom line.