How to develop an effective content calendar in 6 steps

Published July 29, 2013 8:41 pm by LoSasso
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At LoSasso, we often have brainstorming meetings where we are flooded with great ideas—but the real challenge is putting those ideas into action. Big ideas are irrelevant without a strong follow-through. Implementing an editorial calendar is a daunting process for agencies of all sizes looking to build up a customer base. These six steps from Optify’s Marketing Essentials series will help you develop a scheme that consists of “organized, actionable elements,” or an awesome editorial calendar.

Step 1: Know Your Story

Before any content creation begins, you need to have a solid understanding of your industry, brand and products, unique selling proposition, competitive marketplace, bandwidth and resources. This may seem obvious, but it is important to know your company and your industry inside and out before posting.

Step 2: Know Your Target Audience

Before assigning tweets, blog posts, podcasts, etc., it is important to know your target audience. What are their consumption habits? What are their pain points? What motivates them? On what online platforms are they most active?

Step 3: Know Your Content Ecosystem

Your content marketing calendar will consist of content produced by your company’s experts, as well as thought leaders in your industry. You must determine who will be involved in brainstorming and content creation. It’s also important to establish the type of content you need to drive meaningful engagement, establish thought leadership and elevate your brand. Start by auditing existing content. That will help fill gaps in your calendar and serve as a springboard for new ideas.

Step 4: Build the Big-Picture Roadmap

Your calendar guide should identify each content outlet, key messages, themes, daily topics and hashtags. At this point, the specific details of posts are not shown. This step is simply mapping out major content ideas.

Step 5: Master Calendar Basics

Once you’ve planned out a guide and done your research, developing a master calendar becomes much less daunting. With a plan and concept in place you are finally ready to develop a working calendar. A simple calendar can include these categories:

–          Title

–          Description

–          Due Date

–          Publication Date

–          Platform(s)

–          Author

–          Status

–          Keywords

–          Tags

–          Call to Action

Most of the time, this is in the form of an Excel or Google spreadsheet.  Depending on the size of the editing team, using Google Drive may come in handy, especially as a repository or library for engaging, hi res images.

Step 6: Execute

Find an alert and planning system that works for you and plan out assignments. Assign people their work ahead of time to avoid hasty posts.  In addition to scheduled posts, you’ll begin to see potential for content in day-to-day company and popular-culture news. Make sure to use that as well!