Updating Your Content Calendar
One of the best ways to start the business year off is by preparing for a year’s worth of content by creating a content calendar. After all, it pays to plan ahead. This marketing outline helps you focus each month, allowing you to more effectively coordinate your marketing efforts across advertising, blogging, social media, email, you name it.
In the past I have written and talked extensively about content calendars and since you have no doubt read and listened to those previous pearls of wisdom, you should be able to gather that I am full-on obsessed with planning ahead, which is why I am such a steadfast believer in content calendars.
But here’s the thing about plans: they often change. For instance, I usually write my blogs from my desk at the little white Roundpeg house, in my comfy office chair with several cats climbing all over me. This time, I am writing in sweatpants at my kitchen table, alone at home because the world as we know it has been temporarily put on hold because of the coronavirus. Things can change and they can change quickly.
Now, not all change is permanent (even this). But when change happens, both in small and big ways, it is important for small business owners to be able to adapt and change course as necessary. That is why as important as it is to prepare, it is equally important to be prepared to change.
This holds true for your content calendar. While you should ideally be preparing it early in the year to give yourself a roadmap, your content calendar should never be set in stone. It is a living, breathing, ever-changing part of your marketing plan and should constantly be evaluated throughout the year, whether you are being faced with a ground-shaking change or not.
As you review your content calendar throughout the year, here are a few important questions to ask yourself.
What Has Changed Since You Made It?
Changes happen throughout the year and it is important to realize that whatever these changes entail will likely impact what you set out to do in the beginning of the year. Yes, there are obviously major, unfortunate things like changes in the economy or buying habits. These types of changes may make you consider slotting in a new promotion or moving a planned promotion earlier in the year to try and capture new customers.
However, not all changes are bad! Change can come in the form of good news, but it still needs to be recognized and accounted for. Maybe you hired a few new employees since the beginning of the year? That may mean you’ll want to put some new employee profiles into your content schedule. Maybe you landed a big new client for one of your services? If one department becomes overloaded with a new client, you may wish to shift your marketing to focus on your other services.
What Could You Do To Improve Your Current Plan?
The changes you have experienced throughout the year may not require you to deviate far from your original plan, but there still may be room for improvement. Consider what resources and assets you have at your disposal that could be used, added to, or substituted into your existing plan to improve it. Do you have someone on your team who is comfortable editing video? That may open the opportunity to convert a planned blog post into a video tutorial.
Internal resources aren’t the only thing to consider. Monitoring the changes that happen with the Google algorithm, social media trends, new WordPress plugins, and other tools as they become available can play a major role in deciding what kind of content you want to focus on creating and how you can create it. For instance, the emergence of rich snippets as an important factor in SEO may impact your creation process and influence your decision-making process on what kind of blogs you want to write. The shift towards giving preference to video on social media may inspire you to pursue more video creation over the next few months over blogs or downloads.
What Does Your Team Think?
Content creation is a collaborative effort and a driving force in how you position your entire business. That is why it is important to have the feedback of your employees both when you are creating a content calendar as well as reevaluating it. Your team’s feedback and perspective on what content you create, themes you focus on, products and services you promote, and stories that you tell is important as you get all your ducks in a row and create a unified message across all areas of your marketing.
When you did your planning and brainstorming sessions earlier in the year, one particular topic may have been really important. Cut to a couple months down the road, is there still the same energy from the team behind it? Has something happened that has rendered this no longer a high priority or something that, while still important, makes more sense to push to next quarter?
We go through this quite often internally here at Roundpeg. The take away from our weekly internal strategy meeting is often a great idea on content to create or something to focus on that we are all excited about because, in the moment, it seemed like a surefire idea. A week or so later we may revisit the premise and realize either the timing isn’t right or we have other items that we are focusing on. Adding this one particular piece on top of it all, while important, will pull us in too many directions and as a result nothing will get accomplished. These are the kinds of discussions you need to have with your team as you decide what kind of updates you need to make to your content calendar.
Your content calendar is important to stick to because it helps focus your marketing efforts, but it is important not to get chained down by it. The life of a small business owner is constantly changing, and you need to be prepared for your marketing to be able to adapt to the positive and negative changes you’ll face along the way.
If you didn’t start off the year with a content calendar, it is never too late to start planning your content! As a member of the Digital Toolbox, you’ll have access to a content calendar template you can use to start planning your own. Become a member of our online marketing training community and grab your copy of the resource today.
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What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a tool used to plan and organize your content creation throughout the year. On your content calendar, you can plan around different themes, holidays, blog posts written, social media posts, promotions offered, downloadable resources created, and more.
This content is brought to you by Roundpeg, an Indianapolis marketing strategy company.