There shouldn't be anything arbitrary about your company's content calendar. In fact, you should be planning 3 months ahead (at a minimum!). There are many moving parts to consider when plotting out your daily pieces of content, both internally and externally. Even if you anticipate lulls in action in the business, you can still be creative and offer thoughtful and relevant content for your audience. If you haven't begun this process, don't wait another calendar day; this is a band wagon you want get on ASAP.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, "B2B marketers who have a documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing when compared with their peers who only have a verbal strategy or no strategy at all." If you want to have an A-list content line-up in the new year, start thinking ahead and start thinking about what your key audience will want to see from you.
Commit to Social
As you look ahead down your content roadmap, you should see a diversity in the social channels on which you're sharing. Just because you're a B2B with a niche market doesn't mean that you should neglect a potential presence on Facebook, or even Pinterest. Understand that growing your brand on social media takes time, all the more reason why you should plan ahead and ensure that you'll have worthwhile resources to share.
In his article "5 Steps to Effective Content Strategy Planning," on Business 2 Community, Aaron Agius notes, "Certainly, generating leads or revenue are always good goals, but you might also want to focus specific channels on engaging your community, driving traffic or helping you demonstrate authority."
Determine what your desired end result is with your content, and work backwards.
Anticipate trends and become a thought leader
Whether your business is a seasonal one or booming throughout the year, you can give yourself landmarks to stay on your audience's mind, and in turn become (or remain) an authority figure. Don't miss out on these valuable calendar dates as you curate your content calendar:
- Industry events or trade shows
- Product updates and launches
- Newsworthy events such as elections, holidays
Aligning your content with relevant events is a key way to showcase your brand as an authority and moreover, a brand that wants to share helpful information. Brett Relander wrote in an entrepreneur.com article, The Secret Ingredient for Succeeding at Content Marketing, "Since content is the medium used for connecting with your audience, whether through social media or some other forum, content is what ultimately drives your audience back to your site. As a result, it makes sense to invest in it. The best way that you can invest in your content marketing is to plan for it."
Let your content calendar make your company shine
Planning your content calendar ahead of time is the ideal opportunity to make decisions about growth and innovation. You are giving yourself a clear roadmap for where you want to position yourself and what you'll be offering your audience. Take this opportunity to leverage your entire staff as contributors to the company's content strategy.
As noted by a recent Inc. article, "Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, dubs 2015 'the year of cooperative content...The best source of content in most companies may be right under your nose: your employees and customers.'"