Can you be successful marketing your content without a content calendar?
But you’re making it much harder on yourself than it needs to be! Like running in flip-flops.
You may not realize it, but you’re risking far more than you might imagine by not having a content calendar, or schedule. Not having a content calendar means limited visibility into your relevance ranking, danger that your content won’t ultimately tell a cohesive story, and a delay until you see results.
Content calendars don’t sound sexy, or innovative or even very cool but I highly recommend taking advantage of one. Here’s a snapshot from my Content Calendar. More on what it does for me in a minute.
A content calendar helps you decide where, how, how frequently, and to whom you are going to publish. It’s an efficient and easy way to capture your ideas into a tangible and manageable framework. It’s an anchor for your content marketing vessel.
A content calendar requires discipline and a daily spot in your routine. In return it delivers organization, insights, and most importantly ensures that you don’t lose your audience by not delivering valuable content consistently.
Think of content marketing as a marathon, your content marketing strategy as your training plan, and your content calendar as your running shoes.
The goal of your content marketing is to finish strong with your arms thrown victoriously over your head and an audience cheering you on. OK, there will be times when you crawl across the finish line barely able to lift your pinky and unaware of the crowd!
There’s no shame in that. You finished. You get the medal and while it’s hard to believe at that very moment, you’ll rise from the ashes and do it all again. After your ice bath and a good meal.
Your content marketing strategy is the plan you put together to complete the marathon. It’s the obsessive attention you give to your training, your diet, and your sleep patterns.
It‘s the plan that identifies your business goals, drives traffic to your website, and ensures your content is useful to your audience by measuring the results.
Your content calendar is your running shoes. They must fit perfectly, support naturally, and become an extension of your body in motion. Your content calendar is essential to building your content marketing stamina so that you get faster and stronger each time you lace up.
I provided an example from my content calendar above. It’s embarrassingly simple and I cringe at the thought of you opening it but I’m laying it on the line because it helps me to prioritize and get everything done. If it helps you too then perhaps my cringing won’t be in vain!
My content marketing goal is to be useful and share what I know about what matters to my audience. Ultimately this builds a relationship that allows me to be one of the first at the table when they are making buying decisions.
My content calendar helps me make sure that is accomplished while also training me to improve. Like a good pair of running shoes, it helps me correct my weaknesses.
Not only does my content calendar keep me on task, it also focuses my attention on what’s being viewed, what’s getting shared, and what isn’t getting much traction. That has allowed me to see that on some topics I’m either not being useful or the topic doesn’t matter to my audience.
In other cases I’ve had this exhilarating rush of likes and shares, comments and retweets, subscribers and leads. This tells me what my target audience is hungry for so that I can dig deeper and deliver what matters. This is where the running shoes meet the road!
If one of your goals is to make the hours you invest in content marketing more effective, turn your immediate attention to your content calendar. Don’t run in flip-flops!
P.S. I adapted this calendar from a model I found online. Do a search and see what suits the way you work. The beauty of a simple spreadsheet is that it’s yours and you can change it easily.
Are you using a content calendar? What other benefits have you found to using one?