I’m running up against a deadline with this particular piece of content.
This is pretty bad considering I have had plenty of time to write it as the deadline has been firmly incorporated into our extensive content planner. In fact, the strategy for distribution and promotion of this content is securely in place, the editing and formatting process is waiting to swing into optimisation action and I could be the rusty link in a well-oiled machine.
I won’t be though. I know this because this particular piece of content has already been through the research and brainstorm process along with a host of other process steps, the substance has been mapped out and the structure agreed.
I feel highly prepared to write this in an optimum time and submit it into the process and planning chain that can be referred to as a content planner, content calendar, editorial calendar or even a content marketing editorial calendar.
Whichever the term, this process tool is vital for a business as it provides a framework within which to build a hugely valuable planning schedule to ensure that your content grasps every opportunity to be seen that it can.
Let us look at the elements of using a content planner and the fundamental fields you will require to ensure that each piece of content is well produced, distributed and promoted.
Content Planner: Take the Long View
By this time you should already have a documented content marketing strategy for your business and the content planner should reflect the detail of this. It can be difficult, however, to micro plan for the full year ahead as there are many factors that can be subject to change over that time.
- Content Trends can shift
- New social platforms emerge that requires a different type of content planning. Look at the recent Twitter video for example.
- Business goals, services and products may be revisited.
- New Industry events or topics may emerge that require communication to your audience.
So the micro detail may change however the wider scope will remain relatively the same and this overview is important in providing structure to the long term view.
The great things about planning the long term are:
Events and Season Planning
Planning your content strategy over a year enables you to align with business milestones and events that have an impact on your marketing goals. It also provides a framework for planning content themes based on holidays and seasons throughout the year.
The alignment of business milestones with calendar dates can have an impact on budget allocation for the marketing goals at these periods. The long term content planner can aid budget planning on both a yearly and quarterly basis.
You will be able to allocate resource for research and implementation, allocate tasks in advance and map out a detailed framework for online promotion that can be revised quickly in the shorter term before deadline.
The content planner allows you to track posts and identify the most popular content with a view to re-purposing the same over time. It is also provides a diary of content topics and content type that have been published previously. This aids planning as you can easily avoid duplication.
Post tracking will also play a part in analysing the metrics of conversion rates and ROI which is, in the main, the ultimate focus for a business.
Content Planner: Let’s go Micro
Micro planning your content marketing strategy over a short time, i.e. a month or a week, ensures that no detail is overlooked as posts are prepared published and promoted. All the components of blog creation are managed at this stage.
Content planners vary from company to company dependent on the fields chosen that add value to their particular content strategy.
The micro content planner should include the following fields as a fundamental necessity:
The Content Author
Who has been tasked with producing the content? This could be a solo person or a group. If a group of people, make sure to appoint one person to take responsibility for the content production.
The Content Topic
This will be relevant to the theme or business goals and events of the time. These topics can be brainstormed when planning on the long term and then specific topics chosen and their format decided. We have Ten Killer Content Ideas that may help start this process!
The Content Call to Action
What do you want the reader to do next? Plan the call to action within each piece of content in line with your content strategy and business goals.
The Content Title
Your title or headline is highly important as it is used for search optimisation AND to attract your target audience. The title should encompass both key words and the chosen format of the blog;
Keep a copy of URL’s as you can link your new content to older pieces and use as an easy reference guide.
Keywords and Meta Data
Keyword research and planning should be implemented for every piece of your business content online. You also need to manage your content in line with your SEO strategy; this provides the support to enable your content to be seen through search online
You may need to source or buy images online or, better still, supply your own. This can take time so plan your process in advance. Images or other rich media can attract attention at a glance so make sure that they are compelling and represent the subject matter well.
The First Draft Deadline.
Time needs to be allocated for content revision, proof, editing and formatting. The length of time will vary dependent on the quality of content produced but it is better to be safe than sorry!
The Content Editor
The person responsible for the last item! The editor needs to ensure that the content is of a quality and presentation that will reflect your business brand to the highest. You may also have a designer involved to manage this but most businesses will assign the presentation to the author or the editor.
D Day! All the content preparation and creation culminates here. The content may be a regular feature or part of a specific campaign and its publication ignites the next stage of the process: Making sure it gets seen by as many of your target audience as possible.
Distribution Channels and Social Promotion
The planner will allow you to identify where you wish your content to be viewed and at what frequency. This aligns with your social strategy as you will already have researched all facets of the optimisation of your digital brand.
Metrics and Measurements
Again, metrics and measurement processes and tools will have been decided within your overall content strategy. You can assign the specific metrics to a piece of content within the content planner too; just decide on what you would like to measure.
Once you have your content planner in place then you can begin to assign tasks and deadlines with your resource allocation for each piece of content. As the production flows so will your content and the more quality content produced, the more of an impact it will have on your brand.
Are you using a content planner? What are the benefits for your business?