Many marketers swear by the use of monthly content calendars. While there are real benefits of using content calendars, they still have their pitfalls. They require a lot of time and effort, and sometimes those things can’t easily be spared. Not only that, but working strictly off a set calendar isn’t always the solution for everyone.
Whether or not you need a content calendar depends on a variety of factors, but if you discover a way to develop one that allows for flexibility and creativity, the benefits can be endless.
The Pros of Using Content Calendars
Planning your posts ahead of time ensures new content gets pushed out regularly. Having your topics picked out ahead of time saves time and allows for more than one person to manage social platforms. Regular content dispersion is important because it means you avoid the typical ups and downs in traffic and audience that come from inconsistent posting. Through a content schedule, you spread out your content throughout the month, setting yourself up as a resource to be trusted.
When you come up with content topics everyday, it’s only a matter of time before they get repetitive. You’ll most likely revert to the same topics and posting style when you’re struggling to come up with something. When you lay all content out for a month, you’ll be able to better spread out certain topics, preventing you from becoming predictable and boring.
If more than one person works on a blog or controls a social media account, having a content schedule is key. Assigning topics will become much easier, and you’ll be able to do it much further in advance. It will also prevent any overlap in content and make sure everyone’s on the same page.
The Cons of Using Content Calendars
Can Restrict Creativity and Flexibility
While careful planning and deadlines are what makes content calendars work, too many restrictions can stifle creativity and eliminate flexibility. Sometimes planning your blog content ahead of time can turn out to be counterproductive when your company’s goals change, roles shift, or strategies get re-imagined. It can discourage your team to think outside of the box. It may also prevent from responding to timely or relevant topics, which can make your brand seem out-of-the-loop.
Can Seem Disingenuous
Along with the inability to respond to relevant topics, scheduled content may also come across as disingenuous. For example, you might have scheduled a tweet about nice weather, just as a natural disaster hits your community. So while automated posts save time, they can come across as stale because they’re written days or weeks before it’s actually published.
Content calendars are only successful if the whole marketing team is on board and uses it. All the time you spend carefully planning out when, where and what to post ends up being a waste of time, if no one is actually sticking to the schedule. A way to combat this is by making sure that the calendar is easily accessible to all team members and easy to use. Also make adhering to the calendar a priority for your marketing team and hold people accountable for the content they are responsible for.
As we said before, content calendars are not for everyone. If you have a small team or don’t publish content that often, they may be more work than they’re worth. However, they can be very beneficial to many marketing teams.
Creating content calendars can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. If you’ve established that this is something that would be helpful for your business, here is a process that allows you to quickly and effectively produce weekly content, that allows for flexibility and creativity.
How to Develop a Content Calendar that Allows for Creativity
(via Marketing Land)
Identify Key Audiences
Think of four different customers that serve as examples of types of customers that serve as examples of the types of customers you’d like to land for your company moving forward. Pinpoint each customer’s unique challenges, emotions and values, as you’ll want the content to speak to those needs.
After identifying four key audiences, think of three solutions your business can offer to these four audiences. This could include different services, products, or value propositions. Then match up each of your three solutions with each of your four audiences.
- Solution A for Audience 1
- Solution B for Audience 1
- Solution C for Audience 1
- Solution A for Audience 2
- And so on until you have twelve broad topics to explore
The final step is to come up with a list of four content strategies that will allow you to approach each solution/customer pairing from a variety of perspectives. Some examples include:
- Expert Q&As
- Step-by-step Guides
- Industry News
- Case Studies
Combine this list of categories with your 12 solutions pairings to generate 48 unique topics for a full year of content. The first example could be: Expert Q&A that addresses Audience 1’s challenges from the perspective of what Solution A offers. Try to address each audience in one post per month. That way, each month, you will address and provide content for all four audiences.
Marketing Land advises to keep in mind that content isn’t just supposed to be brand promotions. Your content is supposed to provide value to readers.
Today, almost all businesses release some form of digital content. While calendars may not be worth it for everyone, they can be very beneficial for those that need them. If you think your company could benefit from a content calendar, but don’t know where to start, consider outsourcing a digital marketing company.
At Onimod Global we create monthly content calendars for our clients. As experts in social media marketing we know how to create visibility for companies in places their customers are searching, interacting, and engaging. . Take a look at how we’ve helped others, and learn more about what we can do for you.