Drive better results with a valuable content calendar

Sonja Jefferson

Align your content with your business goals

If getting better results from your content marketing is one of your 2014 business resolutions then this post is for you.

Top marks for deciding to ramp your content efforts up a notch this year. Creating and sharing valuable content is a powerful way to drive more business today but, as you no doubt know, it takes a lot of thought, planning and hard work.

A well thought out content calendar (or editorial calendar as it’s sometimes known) will help you join up your content with your business goals – which, after all, is the point of creating all that valuable stuff in the first place! It will help you create better content and drive more success from your activities this year. You’ll find a simple but effective content calendar template below, along with some tips and ideas on how to use it.

How your valuable content calendar will help

A content calendar is a resource that your whole team can share and use to plan all your content marketing activities, helping everyone to see what content is coming up and how it’s going to pan out through the year.

A content calendar is not your content strategy (the strategic content thinking should come first) but it’s a simple and practical way of putting your strategy into action. It turns good ideas into well-targeted, relevant content aligned with your business goals.

Why we love a content calendar at Valuable Content

Here at VC Towers we find the act of filling in our content calendar incredibly useful. It gives us a clear picture of the story we’re telling through the months ahead, the people we’re talking to with each piece of content we create and the shape of the conversations we’re choosing to host.

It gives us the ability to see any gaps, to tell if we’re focusing too strongly in one area at the expense of another, and if our targets are realistic. And crucially it allows us to keep tabs on our results. Which content has worked best? We use it to help us measure, refine and learn from what we’ve produced.

Life is busy. Our content calendar let’s us know what’s coming up so we can carefully plan and schedule the writing and creating in advance. We fill it in and edit it religiously in our weekly business planning meeting.

We thought you might it useful too so we’ve attached the template we use here – DOWNLOAD YOUR VALUABLE CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE – free for you to print off and start filling in.

How to fill in your valuable content calendar

Here’s a bit of guidance for filling in each section of your calendar.

  1. Publish date – obvious but important. When will you get it out there?
  2. Writer – who is responsible for its completion? Commit resource.
  3. Content format and destination – will it be a blog, a video, a printed mailer, newsletter, infographic or even a talk? And where will you post it – on your blog? A guest article on someone else’s site? Or even another site like Medium perhaps?
  4. Working title – this may evolve as you write but try out a good positioning headline here.
  5. Target keyword or concept – What challenge are you looking to solve for your reader with this content? What subject are you focusing on? Think of real people AND search engines if you want to give the content the best chance of being found. What words/phrase would they use? Include these in your title and through the content.
  6. Target audience – who are you talking to with this piece of content? Be specific. Have a clear picture of who you are creating this is for and what they need if you want your content to hit home.
  7. Goal – why are you creating this? What do you want this content to achieve for your business. Probably the most important question of all.
  8. Call to action – a crucial step if you’re looking for results. What’s the desired action you really want from the reader?
  9. Status – planned or in motion? Track how you’re doing on the road to completion.
  10. Results – well, was it worth it? Measure and record the results here. Then you’ll know what works best and what it makes sense to repeat.

What we’re hoping this content will do for us

To illustrate how this works in reality here are our aims for this piece of content. We’ve written it for businesses who are already making strides with their content marketing but want to up the ante when it comes to results. Our goal is more strategic content work. What do we want you to do? Download the content calendar template pin it to your wall and pick up the phone to me or Sharon when you need help with your content strategy and plan. Status: complete – phew! And as for results, we’ll let you know.

Do let us know how you get on with your valuable content calendar. I hope it’s as useful to you as it is to us. And good luck with the content this year.

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3 Comments

  1. Great, useful, valuable stuff! Thanks very much…

    Reply
  2. This is a brilliant article and a great method for getting some focus into your planning. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Thanks Jim and Sophia – so glad it’s useful. It makes a big difference to our content; hope it help you too.

    Reply

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