6 Tips for Creating a Robust Content Calendar
By Sarah Chula, Account Executive, Marcum Strategic Marketing
Coming up with fresh content ideas to keep your blogs front and center can be challenging. As marketers, we all understand the importance of developing high-quality, relevant blogs on a consistent basis. Well thought-out content can help inform your audience, position you as an industry leader, and help your website appear in the top search engine results for your company’s areas of expertise. So what’s the solution?
Here are six tips you can use to bring more to the content planning table, whether you are doing your planning internally or with the help of your marketing agency.
1. Pick Up on Pain Points
What are your customers’ or clients’ greatest fears and challenges? Think about conversations you have had with them and the questions they have asked. What stands between them having a so-so year and a phenomenal year? How can the services you provide offer solutions? Connect with your readers and show them you understand their uncertainty, and then in your call to action, direct them to the products or services you offer that address their needs.
Related article: 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Content Marketing Program
2. Follow the Policymakers
Be aware of state and federal legislative and regulatory proposals that your audience cares about. Tell them what they need to know before they know they need it. You don’t have to be a fortuneteller or forecaster—just be out there first explaining the potential implications for their business, and you can be sure they’ll come back to your site for updates. If there is enough material to develop an e-book, better yet—you’ll capture leads when prospects complete forms to download your thought leadership.
3. Take Inventory: Content May Be at Your Fingertips
Think webinars, PowerPoint presentations—even in-house presentations. There’s a good chance you already possess material; it’s just a matter of making it fresh and focusing in on one particular aspect that will resonate with your clients. For example, if you provided your peers with an update on how tax reform will affect the healthcare industry, you can likely come up with three to five subtopics for blogs that take a deeper dive into specific aspects of upcoming changes.
Related Offer: Free Google Search Engine Rankings Report
4. What’s Trending?
Whether your company serves one or many industries, reviewing trend reports can help boost topic generation in a timely manner. Go with a reputable site, such as local and national industry associations, and dig into the trends. Align the trends with products or services your company offers, and then offer your perspective.
5. Think Like Your Customer
Stop thinking like the seller and think like your buyer. If you really want to provide information your clients and prospects want, ask the questions they’d be most likely to ask. This gets back to #1, Pain Points. Why write a blog about types of maintenance agreements when your readers really want to know what the various plans will cost? Put yourself in the mindset of your audience and consider what they may Google on an average day.
6. Utilize Online Content Planning and Keyword Tools
There are many tools out there that can help jumpstart your idea generation.
If you can put up with the image of a fidgety man who appears to be telling you off, use this site to enter keywords, and you’ll instantly find fresh content ideas in the form of questions, prepositions, comparisons and so forth. For instance, I entered the word “content” and came up with 140 results just on the first page, including why content is important in SEO, and why content writing is important. You can click on any of the responses and you’ll be linked to the Google page on that topic.
Ubersuggest is a great tool to discover the content pieces that are getting the most social shares and backlinks in your industry.
Like Answer the Public, Ubersuggest pulls in various Google suggested keyword queries. In addition, each keyword query allows you to select trends so you can get a closer look at seasonality.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console enables you to monitor and maintain your entire website’s presence in Google search results. To help with content planning, Google Search Console allows you to see which queries are driving your website’s content to appear in search results. You can also filter by page, allowing you to see how a specific piece of content is gaining visibility – meaning, you can optimize existing content with other related keywords, but also determine potential gaps in related topics that can help you brainstorm additional content ideas.
If you’re looking for help developing a content calendar, writing blogs that connect with your audience, or boosting website traffic to make a dramatic difference in your Google keyword rankings, email Sarah Chula.