Starting, scaling, or planning ahead your content operations can be a daunting task. You may have a host of unanswered questions like: Do we really need a content calendar? Where do we start? Is there one right way to do things? The answers to those questions are yes, right here, and no. This guide will help answer commonly asked questions surrounding B2B content calendars. Use the links below to jump to a specific section or read through the entire post to get the whole enchilada.
What is a B2B content calendar?
A B2B content calendar is an internal resource any business can leverage to plan, produce, and publish content for their audience for any given content delivery platform. Such platforms can include website, email, or social media channels. There is no one exact way to make a calendar but instead it should be made to help serve the overarching needs of the business or team using it. The duration of the calendar can stretch or shrink to meet the needs of an organization. However most calendars are made in one, three, six or twelve month increments.
Why is it useful?
Content calendars help teams and businesses organize and transition their content producing process from reactive to proactive. This shift can lead to a more agile team capable of producing a higher quality and or quantity of content because of advanced preparation and preparedness. Instead of scrambling at the last minute to get something posted in time, content calendars help teams be prepared for upcoming opportunities and equipped to tackle last minute changes.
Calendars also help teams establish a regular posting cadence. This benefits the team, who gets a better idea of their bandwidth, and the audience, who know what kind of content and when to expect it from the publisher. Consistency is also a key factor in seeing success in search engine and social media algorithms which reward recent content.
What’s typically captured in a content calendar?
The level of information density of content calendars will vary depending on the needs of the business. Again these are not one size fit all solutions. There will be a healthy give and take between incorporating helpful structure and too much information.
Here are some details that are frequently included:
Platform – What will the distribution platform be for this piece of content? It could be a web article, one or several social media channels, a podcast, an email, or any combination of the previously listed.
Topic – What will the content be about? This can be be as specific as a complete headline or as vague as a general subject to hone in on later.
Category/Theme – It’s helpful to organize topics together into categories or themes to ensure you are hitting all of your content goals.
Date – When do you want your content to go live? This doesn’t have to be set in stone but the more precise it is the easier it will be to plan ahead.
Filling out your calendar
Planning ahead is great but if you don’t have any content to publish the exercise can seem fruitless. If you are struggling to come up with topics to fill your calendar here are some options to get started.
The Competition – Read up on your key competitors blog. Subscribe to their newsletters. Follow them on social media. Take note of what content the competition is producing and use it for inspiration for your online footprint where appropriate.
Sales Cycle – When in doubt, default back to your sales cycle. What kind of content or material would be useful to help a prospect progress to a closed sale. In theory this is what your B2B content calendar is all about in the first place, creating content to help sell your business.
Trade Shows and Industry Events – Cyclical events like yearly trade shows and industry events can help place some content in your calendar that has a specific time frame and that is hyper relevant to your customers.
National Days – While this tends to be better for social media content, you can use national day calendars to prepare for trending topics.
Internal Stakeholders – Having brainstorming sessions with employees from various departments can help create a lengthy list of ideas.
Don’t forget you are not just filling out a calendar, you are helping your business create thought leadership content in your field.
Tools and Templates
B2B content calendars can be in the cloud, using online tools, or on your local computer with Microsoft Word or Excel. If your teams needs a collaborative system for your calendar using an online tool is probably the way to go. There are a variety of tools available but here are the some of the most commonly used.
Like with any marketing initiative, it’s important to set goals and measure success. This allows you to pivot where necessary to continually improve your new content program. Content goals can range from web metrics, increased pageviews or decreased bounce rate, to newsletter signups or lead intake forms. If regularly publishing content is new to your organization you may need to set benchmark metrics before setting goals. After one to three months of publishing assess your stats and then set your goals based on the baseline.
Need more help kicking your content goals into gear? Get in touch with our team to learn more and to craft a content strategy.