This video is the sixteenth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series. Brooke Hatfield, Social media and content specialist at MailChimp, puts forward the business case for content calendars and how they’ll help you turn ideas and broad strategies into an actionable plan.
Hello, Gather readers, and happy holidays. I’m Brooke Hatfield, a social media and content strategist at MailChimp, and I’m here to talk about the business case for content calendars.
The virtues of a content calendar are probably familiar to all of you, because after all you are watching a video on a content strategy website. But for a lot of small businesses, it’s daunting to consider developing a calendar. When time and resources are already stretched thin, how can you justify spending time on non-essential content work?
Turns out that work is pretty essential after all, since content objectives are often tied to business outcomes. If your business or your client’s business has a digital presence, you have to plan it somewhere. You can take bandwidth and resources into account while developing your calendar, and the 10,000 mile view of your marketing it affords can reveal opportunities you might miss otherwise.
What are those opportunities? Well, for a lot of businesses, they can be chances to make more money. Maybe you want more people to buy an item from your store, or click on a link, or share a Facebook post. No matter what a conversion looks like for you, a content calendar is step 1 to getting there. Calendars are an important way to plan concurrent marketing efforts across platforms, and concurrent marketing efforts across platforms are very good for business.
Holidays, sales, and other special dates can’t sneak up on you when you plan for them. Mapping out your schedule gives you the freedom to think about big-picture stuff while making sure day-to-day tasks don’t get lost in the shuffle.
In MailChimp’s early days, our content calendar was a guy named Austin and some sticky notes. When we needed to tweet something, Austin would write it on a sticky note and come up with some words.
Austin and his sticky notes had some great times together. But we needed a better system as our content team grew, and our distribution expanded across platforms. Our content’s authors and owners had to create and navigate editorial processes that touched our website, social media accounts, and email marketing efforts. A simple and free Google Calendar was our first foray into editorial calendars, and they’re a great place for small organisations to start.
A centralised editorial calendar that’s mapped to your business’s schedule is one of the best things you can give yourself for 2017. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, helping you turn ideas and broad strategies into an actionable plan that can be tweaked as you optimise over time.
So this year, as you snuggle up beside the fire and toast to 2016’s end, let’s pour a glass for the content calendar. Happy holidays!
Brooke Hatfield is a social media and content specialist at MailChimp, where she crafts copy and digital strategy for one of the world’s largest email service providers. She loves clever illustrations, digging into analytics, and GIFs of Dana Scully rolling her eyes.
Rob is Content Strategist at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways, WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy at leading industry events.
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