When you ask brands and businesses if they have a formalized content plan for their social media and website(s) the response is typically “No, why do I need one?” Small and Medium sized businesses (SMBs) tend to have fewer in-house resources available to them for content creation. Many choose to outsource the content which can be an excellent way to provide fresh information and reading for your digital audience, however in the majority of cases SMBs struggle with providing regular content. The emphasis is to get “something new” online for readers as often as possible, but strategic planning of content rarely happens. There is never time for it.
Creating a content schedule is an activity that more organizations are starting to place a greater importance upon. There are many advantages to formulating a schedule which can not only save time in the long run, but also save resources and expense. The content schedule should not only include articles and blog posts but also social media updates for a professional correlation between the website and social engagement.
A content schedule will resemble an editorial calendar frequently used by publishers. However with digital marketing and SEO requirements, there are additional items that will be assigned to posts which cover action items such as target audience, keywords, product or brand focus (if more than one in a product family) as well as holidays and special seasonal promotions.
Benefits of a Content Schedule
- Dispersion of content is better managed with a formal plan. It’s important to provide regular updates to your website and social media channels at intervals that appear to be routine. If a business chose to update at the beginning of the month heavily with light to no posting later in the month, the amount of views and audience would drop off significantly except within the peak period where quality content is being provided. What you want is to spread out your content throughout the month to keep readers engaged and returning for more discussion or informatics. This generates more page views and builds repeat visits particularly if there is always something new to read.
- Diversity of content is an important factor of all successful websites. We all like to write about our pet topic areas, favourite products or brands or things that we are proud of. This kind of content bias can quickly reduce your audience as it becomes repetitive and even predictable. A content schedule will help you diversify your topic matter as you organize your writing for the month, preventing bias and duplication of content.
- Writing assignments can be provided ahead of time to ensure quality content. You want to give your writers as much time as possible to create the kind of articles that will vary from your competition and be highly readable and entertaining to your online visitors. If you are outsourcing your content this also provides you with some projecting tools to determine your content costs and budget in advance, which is helpful.
- Keyword strategic planning will enable to you to reach a specific target market during the month by tooling all posts and social media updates. If representing multiple products you may choose to focus on one product per month by moderating your keyword usage in a focused manner. By narrowing your keyword usage you can also gauge the efficacy or response to that product or service.
- Promotions or contests benefit from a structured content schedule as blog posts and social media updates can be planned to coordinate with the details of the contest. It makes a noticeable difference when all resources are aiming for the same goal, and the content plan encourages participation in all channels simultaneously for maximum impact.
Remember that any content plan is a guideline for structuring organized content for the duration of one month. It can be varied depending on special needs or events and the deadlines set may not always happen quite on schedule. But what is most important is that there is a solidified content plan in effect that gives a framework for the communication activities of the business. This framework will ensure that a variety of quality content will be dispersed through all channels in a controlled and organized manner. It can save you hours of wasted time chasing down content and assigning updates and writing at the last minute. Preplanning creates quality content when scheduled with reasonable deadlines and clear communication and direction.
Make time to develop your own template for a monthly content and social media plan. It is a practice that will not only save you time but also money, and definitely some stress and frustration. Planned accordingly you can start to see relevant completed posts waiting in the drafts section of your blog or website ready to publish instead.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pratik Dholakiya has more than 5 years of experience in SEO, Social Media Marketing, Online Branding and Reputation Management. He is currently associated with E2M Solutions, a professional SEO consulting company helping every size of online businesses. You can follow him on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik.