Is your New Year’s Resolution to stay more on top of your content creation schedule? If so, you might have looked at a content marketing calendar.
Too often we see businesses planning and creating their content day-to-day.
The problem with this approach? It takes more time. You always feel rushed. If a key team member is off sick or goes on vacation, you might not have any content released — which compromises consistency. And without a plan, it’s much harder to create alignment within your overall marketing.
Content marketing calendars are a great way to plan out your week, month, or even year ahead. So why isn’t everyone making one?
In concept, content calendars are simple:
- You map out your desired content timeframe.
- You decide what content will be created.
- You decide when it will be created.
- You decide who will create it.
- You decide when it will be released.
- You decide where it will be released.
However, while simple in concept, content calendars can be difficult to execute. Sometimes, no matter well-formatted, the content calendar you planned out just stays on your hard drive and is never actually put into practice.
Here are some of the common problems businesses have when creating content marketing calendars and how to solve them!
Problem #1: Starting Too Late
One of the most common problems when planning out content is… not getting started soon enough in the process!
Let’s say you want to plan out content for February, March, and April 2020. If you wait until the week of January 27 to start, you will likely still feel rushed.
Content creators often underestimate the amount of time it will take to plan and create content ahead of time.
A good rule of thumb is to start at least half the time before you are out of pre-planned content. For instance, if you pre-plan content for the quarter ahead, start planning the next three months at least six weeks before you run out.
While it may seem too early, trust us when we say that you will be thankful for the extra time – especially if you’re relying on key stakeholders for input.
Problem #2: Planning the What, But Not the How
Another common problem – you create a great plan, but not how it will be executed.
What this looks like in practice: you sit down and create 12 amazing blog topics. But you don’t decide when they will be created, who will create them, when they will be published, and so on…
While big-picture thinking is great, you also need to be able to execute the little details at each stage of the content creation process. Planning for the micro along with the macro is often better because it helps you prioritize as your schedule gets busier.
For instance, if you know that every Monday at 9 a.m. you are creating content for the following week – and what content you are creating – you will be able to plan your schedule around this task and treat it as a non-negotiable.
If you will be outsourcing content creation, you will also be able to ask for what you require further in advance.
Problem #3: Waiting to Create Content
While you can wait to create content until the week before, it’s not recommended. In fact, this is what usually leads to problem #3. The best-laid plans as they say…
Life — and work — get busy. And unless your only task is to create content, you may have a week (or two or three) where your content creation does not go as planned. Maybe it’s due to an unplanned illness, staff out of office, in-house marketing events, more meetings than usual… Whatever the case the problem is the same – the content that you so carefully planned does not get created.
Once in a while, this might be okay, but the problem is that this often spirals. A busy week turns into a busy month and suddenly it’s been six weeks without a Twitter post.
Additionally, consistency is a big part of creating an engaged following. While skipping one week here and there might not seem like a big deal, it can hurt your overall performance.
One solution here is to plan ahead for schedule disruptions – or, as mentioned above, make your content creation time a non-negotiable.
But another solution is even simpler – pre-create your content. If you take a few days after you finish your planning to actually sit down and create and schedule your content, you can save a lot of time and not have to worry about creating on a week-to-week basis.
Problem #4: Accounting for Time-Sensitive Content
One of the objections we hear often about batch creating content in advance is “what about time-sensitive posts?”
For instance, how can you join in a relevant LinkedIn conversation when you are creating your discussion posts three months in advance?
Or if you have an event coming up, but don’t yet have all the details, how can you batch-create the content?
One tip to keep in mind here is that content creation is not all or nothing. It’s better to create what you can in advance and schedule the rest for follow-up closer to the date. Don’t let time-sensitive content stop you from embracing a content marketing calendar at all!
Another tip is to always have a back-up. In some cases, you might have time-sensitive content planned (like an upcoming case study) only to have the release date pushed back. If you were counting on that content, you might be left scrambling – but if you have another piece you can use instead, it will be much more manageable.
In general, it’s better to have too much content created than not enough!
As for joining in timely conversations online, you can still plan this into your schedule. For instance, you could set time aside every week, or even more frequently, to monitor key conversations. Put this into your content calendar, too, so you can plan for it in advance.
Problem #5: Limited Resources
Sometimes the problem isn’t your content planning or calendar execution. Rather you may simply not have the bandwidth to create it!
If you’re part of a small marketing team, you may know what you want to create, but your time is better spent strategizing and planning vs. managing the daily execution.
Or you might find yourself not knowing where to start. You may frequently question:
- What to write about.
- Who your target audience/buyer personas are.
- Where to post for best results.
- How frequently to post.
- And so on…
In both of these situations, the solution is the same – bring on more resources.
Outsourcing your content creation can give you the best of both worlds. You gain a valuable resource to take care of the day-to-day execution, without the cost of adding another full-time team member. Plus you gain access to a team of content experts who can help you create an effective content strategy.
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to content creation? Share with us on social media! DigiForce Marketing is on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Our content creation solutions give you your time back and help ensure you’re posting the right content, in the right places, to the right audience, at the right frequency. Learn more about our team today! Call 1-888-701-4441 Ext. 6 or visit www.digiforcemarketing.ca.