Buildings have blueprints. Content hubs have content marketing calendars.
Before you break ground on your content hub, you need to create a robust content marketing calendar. What you’re really doing is establishing a framework—one that helps you understand not just which pieces of content come next, but why they come next. This calendar reveals how each piece of content “flows” into the next and where it fits in the larger content plan.
But even if you’ve created content marketing calendars in the past, it can be easy to overlook necessary variables in the equation. You have to consider both the analytical elements and the pragmatic elements of the content marketing calendar before creating and implementing it.
In this post, we’ll show you how to do both—and explain why each matters.
Building an analytical content marketing calendar
The analytical side of the content marketing calendar involves tracking and monitoring your progress in an organized way.
The core inputs
Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or more advanced software, the core inputs remain the same:
- Blog title: Remember to keep it under 60 characters.
- Date published/to be published: To track chronology and frequency.
- Word count: Remember: longer blog posts get better SEO traction. (The sweet spot is around 2,000 words.)
- Published link: Just for reference.
- Category: Categorizing your blog posts on your backend gives you better SEO and helps keep things organized. For example, this blog post falls under the “content hub” category, and appears as such in the URL. Check for yourself!
- Primary Keyword: Know which keywords you’ve chased already, which ones you’ve doubled down efforts on, and which ones you haven’t explored yet.
- Secondary Keyword: Because it’s always good to try to get a little extra traction (but keep mentions of the secondary keyword minimal compared to the primary one).
- CTA: Your blog should always end with a CTA, but not every blog ends with the same one. Know where it’s going and consider the flow toward this CTA when writing.
- Pillar Page Link: If you’re building a pillar page, make sure you add in the linking structure to keep things clear.
- Writer: Who’s responsible for writing each piece.
Every blog (or piece of content) in your content hub should be tracked as such.
While the core inputs are crucial for creating a framework and organizing your strategy, they don’t provide any indication of success. You need to set up tracking and analytics to make your content marketing calendar actionable and adaptable.
SEMrush offers some excellent keyword tracking tools. You can plug in all of your primary and secondary keywords from your core inputs and see where you rank for each of them over time. This is a great way to keep updated on your progress.
Meanwhile, Google Analytics is a reliable way to track where your customers are coming from. Generally speaking, the more organic channels they’re coming in from (i.e., Google search), the better your content hub is faring over time.
Building a pragmatic content marketing calendar
A winning content marketing calendar isn’t simply about organization—it’s also a valuable tool for managing and aligning teams to reach their highest potential.
While most people reading this are probably “Team Marketing,” it’s important not to overlook “Team Sales.” It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where different departments played nicely together, but all too often, these two teams are at odds with one another. These misalignments inevitably lead to inefficiencies and mistakes that cost time, money, and resources.
The truth is, when sales and marketing work together in harmony, they’re noticeably more effective. Some studies show an aligned one-two-marketing-sales punch can close 67 percent more deals.
So, how do you get these teams aligned?
It starts with a content marketing calendar that all teams are privy to. Here, they’re all on the same page and can freely share ideas, working together towards success. For example, sales might have frequently asked questions that could make for great blog post topics, which marketing could then produce.
Stay on task
Alignment is one thing; execution is another. For a lot of businesses, especially early-stage startups, content production can be easy to de-prioritize. In fact, 44 percent of marketers cite content creation as their number one challenge.
Creating a thorough content marketing calendar can help overcome this challenge. By laying out your vision and assigning responsibilities, you create a work funnel that gets things done. And the numbers show this: according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 report, more than half of organizations that had a clear content marketing calendar had effective content marketing results, versus just 12 percent of those who did not.
Build a team
Building a content hub by yourself isn’t just lonely—it’s usually impossible. There are too many moving pieces and too many responsibilities. You need strategists, writers, editors, SEO gurus, graphic designers, project managers… the list doesn’t stop.
Believe it or not, the same thing goes for a good content marketing calendar. Studies show that more than 50 percent of companies have their entire content calendar tended to by a solo marketer.
Given everything we just learned, it’s unsurprising that nine in ten companies believe they’d be more successful if it was a team effort.
Your content calendar deserves better
No content calendar should be an island. It should be a detailed, comprehensive source of truth and discussion, a collaborative effort that spans multiple individuals on teams across both marketing and sales.
If you’re looking for some help building out your content calendar or need a team you can count on to run your content, let us know. We love to talk content.