Your business needs content.
A constant stream of relevant, original and topical content on your website will give your company the online visibility you want.
Of course, that doesn’t happen by magic.
It can either be done in-house or by hiring in a specialist – I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of that now because I’ve covered it many times before – but whichever option you choose you must have a plan in place.
Why a content calendar is vital
You could launch into a relationship with a freelance copywriter in a haphazard fashion. Although she brought up the subject of creating a content calendar during your initial meeting, you decided that was far too much like hard work, and you’d simply ping across some topics each month for her to work on.
The first month is easy because you already had several ideas.
Month two is a bit trickier, but you manage to dredge up some ideas.
By month three, you’re struggling. You have a brain wave and decide that, because she’s a copywriter, she can come up with ideas.
But that’s not your copywriter’s job, is it? She doesn’t work in your business day in day out. She doesn’t talk to your customers to discover what keeps them awake at night. She is there to create original, knock-out content for your business. She may have a few suggestions, but the lion’s share must come from you.
If you’d put together a content calendar from the start as she suggested, you wouldn’t be in this pickle.
How do content calendars work?
Your content calendar maps out the topics your copywriter will tackle on your behalf over 12 months.
To start with, if you have a seasonal business or one that’s affected by events at certain times of the year, you can fill in the blanks quickly with various themed posts.
But how do you come up with ideas for the remaining months and weeks?
During your working day, either you or your team will speak to customers. The chances are, you will be asked the same or very similar questions by different people. If you and your team keep a list of these, they will make excellent future blog posts.
Likewise, if something eventful happens within your industry, you can write about it.
But don’t think the calendar means you’re restricted if something noteworthy happens that you weren’t expecting. It’s there as a guide (or safety net) to make sure there is always a constant stream of article ideas. Should something unexpected happen, slot it into the calendar and defer something less time-critical.
It should be seen as a fluid tool that can be manipulated to suit your purposes.
A content calendar saves time
The main benefit of creating a calendar is that it saves you time.
One brainstorming session is all it takes to create it. That’s a much better use of your time than getting nagging phone calls and emails from your copywriter every month because she doesn’t have topics to get her teeth into.
Planning will make the whole process smoother and more effective. It also provides a valuable record of what you’ve covered in the past to avoid duplication. Plus, if you want to write an update to an old post, it makes it easier to find it so you can link back to it.
All in all, if you’re going to create regular articles, make sure you invest your time in creating a content calendar. It really will save you time in the long run.
Sally Ormond is a freelance copywriter who is ready to take on your content challenges.