November 7, 2019 4:04 pm
inside any creative’s head and you’ll find a world of chaos. Breaking news,
trending topics, customer pain points – the list is endless.
editorial calendar is the key to creating order from this chaos. A solid
content plan will not just feature story ideas. It will examine the purpose,
channels and longevity of your content. It takes the data you have on your
audience and turns it into a problem-solver, an educator or an incentive for
Why create a content
content calendar is your guide for allocating time and resources over a given
period. It offers a roadmap for creating content with long-term value, as
opposed to, for example, reactively writing a last-minute blog post on a
trending topic. It also helps to designate channels for different audiences and
team at Contently divides content into two categories: pillars and topics. Some people call this stock
and flow content. Pillar/stock content should be the cornerstone of your brand,
discussing top-level issues. This may be ‘evergreen’ content, but it’s
important to approach your pillars with a fresh perspective.
content are the sub-categories of these pillars. Let’s say a pillar is a
long-form piece about SEO trends for 2020. A topic could be a shorter, tactical
blog post explaining one trend in more detail.
Put your data to
data is key to making an impact.
the top level, you should distribute pillar ideas evenly across your chosen
time period. Within these various blocks, you can then examine individual topics
in greater depth.
what about audiences, channels and purpose?
the data you have to discover how your audience engages with your content. For
example, you might find that video content performs better on social media. If
so, you could start with a 60-second video summary of a broader topic, which
you can explore further in a long-form blog post.
you might find that certain content resonates with one audience more than
another. Decision-makers and senior executives, say, might be more likely value
a white paper over an infographic.
all content is created equal. That’s why we have evergreen and topical content.
In this context, both pillars and topics can come under the evergreen umbrella.
pillars make you a thought leader, topics address your audience’s questions.
Evergreen content addresses a common pain point for your customers, offering a
solution that is unlikely to change. Such content could include how-to guides, long-form
explanatory blog posts or instructional videos.
benefit of evergreen content is long-term SEO value. Your customers are also
more likely to convert when you present yourself as an authority on a topic.
content has noble intentions but, alas, it’s not sexy. You can plan evergreen
content months in advance and see a steady stream of high-value customers. But
it’s not likely to make you go viral. If that’s your content’s purpose, then topical
and more reactive content is the way to go.
value of topical/reactive content is that it encourages discussion in the short
term. For a brief time, this means you may see more website hits or brand
social media is a great way to light this fuse. See, for example, how other top
food brands reacted to the news of Piers Morgan’s ire at Greggs’ vegan
Better still, look at Channel 4’s reaction to complaints from viewers, which attracted 70,000 likes
on Twitter in 48 hours.
Contently team call these reactions the ‘weeds’ of your content.
leave gaps in your content plan for topical content. Certainly, we can’t
predict the news. But we can predict seasonality and the scope for stories in
the short term, so keep that in mind when creating your content calendar.
is everything with content planning. When scheduling, avoid media-frenzy events
such as general elections or royal weddings. Conversely, be prepared to talk
about hot topics when the time is right – such as national conferences that
attract media attention.
Plan your resources
to plan one to three months, rather than a year, in advance. Markets might
change, product launches might be delayed or your staff might leave. Schedule
meetings to discuss where topics fit into your pillars, then assign a percentage
of resources to each channel.
Let’s say your pillar is web development and the topic is
UX. Assign 75 per cent of your resources to three long-form blog posts and 25
per cent to a short explanatory video.
Leave the stories
gaps in your calendar serves a bigger purpose than you might think. Inspiration
might strike suddenly, or a competitor might get to something first that merits
a response. Subscribe to industry updates and keep your eyes open for any
last-minute topical ideas. You might even be inspired to write about your own personal experiences.
flexible. And have a Plan B for when the inevitable obstacles hit.
But wait… will my
content last forever?
probably seen the ubiquitous ‘how long does content last?’ infographic floating around
the internet. But the truth is a little more complicated than this suggests.
important to remember that, while your content will last, its impact won’t.
your campaigns with this in mind. For example, a Black Friday promotion should
have maximum hits for a limited number of days. Reactive, topical content is
ideal for this. Look at the SERPs for topical content around events such as these
and emulate their style.
content, on the other hand, will last much longer. A large-scale scientific
study, say, might be the first of its kind, so a post about it will retain
interest for a while. You can also plan for expiry dates by researching the release
dates of new studies/movie openings/anything else that will render older content
irrelevant. Use this information as a springboard for your updated content.
You’ve covered the pillar theme – now refresh it and see what’s new.
for a mix of evergreen and topical content, using seasonal data to plan reactive
consider intention and shape content accordingly.
existing data to determine the best channels for different audiences.
three months in advance and be flexible.