Many brands and individuals experience a very particular pain point when it comes to creating blogs and other online content: they don’t have a plan. The truth is that most bloggers don’t have a problem creating frequent content as much as making the content plan itself. Wouldn’t it feel better to have a year’s worth of material planned out before you in a content calendar?
That’s where the planning comes in.
Why Use a Year-Long Content Calendar?
A year-long content calendar helps you engage in business with a long-term mentality. In some industries, like marketing, we experience rapid changes. But tried and true strategies are necessary—they help you think ahead about the long-term goals of your business. Do you know where your business is going next year? A content calendar (and the research and ideas you’ll need for it) will help you get there, and maybe even come up with some products and services along the way.
Two-Column Start Method: Ideas and Research
There are two components to an ideal content calendar: this method allows you to express your brand voice with the factual backing of well-researched data points. To begin, start by jotting down ideas surrounding your business:
- The types of things your customers enjoy (hobbies, lifestyle items)
- Your niche specialty—what do you most specifically do that no one else does?
- Special events specific to your business
- Topics you and your customers speak about
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
SEO (search engine optimization) research will inform other ideas for your blog content. Using tools like SEMrush and ahrefs, SEO experts (like us—hi there!) can determine the most appropriate keywords for your website. This will include main keywords as well as specific long-tail keywords, some of which may be location-specific, like “Chinese food in Richmond, VA.”
Establish Your Content Calendar
How will you keep track of the type of content you’re planning? First, you need to determine the frequency of your posts—how often can you reasonably blog or how much content can you afford to buy from an expert? Blogging every other Monday might be more effective than dropping random blogs—your audience wants consistency, after all.
Selecting a content calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have the budget, consider a content planning tool like CoSchedule. If not, a Google calendar can work well enough. Regardless of what option you choose, you can color code it according to the below content types.
Build an Evergreen Content Forest
Most of the content on your blog should be evergreen, meaning it’s eternally relevant. An example might include a demonstration of how to change a tire, do SEO research, or program basic HTML. While basic, these skills are generally relevant to readers throughout time. The value of evergreen content is high: you pay for the content at its inception, and through organic search value, it has the potential to bring in business as long as you leave it on your website.
Most of your content should be evergreen for maximum value.
Now it’s time to fill in the content calendar. SEO guru Rand Fishkin established “Whiteboard Fridays” over at his former company, Moz. Every Friday, he would post a video of himself explaining a marketing topic with the help of a whiteboard. His audience became accustomed to the Whiteboard Friday videos, meaning they’d go back to his site solely to find the videos each Friday. See how a regular schedule can engage your audience?
Plan for that.
Maybe you set a specific feature every other week or once per month. Your customers will look forward to it, and you can engage them. You don’t have to have every title set at the beginning—especially when you’re planning a year out. Just know that every Tuesday might feature the same type of content, for example.
Leave Room for Change
Stuff changes. The industry changes, news changes, and your products and services will change. Don’t beat yourself up over having to change your schedule partway through the year. Change is part of the plan.
Include Product Highlights
What do you sell that no one else does? What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? When it comes to discussing your actual services or products, this is your strength. You shouldn’t blog about this all the time, but it’s good to have this type of content in the mix once or twice per month. While you’re at it, it’s a great time to ensure your content isn’t using manufacturer descriptions, as Google isn’t a fan of them.
Spotlight Your Customers in Your Content Calendar
Who uses your products or services? How do you recognize their loyalty? In the gaming industry, it’s a pretty common practice to spotlight a community leader or player who has been around for a while—as well as new players.
Just Add Holidays (Relevant to Your Audience)
Holiday content is useful as well. In addition to highlighting any sales, customers love material that corroborates with the seasons. Depending on your type of business, holiday content will work differently: a financial institution might want to wish everyone a warm holiday season, highlighting how they gave to their favorite charity. If you run a Christ-centered business, your holiday messaging may be specifically religious and more frequent during your holidays.
Improve Local SEO by Filling Out Your Content Calendar
Lastly, don’t forget to engage your local community by including local events and content about them, especially since these events can help you build your relationships with other businesses in your community. A calendar will allow you to plan this coverage of time, and next time it comes to recommending someone in your field, these partnerships will pay off.
Launch and Track Your Calendar
Consistency is vital when it comes to using your content calendar. This can be as simple as always keeping the tab open in your browser or setting your program to email you reminders automatically. Regardless of what you choose—happy blogging!
Are you ready to plan ahead? At Dominate With SEO, we create content plans and have an experienced blogging team prepared to fill all your gaps and content needs. With professionally edited posts and a team of native English writers, we can give your content plan the attention it needs to get ahead. We create strategy and content by combining innovative, business-forward ideas and the proven SEO strategies you need to dominate the competition. Give us a call today.