It’s that time of year when everyone is pushing last minute sales and preparing to take a short breather before January. For health and wellness professionals, this is that slow time of year before the surge of interest in weight loss in improved health. If that’s you, this is the perfect time to start thinking ahead for 2015!
Sure, it would be great to just fly by the seat of your pants and write as topics come to mind… but the problem is that this strategy (if you call it a strategy) can result in missed deadlines and missed opportunities. Try something different this year and plan your content calendar for 2015 (or at least the first 6 months). You may find it isn’t as difficult as you think! Check out the 4 steps for planning your content calendar.
1. Know your audience and align your content with that audience.
You probably know this by now…but it’s impossible to write content well if you’re not writing for a particular audience. You need your content to align with your audience so that it will be more relevant and be optimized for the search engines. In other words, your audience will typically use specific keywords that are relevant to them, and writing with that audience in mind improves the likelihood that you, too, will use the appropriate keywords. Aligning your content with your specific audience will also allow it to resonate better with them, since you will be (hopefully) addressing their specific pain points.
2. Align your content with your promotional calendar.
In addition to laying out a content calendar, it’s a good idea to lay out a promotional calendar for your year. You may want to run specific promotions around specific holidays, or perhaps you want to run your promotions on a cycle. Regardless, having a plan in mind (even if you alter it during the year) gives you some sort of general idea for how you want to run your business throughout the year.
Try to align your content calendar with your promotional calendar. So if you are going to be offering a special program around weight loss or around menopause or around maintaining your health as a busy entrepreneur…you can start to create content in advance of those programs that discuss those topics. You don’t necessarily have to think of the exact blog posts at this time or create the visual content for your social media platforms now, but by establishing themes in your content that coincide with your promotions, your marketing will be more succinct and will start driving people interested in that topic to your site before your promotion ever begins.
3. Choose a publication schedule.
Establish the best publication schedule for your business, whether that’s once a week to a blog and email list or multiple times. If you are a business promoting a service, you may find that once a week for both is sufficient. If you’re building your own personal brand, I would recommend blogging even three times a week (although if that’s challenging, try for at least once a week).
Whatever your publication schedule, make sure you stick with it! You know that this means, right? Creating content AHEAD of schedule. Try to stay at least 4 blog posts ahead of schedule (more if you’re publishing multiple times a week). You may want to write your newsletters just before sending them out so they’re more relevant – but your newsletters don’t have to be lengthy! Just make sure that they’re relevant to your overall strategy…such as those leading up to a new launch.
4. Create your calendar.
Even if you aren’t prepared to plan out 6 months of specific content, you should be able to plan at least a month or more (definitely more if you’re only writing once a week). You don’t need fancy tools to create a calendar either. A simple Excel spreadsheet will work just fine. You may want to save it in Google Docs or Dropbox so you can access it from anywhere. Some columns you may want to include are:
- Type of content (blog, newsletter topic, webinar, etc)
- Call to action
- Publication date
- Status (whether it’s published, scheduled, etc.)
- Link to the published post
Have you started planning your 2015 calendar, yet?