When you're on the road and trying to get to a specific address, what's easier? Stopping every 5 minutes to look at your map and figure out where to go next or letting Google Maps tell you where to go next? Google Maps is the obvious choice.
There's a similar challenge in inbound marketing (or content marketing). Most marketers have to stop marketing and decide what to write for their blog each month. This means they can only write a few articles at a time with no real rhythm.
Sound slow and painful? It is. These stops can even reduce the effectiveness of your inbound marketing campaign. What you need to succeed is a clear step-by-step plan. The solution is a content marketing calendar.
What should an inbound marketing content calendar include?
Your inbound marketing content calendar will be the guide that helps you achieve SMART marketing goals. But, for it to be effective, it needs to include the right elements. These include:
- Subject: This isn't the same as a title. Instead, it's the overall subject you want to cover or the question you want to answer in your post. Some also call this a vision or purpose.
- Title: This is the title that the blog post will use. You can leave this blank until you actually write the article since it will be hard to know the right title until you’re done.
- Sources: Including reliable sources to support the post that you're writing will give it credibility and give you the inspiration you need to write a great post. Select sources that are neutral and respected.
- Persona: Every post should have one intended reader. Generally, this will be one of your buyer personas. For each post, decide who you're writing for since this will make it easier to adapt the content and message to their needs.
- Call-to-action: Having a call to action is essential to effective inbound marketing. At the end of every post, you need to offer something valuable to your reader that makes sense with your post. This will turn site visitors into leads, which can increase your sales.
- Links: Your content calendar should always include a link to the working draft of the post. Generally, it's best to do this in a Google doc since the format can be accessed from any device. You should also include a link to the article once it's published on your website; this will make it easier to incorporate it into emails, social media posts, backlinks, and comments.
These are the essentials you need to include in your content calendar for it to be useful and for your site to be full of effective copywriting.
Entering a months’ worth of content ideas will be extremely helpful when it's time to write for your blog. All of your research, subjects, persona information, and calls to action will be laid out for you. All that's left to do is write the post and wait for the visitors to roll in.
If you want a head start, then copy our super simple Google Sheet template here.
Need help filling up your content calendar?
If you're interested in content marketing, then you know how difficult it can be to create a year's worth of topics.
If you need help creating topics based on real-world data that will drive sales, then fill out this simple little form. See the difference that a content calendar can make.