When you want to pump up your content marketing, a smart strategy is to look at brands that are doing it right. Getting content marketing right – or anything worth doing, for that matter – starts with a good plan. In content marketing, that means a calendar. Let’s take a look at content calendar examples for brands that are killing it.
Top Priority in Content Planning: Your Customers’ Needs
Before you pull out your calendar, take some time to look at your target customers. Brands that get content marketing right never forget for whom they are creating their content.
Many top brands use customer personas to focus their attention on their customers’ needs. For example, it’s a lot easier to think up topics that will interest “Doctor Debbie” than it is for the generic category “doctors.”
Otherwise, content teams often stray from their mission and get lost in self-promotion. Focusing on the mission – solving problems for customers – is the best foundation for successful content planning.
Coca-Cola’s Content Calendar: Customer-Centric Timing
For example, think about Coca-Cola’s content calendar. There’s never a holiday, never an occasion on which that brand doesn’t hit the mark with its content.
Such a customer-centric focus takes planning. Down to the hour and minute. Coke’s “pause that refreshes” ad on Thanksgiving evening was exactly the dose of icy-cold caffeine that food-comatose males needed as they lazed in front of the TV watching football.
On their calendar, the Coke content team used their customer personas to identify these die-hard football fans. And, they timed their message to go out at precisely the moment these customers would need (er…crave) their beverage. Effective? You bet.
Genius. Go and do likewise.
Schedule Customer Engagement into Your Content Calendar
Today’s customers don’t want to be mere content consumers, no matter how great your content. In your content calendar, you need to pencil in some slots for customer-generated content.
Starbucks’ Content Calendar: Give Customers a Voice
As the Scenic Road team puts it, Starbucks is the brand “you love to hate.” Yet people still line up, salivary glands at full tilt, for their latest lattes.
Part of that brand’s ability to turn that love-hate relationship into big bucks is the fact that they set aside content calendar slots to allow their customers to weigh in. In 2016, for instance, they leveraged their robust Instagram presence to give their customers a voice with their #RedCupArt campaign.
In this campaign, customers buy their daily fix, but instead of tossing their trademark red cup into the trash bin, they draw on the cup, take a picture, and then post it on Starbucks’ Instagram account with the tag #redcupart. The winner (oh, how lucky!) received a year’s worth of his or her favorite brew.
Hint: It’s not about the chance to win coffee. It’s about giving your customers a voice. As you plan your content for the coming year, leave some room for user-generated content. It will work marketing magic for your business.
Look Outside Your Silo for Employee-Generated Content Ideas
Many of the world’s finest content marketing brands don’t limit access to their content calendar to their content team – or even their marketing team. With a comprehensive content marketing platform, you can grant access to engineers, healthcare providers, chefs – all the people who produce your goods and services.
Invite these teams to contribute ideas to your calendar. A calendar that provides a place to jot down these ideas allows them to contribute ideas without requiring them to produce the content itself.
For example, suppose you’re a medical facility that specializes in pediatrics. Encourage the doctors and nurses on your staff to contribute ideas right on the calendar itself. Your content teams can then create content around those ideas – building your authority with every post.
You might even discover – as many successful content marketers have – that some of these employees have the knack for creating content. Encourage those that would like to participate to take part in content production as well.
When you do set aside a place on your calendar for employee-generated content, you build more than goodwill between you and your employees. Statistics show that employee-generated content gives you an edge in engagement and shares, taking your message well beyond what your branded channels can do. With eight times more engagement and 24 times the number of shares, employee-generated content can be the secret sauce to content market success.
IBM: Leveraging Employee-Generated Content by Design
A legacy tech company that nearly went belly-up in the ’90s, IBM has engaged its employees’ trademark expertise in technology and business to create content on both its official blog, its employees’ LinkedIn profiles, and on other platforms. With a content calendar that sets aside space for its employees’ content, the company has forged itself a place as the go-to thought leader in its industry.
Texas Instruments: Showcasing Employees’ Passion
Nothing sells customers on a product more than the expertise and passion of the manufacturer’s employees. Texas Instruments does just that, with videos that showcase various roles in the company.
Not only does this build trust, but it also forges a bond between a brand and its customers by showing the human side of the brand. Consider setting aside a few content calendar slots to profile some of your top employees – and watch your audience grow.
Look for the Sweet Spot When It Comes to Publication Frequency
HubSpot has conducted numerous studies on the ideal frequency of publication. One such study identified four targets that businesses of various sizes should aim for:
- To increase organic traffic, smaller businesses should post 3-4 times a week, while larger ones should aim for 4-5 times per week.
- To boost brand awareness, smaller businesses need to aim for 1-2 times per week, while larger ones should post about 3-4 times per week.
Of course, your calendar might look quite different. As HubSpot’s Kayla Carmicheal points out, these are only guidelines. However, you don’t want to oversaturate your audience with too much content, at least on your blog. If you post content more often than that, consider varying the format and platform.
Glossier: Spreading the Word on All Channels
With a blend of user-generated content and informative posts on a variety of channels, cosmetics brand Glossier has a full calendar. Its content strategy leverages customer feedback to create new products and uses informative posts that position its products as solutions to beauty challenges. It encourages customers to become “stakeholders,” turning enthusiastic customers into brand ambassadors.
Unlike many brands, though, Glossier doesn’t create the product first and then a marketing campaign. It allows customer demand to drive its content calendar entries, creating a community of passionate users in the process. Although it posts more often than the average company, its diversity of channels and types keeps its audience on the edge of its collective seat.
It’s time to take your content calendar to the next level. With a variety of features that allow you to incorporate these winning brands’ content strategies into your own, DivvyHQ’s content calendar allows you to take the lead in your own industry. Start your free trial today.