Content planning for large B2B marketing teams can get chaotic if they don’t have the right tools to keep them on track. The one tool that pulls all the elements of content production together is a customized content calendar for B2B teams.
Here’s why: your content calendar is the place where your content strategy comes to life. It’s one thing to have an idea of where you want to go. But it takes a carefully planned roadmap to get you there.
A content calendar doesn’t only document your strategy. It tells you where, when, and with whom you will carry out each task. Here’s how to build yours.
Start with a Comprehensive Platform
As MLT Creative’s Luke O’Kelley points out, you need to start with a content marketing platform that syncs with your company’s overall business strategy. With all the content an enterprise team has to juggle, you need a platform that can organize every step of the process in one place.
The platform should cover:
- Strategy development and documentation
- Brainstorming and collaboration on content ideas
- Planning and scheduling
- Creating your content
- Editing and optimizing your content
- Publishing your content
- Promoting your content to amplify its reach
- Analyzing its performance
With such a platform, you can then get your team together and create a content calendar that works for you.
Create Your Content Strategy
Sit down with your team leaders to plan your overall strategy for the coming year, as well as your long-term strategy. It pays to bring your C-suite team on board as you plan so that you can integrate your business goals into that strategy. Document your strategy right on the content calendar so your content teams can refer to it when they sit down to plan and create content.
Brainstorm Content Ideas with Your Teams
During your brainstorming sessions, keep your content strategy at the forefront of your planning. Look for ideas that can turn that strategy into helpful, problem-solving content for your target customers, and then look at where they fit on your content calendar.
Take Seasonal Fluctuations into Consideration
If your business has seasonal ups and downs, look at where each idea best fits on your calendar. You don’t need to get too specific here, but it helps to choose a date range for each seasonal topic. That way, when your creative teams get down to work, they have a general idea about what angle they need to explore during each season.
Also, think about ways to work various holiday-themed content into your marketing calendar. Although you’re a B2B company, remember that the decision-makers you’re trying to convert are people, not numbers. As such, they’re likely in a patriotic frame of mind in the early summer – with Flag Day, Juneteenth, and Independence Day on the horizon. Messaging that touches on those themes can connect with them on both a rational and an emotional level.
Bring in Subject Matter Experts
As you brainstorm topics, it pays to get some input from your subject matter experts. If, for instance, you need an August article that advises parks and commercial pools about the best way to winterize their pools, get some input from your engineering teams, since winterizing deals with seasonal changes in the liner’s materials. Or, if you make software that helps stores deal with seasonal variations in inventory, some advice from your development teams can flesh out your article with facts.
Consider some input from other teams too, such as your sales and customer support teams. They’re the front-line personnel who hear customers’ feedback every day. They can help you think up topics that will address your prospects’ concerns. The more content collaboration comes into play, the better your content will solve your customers’ problems.
Next, Plan and Schedule Your Content Production
Look at how many blog posts, white papers, and social media posts you need each month. Create deadlines for each step of the creation process and enter them in the calendar. Be sure to allow a little wiggle room for unexpected needs. That way, if your sales team has a huge prospect on the hook and needs a white paper to present to the executive team, your teams will have the time to tackle it.
Make sure that you provide access to your content calendar to everyone involved in the creation, review, and production processes. Since your content calendar tracks every step, you need to keep everyone on the same page. Don’t forget your compliance and legal teams. Ensuring that your content won’t violate any laws or company policies can save your company a lot of hassle – and money.
Use the Calendar to Keep Your Teams on Track During Production and Review
As your teams get to work creating the content on your calendar, they can see what their colleagues are working on as well. For example, if a writer gets stuck on a topic, he or she can enlist the help of another writer working on a similar topic.
When a writer can see that an editor is waiting on her to finish her blog post, it will motivate her to get it done. Similarly, your video production team can remind your legal team to watch the video to make sure it doesn’t make outrageous claims that could land your company in hot water.
Streamline Your Post-Publication Tasks with the Content Calendar
After you publish your content, it pays to amplify its reach on social media, email, and other channels. Your calendar, along with your content platform’s content automation feature, can help push out your content on other channels at the peak times when your prospects will be online.
Once your content goes live, you need to analyze how it performs, tweak underperformers, and amplify the reach of pieces that hit home with your target audience segments. Assigning team members to handle content analytics tasks ahead of time, can help you boost your content’s performance early on.
Additionally, you need to schedule periodic drill-downs into past content to discover older pieces of content that you can repurpose, update, or promote. Often, these hidden gems can find new life with a new audience.
With a constantly updated content calendar to keep your content teams on track and your leadership team informed, you can organize even the most massive content production operation.
It’s time to “Kondo” your content operation with a B2B content calendar that keeps your entire department organized and on their toes. A content calendar that’s seamlessly integrated into the rest of your content production tasks.
DivvyHQ is here to simplify your life. And, you can try it for 14 days – free and without obligation – to see how it can help you get a head start on your content marketing New Year’s resolutions. Start your free trial today.