Your content calendar is the Holy Grail of your content marketing operations. It’s a living hub that contains all the details of how you’ll develop, publish, and promote content. However, your team isn’t the sole owner of your content calendar. Many voices should be included. Let’s talk about who should have input on your content calendar and why.
Content Calendars Defined
First, let’s start with the basics. A content calendar is NOT an editorial calendar. The content calendar acts as a tracking system for each project. Content calendars will display all content pieces for a specific time period (pro tip: it’s always best to be 30 to 60 days ahead).
Then what is a content calendar? It is a resource hub or planning tool that lends visibility and accountability to your content. Each piece of content requires several resources—subject matter experts, writers, editors, designers, etc. Within your content calendar, there will be tasks assigned to each role. So, there’s never any doubt about the project’s status.
It keeps you organized and offers anyone who has the permission to view it an overview of where each project is, and the plan to publish and promote it. It keeps your team on the same page and provides a central spot that monitors all activity.
When content planning, your content calendar will be your go-to tool. Your plan is the execution of your content strategy, and your content calendar breaks that plan down into each task.
Who Should Be at the Table?
When developing your content calendar, which is something that you’ll do throughout the year, certain stakeholders should provide input. While your content team is usually leading the discussion, as they’ve developed your content strategy, that doesn’t mean other voices aren’t needed and welcomed. So, who should you invite to the table?
Your sales team has the most interaction with your audience. They know their pain points and motivations. This business intelligence will certainly help in developing your calendar. They also may have insights into the competitive landscape and understanding your competition’s weaknesses.
For example, if your sales team is aware that a competitor is discontinuing features on a platform and that same functionality already exists on your product, you should consider developing content in a timely manner that delves into those specific features. Because this is timely, it might mean rearranging some other topics to capitalize on this.
Sales may also provide you with insights on channel distribution. Since they regularly engage with prospects and customers, they may chat about where they seek information or what channels are preferable to them. Maybe they ignore emails but are avid social media users. This information may help you define promotion strategies better.
With sales and marketing alignment, you can create amazing content together. The content serves your audience and allows sales to have the tools it needs to attract buyers.
Product Owners and Teams
This group has all the knowledge of how your products work. They spend their time optimizing products so that they best fit the needs of your audience. They also drive enhancements and new versions or features.
It’s essential to sit down with them and talk about what evolutions the product may go through in the next year. By having this information, you can align your content efforts to support those launches or rollouts.
Furthermore, product owners may also track how customers use your product. With these metrics, you can develop content around the most high-value attributes of your solutions.
Legal and Compliance
Legal and compliance aren’t always the best friend of content marketing. However, they have a role and duty to protect your brand. This isn’t the case in every industry, but those that are highly regulated often have restrictions when it comes to marketing. Publicly traded companies may also employ these watchdogs for any content that’s public-facing.
The invitation to legal and compliance isn’t necessarily about input on topics or promotion but rather gauging what they may find concerning. Working with legal and compliance doesn’t have to be contentious. By including them in this process, you are giving them the opportunity to provide invaluable input.
As content marketers, we have the tendency make the buyer the hero of our stories and present them with all kinds of possibilities. Understanding if there are any legal concerns early on rather than later ensures you don’t run into challenges down the road.
The C-suite sets your company’s goals and objectives. They hold the vision of your brand and direct how it will pivot and evolve. However, this group has a lot on their plate and may not be involved in the day-to-day of content marketing. But it’s still important to provide them with an overview of your content calendar and allow them to contribute feedback.
While they are less likely to want to know about the granular parts of your content calendar, they’ll likely appreciate seeing what you are going to be producing for the next few months and how this content ties into the goals they have set for the company. This interaction with leadership also demonstrates the value of content marketing as a revenue generator versus just being a cost to the company.
Customer Support/Account Managers
Besides sales, this is the group of people that interact most with your clients. In the case of account managers, they often develop meaningful relationships with clients. That means they have knowledge about any dissatisfaction customers have or emerging needs. Tap into that wealth of intel and use it to build a content calendar that converts by focusing on topics that are relevant to the market.
It’s a good idea to allow this group and the sales team access to your content calendar’s idea repository. Here, they can jot down notes about what they are hearing. Then your team can develop those further to create content that resonates.
Determining who should have input on your content calendar depends greatly on your business model, but these are some groups you should include during its development. With a wide variety of perspectives and opinions, your content calendar will be stronger and deliver the returns you expect.
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