Whether you’re ready for 2022 or not, it’s coming!
With just a few weeks to go until we welcome a new year, if you haven’t started your content calendar planning for 2022, you may well be fearing you’ve left it too late.
But instead of singing Cher’s “if I could turn back time” and seeking out a DeLorean, we’ve got an easier solution: reading this blog post.
Today, we’re going to be sharing some essential content calendar planning tips so you can get your 2022 plans sorted in time for the holidays.
So, let’s get this brainstorming session underway.
Why plan your content in advance?
As seasoned content writers, we fully respect that it can be tough to plan content 6-12 months ahead of time.
This is made even harder when we’re living through times of uncertainty where events and trends are continually changing.
No one expects you to don your Mystic Meg cloak and crystal ball and start predicting what’s going to be happening this time next year, though.
But having your content calendar planned in advance has its perks, including :
- Better organisation: having a plan for your content strategy will ensure you stay organised and meet your content strategy goals with purposeful pieces every time
- Time saving: coming up with content ideas takes time, but carrying out the resource-heavy ideation work in advance can save your valuable hours in the long run
- Boosting creativity: effective content planning does need a certain level of flexibility when it comes to creativity, but your pre-planned content ideas can provide the perfect jumping-off points for topics
- Keeping publishing consistency: a good content plan also ensures consistency with content publishing timelines, formats and topics. As a result, you’ll avoid big content publishing gaps, topic overlaps and ensure you stay on track with overarching content strategy goals
- Enables experimentation: a content calendar gives you a critical overview that allows you to experiment with your content publishing topics, times, formats and more
How to plan your content calendar
Now that you know why content calendar planning is important, it’s time to kick off your own.
1. Define your content marketing goals
A beefy content calendar is next to useless if you don’t know what you’re working towards.
So, before you start putting the building blocks in place, nail down what you want to achieve from your content. This could be building an online community, improving organic search visibility, boosting reader engagement or generating sales leads.
Whatever your aims are, your choice of content format, topics and timing should be targeted to meet them.
2. Begin with the big stuff
Building your content calendar is like building a house - you need to get the main base structure in place before you can begin thinking about the granular details.
A good starting point is filling in the big moments of the year.
This will obviously depend on your brand and niche, but we’re talking about those big brand moments like product launches, annual reports, relevant events and seasonal trends that can be perfect for general brand awareness.
3. Tap into topical trends
Next, give your calendar even greater depth by tapping into topical trends.
Obviously, you can’t fully predict how the year will look, but draw on what you do know will be hot trends for the coming year and use these as your inspiration.
Throughout the year, these trends can be used in different ways, from trend predictions at the start of the year to trend reviews come Christmas.
4. Get inspiration from your team
To ensure your content calendar is jam-packed with topic ideas and all the relevant details you need for a thorough and actionable plan, be sure to include your wider team.
Whether it’s holding a brainstorm with just the marketing team or including other departments, drawing inspiration and knowledge from every corner of the business will help you make more informed decisions for content scheduling, formatting and topics.
This all goes towards building a content calendar that has a robust strategy to meet content and wider business objectives.
5. Choose the right content formats and channels
With a raft of content ideas and timelines throughout the year, the next job is to choose your content formats (and which channels they’ll be published on).
From text-centric blogs, case studies and onsite content to visual infographics, email newsletters, snappy social posts and videos, content takes many forms. Each format has its own set of merits, too.
It’s essential to choose the right format and channel to ensure purposeful, goal-driven planning.
For instance, short, snappy content and videos are primed for building social engagement, whereas long-form blog and on-site content is better suited to improving SEO performance and online visibility.
So, to optimise the impact of your content marketing strategy and ensure it meets your objectives, choose content formats your readers love and promote on the channels they love the most.
But remember: offer a diverse range of content formats to reach the widest audience possible.
6. Schedule your content
With your content formats, channels and topics outlined, it’s time to review how they look in your content calendar.
Obviously, you can’t plan all your content - there will need to be some level of flexibility for ad-hoc trending topics and new ideas throughout the year.
However, previewing your content calendar in full gives you the benefit of highlighting issues in advance, like large publishing gaps or repetitive topics. This means you can tweak your calendar accordingly to champion consistent content across the board.
A pre-planned content calendar also allows you better visibility for future workflows, ensuring they work more effectively and efficiently from research and writing through to editing and publishing.
There are plenty of plus sides to getting a start on your content calendar before 2022 arrives, but this process can take some time and research. If this is something you just don’t have the skills or resources for, don’t fret.
We don’t just offer high-quality content writing as a service. We can also help you put together a valuable content strategy that delivers more than just words on a page - adding real value to your business long-term. To discover how we can help your business get off to a great start in 2022, get in touch with Paragraft today.