content marketing tips

Consistently creating marketing content that educates and builds trust can be a challenge for small business owners. Creating an editorial calendar for your content marketing sounds like a good idea – until you have to start filling it with ideas.

Most small business owners that I talk to understand the importance of good marketing content, but often get stuck when confronted with a blank piece of paper (or computer screen). Today I’d like to share some of the tips I use when helping customers build their editorial calendars.

I like to try work on my editorial calendar on a quarterly basis, but sometimes it is easier to work on it monthly, particularly when you are getting started. The important thing to be consistent and build a rhythm to your planning process.

I’ll assume we are on a monthly planning rhythm for this post. Here are some questions to ask during your planning sessions to help you fill out your editorial calendar.

1. What is going on this month?

I am a big of leveraging time and repurposing content, so I like to start by looking for items that need to be worked on in the coming work and see if I can also incorporate them into my editorial calendar. For example:

  • Are you brining on any new employees?
  • Will you be receiving awards?
  • Do you have seasonal promotions?
  • Will your favorite charities have events or awareness drives coming up?
  • Are you or your vendors announcing new products and services?
  • Will you be hosting or attending any conferences or industry events?

Each of these events presents multiple content opportunities (i.e. press releases, website updates, newsletter articles, social media updates, blog posts, etc.)

2. What did we do last month?

Sticking with the theme of repurposing, review the content marketing assets created in the previous month, keeping your eye open for content repackaging opportunities. Did you create an eBook last month? Maybe you can use that content to create a presentation, webinar, or a series of blog posts. Or perhaps you can can create a follow up piece to last month’s PR story.

3. Do we have gaps in our Marketing Hourglass?

The Marketing Hourglass helps define the logical path that prospects follow through your marketing system as they come to Know, Like, and Trust you so they will Try and Buy your products and services and Refer to their friends and colleagues.

For each buyer persona, you need to provide educational and trust building marketing content they need in order to feel comfortable moving to the next stage of the hourglass. By mapping your content assets to the stages of the hourglass you can identify and fill any gaps that may be preventing your prospects or customers from moving forward.

4. Review Your Sales Conversations

Another great way to make sure your marketing content contains helpful information is to review the conversations you and/or your salespeople are having with prospects and customers. Look for patterns in the types of questions they are asking. Are there certain types of content (i.e. case studies) that seem to be most effective in a certain stage of the hourglass? Have your salespeople review their email outboxes – the questions they are answering and the information they are forwarding to prospects can be a content marketing goldmine.

5. Review Your List of Monthly Themes

In Duct Tape Marketing we talk about creating Foundational Content Themes for your business. A foundational theme is a substantial topic related to your business or industry and typically represents an important keyword search term. Focusing on one theme per month is a great way to stay on track with your long term content marketing goals.

6. Share Industry News

Sharing industry news and trends, along with your insight, is a great way to provide helpful marketing content. This post on curating content  contains some specific ideas that you can use in you content marketing.

7. Strategic Referral Partners

Professional service firms and B2B companies spend a lot of time building and nurturing strategic referral relationships. Those efforts can be combined with your content marketing efforts by co-branding content assets (i.e. an eBook), providing guest blog posts, conducting joint presentations, or co-producing a podcast.

I hope you find these tips useful. Do you have a favorite content creation tip not included above? Please share it in the comments below.

For more content creation tips, download The Crazy Busy Marketer’s Guide to  Content Creation in the Real World.

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant