Content Calendar: Smart Questions Blog

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Content Calendar: Smart Questions Blog

Content Calendar (w/ free style guide): Smart Questions Blog + shop radiantrumble.com

Is a content/editorial calendar right for my business? How? Why?

Any business, especially those based solely online, need a plan to gain traffic to their website. Period. Obviously, there are a lot of successful businesses that get away with not having much of an online presence; however, no one can deny the potential. If your brick-and-mortar store doesn’t have a website, this does not mean you need to rush out and get one. All this means is that creating an online presence, if done correctly, should (not could, but should) be great for your business, so why miss out? Here are some top-notch reasons to try it out:

Wider Reach
A consistent online presence allows you to reach more potential customers, and get in front of current customers when you wouldn’t otherwise. Basically, it keeps you on their minds!

Establish Authority/Trust
A lot of people disregard businesses that don’t have a website, or even social media accounts. A consistent online presence allows you to build a relationship with your current and potential customers, without having to call them up or catch them when they are in your brick-and-mortar store.

Revenue Potential
With a consistent online presence, your customers know you’re there, anytime they click or tap, to get answers to questions, be informed, and shop from your store.

"Okay, so what’s an 'online presence'?"

Simply put, an online presence is anywhere you are present, online. That could be a number of places, mainly consisting of a website, blog, email marketing and social media.

How do I know what channels to use?

First of all, know your audience and where they hang out the most.

Second, decide what type of content you’ll share the most.

Third, rely on your goals to guide you. What’s the purpose of posting what, when, where?

These three factors may very well decide your platforms for you. However, if your audience hangs out on several platforms, or you want to post multiple types of content, or your goals are different per platform (the list can go on)… Decide which one will create the best reach and interaction for your business through trial and error, common statistics, your competition, and the following explanations of what’s good for what:

Facebook
Company news, blog updates, video and picture posts, gain reviews, capture live events on video.

Twitter
Company news, build community, interact with local and world happenings.

Instagram
Visual marketing, brand/lifestyle/personality promotion, product/service promotion.

YouTube
Viral marketing, higher SEO rankings (Google owns YouTube), longer attention span therefore more time in front of customers.

Pinterest
Increase website/blog traffic, brand awareness and sales/leads (buyable Pins + regular Pins).

Snapchat
“Storytelling” ability, increase brand/lifestyle/personality promotion.

Google+
Increase search and hashtag visibility, YouTube integration and reviews.

Blog Platform (Wordpress, Shopify, etc.)
Increase search engine traffic, establish trust and authority, address customer needs, gain new customers and collaborations.

Email Marketing Platform (MailChimp, MyEmma)
One-on-one contact, increase visibility, visual marketing, brand/lifestyle/personality promotion, product/service promotion.

Webinar Platform (GoTo Meeting, Google+ Hangout On Air)
Establish trust and authority, business relationships, increase brand awareness, build lists and generate leads.

Podcast (iTunes, Stitcher.com)
Establish trust and authority, business relationships, increase brand awareness, build lists and generate leads.

Where should I keep my content ideas?

If you’re like me, ideas come randomly, so most of the content ideas I have are in a simple note on my phone. I also have a written planner I use for all things business, including my content calendar and social media calendar, where I occasionally write ideas down. For me, it’s easier to keep ideas in a portable note, and write the hard calendar dates in my planner. Below are some other great options I have used in the past, if you’d rather try something else:

Evernote
OneNote
Simplenote

What are some general content types?

Educational
Something learned

Updates
Events, sales, etc.

Series
Related posts

Inspirational/Motivational
Shared story, lesson learned, encouragement

Features
Occasional special posts

Should I pick a theme for my content?

You’re not going to blog about food if you’re trying to sell stationery, right? Without a general area of concentration for your content, things can get hairy, and fast. If you need help with ideas, ask yourself:

  • What is your business about?
  • Who cares about it?
  • What do they care about that’s related to your business (think HVAC customers caring about their family, therefore their air quality = vlog DIY tips for increased air quality)?

If you have a few ideas but aren’t sure what exactly you want to do, try sticking to a certain theme for a week or month, and then moving on to the next theme. If you want to jump right in, mix and mingle everything together. There’s no wrong way to spit out content, as long as it makes sense and has something to do with your specific audience/customers and what they care about.

Should I have a style guide for my content?

Absolutely! This should flow from your brand guidelines, creating a nice extension of your company’s look and personality. You wouldn’t want to use different fonts, opposite colors, or a contrasting voice; your audience would be confused at the very least! If you’re not a designer, or feel you can’t create a style guide from scratch, that’s okay! I’ve actually created one for you to use, so you don’t have to worry about it. You can download the awesome Content Style Guide, for free, here!

How often should I post content?

This really depends on the channel. Even I am guilty of failing to post every day, but social media really requires constant interaction. I can’t be glued to my social accounts at all hours (nor do I want to be!), so I only post things that I think my audience will love. That’s rule #1. Beyond that, figuring out what and when is best to schedule, all requires trial and error.

My rules of thumb are:

  • Social Media: Every 2 hours - 1x Daily, depending on content type (fine line between attention and value) 
  • Email Marketing: 1 - 4x a week (again, fine line between attention and value)
  • Blog/Vlog/Podcast: Every 1-7 days, depending on content type (think news versus diy projects)
  • Webinar: If it’s your main game, every 1-7 days; if it’s not, then however often it supports your content strategy

How do I find my “why” for creating content?

Hopefully your business is something you are:

  1. Interested in
  2. Know a lot about
  3. Want to ultimately use to serve and help people

Your content ideas should flow from those three things, of which you can write down answers for in the free Content Style Guide download, here. Finding and knowing your “why” will allow you to brainstorm great ideas, have a purpose, and stay focused on a goal for your content moving forward.

Where do I find ideas for content when in need of inspiration?

I love searching through Google and social media sites using key words, #hashtags, interests, current events and even customer questions. Just for fun, I researched some common content ideas in case you needed a little help right now:

  • Bulleted Lists
  • Tutorials
  • Guides
  • Definitions
  • FAQ
  • Checklists
  • Interviews
  • Progress Posts
  • Company Updates
  • Infographics
  • Giveaways
  • Worksheets
  • Guides/Cheat Sheets
  • Goals
  • Contests
  • Q&A
  • Pick of the Day/Week/Month/Year
  • Webinars
  • Events
  • Top _(number)_ _(noun)_ to _(action)_
  • Quotes
  • Image Collection/Collages
  • Testimonial Posts/Videos

How do I stand out?

Find a unique way to consistently present your material, be it through personality, story, or presentation (this goes back to the style guide!). Think about those posts you can just glance at, and already know exactly who posted it. Why is that? Make a list of things that stand out. What makes them special, noticeable or recognizable to you? The pretty picture, meaningful words, or just the style of the post that’s always the same is usually what gets me. How can you take inspiration from things you notice, things you like, and create something unique for your brand that your audience will love?

How do I know if the content is successful?

If your content is successful, you will gain more:

  • Email sign-ups
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Questions
  • Follows
  • Downloads
  • Revenue
  • SHARES! (this is a big one, especially starting out)

"How often do you share things?"
Some people are really 'share happy', but most people don’t share things unless it’s really worth it. If someone shares your content and has something great to say about it, you know you’re on the right track. Keep up the good work, and stay focused on the content that’s resonating with your desired customers.

Where can I find free images for content?

I love, love, love Unsplash.com. If you want completely-free-to-do-what-I-want-with images, that’s the place. I know Dreamstime and Pixabay also offer free images, and if you search Google, you may be able to find more options. Just be aware of the licensing rules that apply; some images that are “free” aren’t actually completely free to use for whatever you want, so be sure to do your research!

Unsplash
Pixabay
Dreamstime

Where can I find a content calendar template and/or create my content calendar (digitally and print)?

Digital Content Calendars
Asana
Airtable
Hootsuite

Printable Content Calendar
I have one right here in the Radiant Rumble shop, click here to get it!

Best advice you’ve ever been given about content creation?

Being you + consistency + authority matters. Don’t be someone else, or act differently on different platforms, or post about things you really know nothing about (even if you want to learn). People will notice; they are more perceptive than you realize!

Bonus Tip: Triple check yourself! Typos, missing links and mistakes happen… don’t be that poster!

 

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Content Calendar: Smart Q's to Ask & Answer + shop radiantrumble.com


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