Content Calendar Strategies That Work Better in 2021

6 Content Calendar Strategies That Work Better Than Waiting for Inspiration:

You have a documented content marketing strategy. You outlined your quarterly plan and aligned your messages and goals to promote demand, sales, customer success, and other teams. But you still have the space to fill your editorial calendar.

Most marketers went through this period. You usually know what to produce, but story-specific ideas just seem out of reach.

If this happens, you have two options: wait for inspiration or develop a system to come up with good ideas to fill the calendar.

This post is not for everyone who opts for a flash of creative inspiration. It’s for everyone who’s ready to do the dirty work of finding hidden content opportunities to shape and perfect something brilliant.

1. Frack it (also called reuse)

I know a content team that plans good rock content every season. They then create a ‘decomposition map’ around all the ways in which large rocks can be ‘broken’ – that is, crushed and reassembled into new pieces of content. (Think of holes in the oil and gas industry, not the Battlestar Galactica curse.)

Fracking is standard on the CMI (though we’d rather use it again).

In this eBook, we include writing tips and exercises from a series of blog posts by Ann Gynn, an editorial consultant at CMI, and other contributors.

CMI CEO Stephanie Stahl analyzed the insights from one of our digital capabilities to create her live article in this issue of CCO.

Every month we publish an extra blog post about the Robert Rose Marketing Makers video program.

If you have not yet taken a breather from your content (e-books, white papers, research reports, documentaries, or other comprehensive content), it is time to take down the heavy equipment. You might be surprised at how rewarding it can be to destroy things and put them together in new ways.

2. Bring the evil twins

Give Andy Crestodina a hat for this method and its dramatic nickname. See how the evil twin approach to content development works:

1. Identify an article, best practice, or popular advice that you have published.

2. Write a new piece on the topic from the opposite angle. (Think: what not to do, avoid mistakes, etc.)

Atlassian recently used a version of this method in its online publication. The Work-Life team has written many articles over the past year on how to work better.

3. Create (or examine) your pillars

HubSpot’s Justin Champion recently described a useful way to create pillar pages to support SEO and organize your content so your audience can find the best content from different angles on a topic.

His approach includes:

• Identify a keyword: usually a phrase of two words that the public will use when searching for information (eg ‘Gum disease’).

• Identify the main topics to provide additional context for the main term: these are related phrases with a lower search volume than the main topic (eg “Prevent gum disease”).

• Divide the main topics into sub-topics and make sure that the content sources support each topic.

If you have thorough content about the main term, you can divide it into different sections to create your main page, supporting the main topic and sub-topics. If you do not have a good lead, Justin recommends creating one when creating a group for the pillar content.

4. Get (ie, summarize) other people’s content

Collecting content is a technique that all content marketers must master, wrote Jodi Harris in a recent article. In addition to breaking or reusing your content, you can compose selected content without recreating all the elements.

The content collection involves collecting content from various sources and presenting it to the audience, preferably with their comments on what makes the proposal, idea, or example relevant, interesting, or useful.

As Jodi wrote: “To gain value with this technique, your brand must have a unique brand that is assembled.”

For example, every Friday we publish an article that consists of content marketing examples. Some examples come from public proposals made to us. We engage others for articles or examples that the CMI team noticed on social media, in email newsletters, and so on.

Let’s add how important this is to other content marketers and what they can learn from each selected sample.

5. Look over a participant’s shoulder

Who doesn’t love good content control? OK, most marketers probably don’t like the process. But they appreciate the insights provided by audits.

Here is some good news. You don’t have to limit your comments to your content, and you shouldn’t. You also need to capture and evaluate your competitors’ content.

By researching what topics your competitors are covering, how the audience responds, and what channels they use, you can identify opportunities for better results. You may find a topic that you can explain in more detail or a format, type, or channel that you cannot optimize.

6. Ask if you need new content

Try to create something new whenever possible. Don’t worry, I don’t recommend giving up your homework or outsourcing the work to someone else. I suggest that sometimes you can earn more from your editorial money by updating and publishing something than by creating something new.

Roll up your sleeves and get to work

Remember, when looking at blank spaces in your content calendar, don’t expect an idea to fall into your lap. Do your research to find gems planted on your property (and possibly your neighbors as well).

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