In a Harvard Business School study on goal setting, the graduating class was asked a single question about their goals in life. The question was this: Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?
- 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
- 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
- 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans
The results? Well, you’ve probably guessed it. Ten years later, the 13% of the class that had set written goals but had not created plans were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all. Furthermore, the 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan were making ten times as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.
It’s a proven fact. People who write down and plan for their goals are much more likely to achieve them. And it helps if they are SMART goals:
For your digital marketing program, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is key. The best way to plan your digital marketing goals is with a content calendar. Based on 1-6 months, a content calendar will ensure you create and repurpose great content to generate leads for your business.
The Ideation Process
Creating your content calendar may seem daunting at first. Before you start, go through an ideation process where you brainstorm the ideas for your content:
- Do you have a brand persona? This will dictate the tone of your message.
- What issues do your clients need addressed? What are their pain points?
- How do you plan to solve their problems.
- Are there frequent changes in your industry? Are you a thought leader? Generate ideas for article topics based your customers’ needs.
Consider the following channels for content:
- A weekly post – a topical blog or article keeping people up-to-date on industry news
- Case Studies – How your company solved a customer’s problem
- Success Stories – products or services that help people
- Whitepapers – In depth product guides and thought-leadership papers
- Webinars or videos – a monthly webinar will create content ideas and reach your audience
- Sales Collateral – 1 sheeters or presentations
- Podcasts – growing in popularity, podcast are great for reaching niche audiences
- Ebooks – perfect way to dive deep into a subject and provide valuable content for customers
- Social Media – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are great places to
Creating your Content Calendar
Once your content goals are set, start filling out your content calendar. Use Excel, Google Spreadsheets or any number of calendar apps for your tool of choice. Project management tools like Basecamp or Asana are good to use to keep your team informed of deadlines for your content calendar.Here is an example of a content calendar in action:
In addition to dates, your content marketing calendar should have a separate area for deliverables and deadlines typed out as well. This ensures the To Do list leading up to the published content are met.
For example, if you plan to host a webinar on the third Wednesday of the month, you need to plan the ideation, promotional email templates and registration and thank you email templates in advance.
Once the webinar is finished, the information discussed can spur all kinds of content to be repurposed such as blog posts, articles, ebooks, white papers or podcasts.
Use your content to be a guest on blogs or online publications in your industry as another avenue to republish your content.
Once you have a content calendar, revisit it daily to make sure you are hitting your targeted deadlines.