If you're asking yourself, "do I need a content marketing editorial calendar?" the answer is yes. A content calendar is a schedule of contents you share through your owned and paid channels. These typically constitute your website and social media accounts. In addition, content can be anything from blog posts to podcasts, images to videos, or any combination of multimedia.
When you forecast and schedule dates and times for your content to be shared, it is a content marketing editorial calendar and is the third most critical part of your content marketing strategy, the first being an actual strategy, and the second being actual content.
But content marketing has changed. Read on for a primer on these changes, the importance of creating content for different media, as well as how a content marketing strategy and calendar can help you.
A content marketing strategy for the new age
For us to understand why a content marketing editorial calendar is more important than ever before, we need to understand how technology has transformed the way real estate investors, first time home buyers and sellers pick properties - and more importantly - a realtor.
'The medium is the message'
The world has evolved in a massive way because we have fundamentally switched gears from being an industrial society to an information society. In the information society, communication dominates. But it is no longer the message that plays a fundamental role. Rather, there is a duality between message and medium, which is perhaps why the great Canadian Marshall McLuhan famously said, "the medium is the message."
Watch the following video to understand what this paradoxical statement actually means (or scroll just below the video to get a quick definition).
Essentially, it means what is being communicated is important, but so is the way it is communicated. This fundamentally changes the way we perceive the message. The technology that enables the messages to be differently transmitted has also changed society.
What is this disruptive medium?
The answer is two-fold. First, is the internet. Once upon a time, search engines were just digital directory listings - think Yellow Pages. Now, they provide comprehensive information to users by way of maps, images, photographs, and blog posts.
Services like YouTube and Vimeo allow users to browse videos. There are hundreds of thousands of how-to and informational videos on YouTube for example.
The second, is mobile technology. All you need is a cell phone to look up realtor reviews, real estate listings, videos about neighbourhoods, mortgage calculators, and so on.
What does this all mean?
In short, all of this means that your clients purchase decision-making is informed by a variety of content thanks to mobile technology and the internet. It is not enough to have ads on the radio or local newspapers. Door hangers and postcards also are also no longer the most effective marketing tactic.
If you're a tech-savvy realtor, blogs are no longer the be-all, end-all content marketing strategy (although it is arguably the most popular). Instead, it is important to have content for various media, primed for use on mobile phones. A simple Google or Amazon Books search will show you that most content marketing editorial calendars focus on just blogs.
Do I need a content marketing editorial calendar?
The short answer is yes.
In the era of digital and mobile, not only is a content marketing editorial calendar indispensable, it plays a fundamental role in lead generation and It allows you to plan out what you're going to put out there for your audience to see. Furthermore, it is considered best practice to have one and it will help save you from going insane. Considering that you now need to be concerned about creating images for Instagram, videos for YouTube, presentations for SlideShare, tweets for Twitter, and so on, a content marketing editorial calendar will help you from getting overwhelmed.
Why is content marketing important?
So, based on everything you've learned so far, you know that you need a comprehensive content marketing strategy that meets prospects wherever they are on their buying journey. Executing this strategy will only be effective if you are organized. A content marketing strategy does the following:
We know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. A powerful content strategy aims to do just that. Through content, you can generate leads. Because people are looking for information and you provide it, they find you through social media, search engines, video sites, and podcasts.
When you provide valuable information, you build authority. 40,000 realtors in Toronto is a hard market in which to compete. The only way to set yourself apart is do what others aren't doing.
When you build authority, trust follows. We tend to trust people who know what they're talking about. We go to Nike, for example, because we know them. They spent time building authority in the sports industry. They also put in a lot of effort to make quality products, so now we trust them. The same applies for realtors.
When you've done all three things so far, you've got people to know you, trust you - and hopefully through your content and personality - like you. They inevitably convert into clients. Knowing, liking, and trusting realtors is an investment first time home buyers and investors makes because these are big decisions!
Benefits of a content marketing editorial calendar
In light of everything you know so far, you should look at a content marketing editorial calendar as a tool that help you plan for lead generation, nurturing, and converting. What ways, you say?
1. Advance Planning
A content calendar helps you plan in advance about what you're going to publish, especially if there are events you've scheduled. If you're a realtor or a builder, these events could be open houses, invitations to pre-construction bookings. As an interior designer, you might know about new designs coming up in which your clients might be interested. As a mortgage broker, this might be some news about mortgage rates that you expect to come out.
2. Time Planning
A content marketing editorial calendar will also save you from being overwhelmed because you can work on your calendar during downtime, so that when you're busy, you don't need to fly by the seat of your pants. In addition, it will also help you figure out what time of the day you need or want to send out posts. Automation and scheduling systems have made life easier because you don't need to be in front of a computer or on your phone when you want your content published. Spend more time with your family or at the hockey game without worrying about publishing your content*.
* We don't suggest you publish anything during a hockey game in Canada.
3. Consistency Planning
When you have a content marketing calendar, you get a visual overview of what days and times you're posting. This allows you to figure out gaps between your posting times. For example, you might notice that one week you have a lot of posts to schedule, while the week after only has one or two posts. You can adjust the number of posts per week to be more balanced.
4. Platform Planning
A content calendar can also help you plan on what platform you're going to post your content. Now, ideally, putting content on all platforms is great because not everyone that's looking for the same content is on the same platforms. But sometimes, there's some content you want to exclusively share for your Facebook users. These reasons are up to you, but the important thing to remember is that a content marketing editorial calendar will help you plan for each platform. You can colour code postings for each platform so you know where material is being published.
5. Media planning
Of course you need to plan for different media. You can have blogs that people can read on their tablets. In addition, you can also have videos for people to view on their cellphones, and podcasts people can download and listen to while they're in traffic or on the subway where reception is practically non-existent.
6. Category Planning
If you think you can get away with just promoting yourself without talking about what really interests your clientele, you'd be in for a surprise. People tend to get turned off very quickly when they don't find what they're looking for. Equally importantly, audiences get agitated when all they see is marketing material. You're likely better off adhering to the 80-10-10 guideline that we've come up with so that you keep your audiences engaged.
Category planning will allow you to allocate scheduling slots to different things that are important to your audiences. For example, you might have your categories divided into energy saving tips, best neighbourhoods to live in, events, and new constructions. You can definitely plan to publish a balance of all of the categories upon which you decide if you have a content calendar. Colour coding, or key coding will help you to take a quick glimpse and figure out what you've got too much of and what you've got too little of and adjust accordingly.
Content calendars are a deceitfully simple tools to have in your marketing arsenal. At the same time, they're extremely powerful if you plan well. Other than the obvious benefits, if planned and executed well, content calendars will help you build your reputation and stay on top of mind of your audience. You will begin to quickly notice that it will help you build a rapport as well, because it creates the perfection conditions for your audiences to like, know, and trust you.
As with all things, we firmly believe in measurement. You can take a look at your analytics to see what content performed well and which didn't. This way, you can adjust for the categories, the times, and the platforms you're going to post for.
If you're not already tracking your analytics, or find that it's too confusing, we would be delighted to help you make sense of it all. If you would like help with your content marketing strategy, book a free consultation with us today.
Is this primer missing something? Do you have any questions? Please ask in the comment section below