Planning your content publishing schedule is not only professional, it is always the best way to stay on track, on message, and on target. When your brand is making its presence felt with regular, informative, and important updates, it can advance in the industry as a leader.
But why break your calendar into quarterly segments to manage your content campaign? There are a few reasons, such as giving you enough time to assess how effective a message is, and the 12 week period providing a consistent and recognizable system for all in the marketing team. It also allows for an additional week of ‘wiggle room’ with the 13th week that can be used to pivot, rebrand, retarget or just take a break. The additional week in the calendar is a breather for everyone, including your audience who won’t even notice that little space, as opposed to some intensive campaigns that go offline for extended periods or marketing that becomes inconsistent due to burnout.
So what steps should you take to create a successful quarterly content calendar?
Analyze the Previous Quarter
Before you start looking to the future, take a look at where you have been. Knowing what has been effective or what has failed is important in planning your next step.
Before planning for the next quarter, assess your:
- sales and engagement
- website traffic
- sign up growth
- social media growth
You’ll find the measurements you need in your Google account, shopping cart or a payment processor, email provider, and social media platforms. You can then assess how they relate to your questions about hitting targets and setting goals.
Measuring the return on investment of your content will help you know if your campaign is effective and worth pursuing in the coming quarter or if it’s time for a pivot.
To grow your business you need goals. You need to clearly define your objectives then strategize to determine the best campaign to achieve those goals.
Your goals can be divided into two categories:
- Project: Project goals are about the completion of a set task, such as the development of a new product or the launch of a new product on your website.
- Results: These goals are about targets. You either hit your target or you don’t. Results targets might be setting a KPI such as sales representatives generating €10k profit for a month.
When you set goals it is easier to track your performance, understand how your business is performing and work with strategies that achieve goals in set periods.
Plan for Your Upcoming Events
Knowing what events or holidays are upcoming can help you better plan to target the right audience with your advertising in those times. For example, knowing that the Christmas holidays are upcoming might affect your marketing plan for the quarter. It is important that you plan your content delivery according to the calendar.
This approach allows you to reverse-engineer your content based on your schedule. If you’re coming up to a launch, you can plan the promotional materials. Making a cohesive plan for your content that follows the events calendar for your business plan makes it easier to reach targets such as sales and expansion because your marketing and sales are working as a team.
Once you have your goals, targets, and events organized, you can start planning your weekly content goals. These weekly plans include what days and times your content will be posted and how they work to support your marketing campaign. For example, your website might publish a weekly blog, posted every Friday at 3pm with links posted on social media platforms. The goal might be to convert 20% of traffic to your website each week. This would become achievable if your posting is consistent and of high quality.
Doing a brainstorm map of your topics for each quarter makes content creation far more efficient. You can start with an overall goal for the year, then choose smaller subject areas for each quarter then focus on topics for each week.
You can ask the following questions to help you find the topics you might discuss:
- What valuable content can I share that would better inform the audience?
- What are the FAQs our customers have?
- What industry news can I share or be an authority on?
Create Your Own Quarterly Content Plan
Using a tool that helps you to share your editorial calendar with your team is a great way to boost the effectiveness of your content sharing every year. Planning and communication make your content plan the valuable tool that it is to bolster other forms of marketing.