How to Build a Content Calendar: A Critical Foundation for your B2B Marketing Plan

By Morgan Norris

You’re sold on the value of B2B inbound marketing. You want to bring customers in with valuable content and have them work their way down the marketing funnel. You’re in the middle of the marketing planning process and you want your content to work for you.

But what should you write about? Who should write it? How in the world will you create the content you need to succeed at B2B inbound marketing?

092016_How_to_Build_a_Content_Calendar_icon.jpg You need a content plan within your B2B marketing plan.

A content plan will strengthen your B2B marketing plan by showing exactly when and where you’ll publish content. You can pre-plan your content topics and create content in advance. With a content calendar, you’ll know exactly what will be written, who will be writing, and the purpose of each piece up front. In addition, a content calendar will help you see how you can reuse and re-purpose content throughout the year.

Here’s what you need to do to move forward with a content calendar: 

1. Set up your Document

Your content calendar should be a spreadsheet that’s available for viewing by all stakeholders, including management, content writers, editors, and product marketers. 

Your content calendar spreadsheet should include most of the following for each piece of content:

  • Publish date
  • Due data
  • Content Type (blog post, eNewsletter article, web page, news release, case study, white paper, etc.)
  • Topic
  • Author
  • Reviewer
  • Related Campaign (as determined by your marketing plan)
  • Audience Persona (this can help inform the tone or level of technical detail in the content)
  • CTA (additional blog posts, gated content, contact for demo, etc.)
  • Related Resources (images, other white papers, data sheets, published articles)
2. Identify Key Topics

Decide what you’re going to write about! To do this, you’ll want to look at your overall marketing plan. Consider releasing a news release at a trade show, and launching a white paper series to keep the rolling thunder driving people to learn about a product after its initial product launch.

Assess current events – are there standards boards meetings this year that affect your customers? Plan to write about them. Include your expertise on helping customers meet standards or helping them understand what industry changes mean for their applications.

Consider writing about trends. If you interview customers and hear common threads about what they want or need from solutions providers in the industry, write about those topics that are most important to them.

Do you have planned project completion dates? Include blog posts about customer wins or case stdies about completed applications in your content calendar.

Then, based on schedule and expertise, assign a subject matter expert and writer for each post.

3. Include Resources for Each Piece of Content

As much as you can in advance, look at your content calendar and identify which content pieces can support each other. A white paper series can be a CTA from a blog post, a case study can be featured in an eNewsletter, images prepared for a product launch can become supporting graphics in a news release. Tying your content together this way will strengthen links on your site and help create cohesive threads through your inbound marketing efforts. 

4. Write, Schedule, Design, Launch, and Publicize

Once your calendar is complete, you’re free to write your content. The content calendar becomes a freeing tool, because you know exactly what to prepare for. Stuck in an airport on a delayed flight to see a customer? Check your content assignments and write your blog post that’s due next month. 

Once writers are finished with their content, make sure it’s designed to match the look and feel of your brand, and that you promote the content via LinkedIn, Twitter, your Blog, or your eNewsletter once it’s published.

For more about marketing planning, visit: https://www.trewmarketing.com/services/marketing-planning

Need a guide for marketing plan? Download the free ebook, Preparing for your 12-month Marketing Plan.

 

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