Build Your 2024 Content Calendar: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Your content calendar is one of the most important building blocks of your marketing plan. By
creating eye-catching content, you can inform your audience, position your brand as a thought leader, and boost SEO. 

But, you might be wondering how to even get started.

Building a content calendar is easier said than done; we know. When you have the right tools, though, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. In just a few steps, you can plan content for your full year to ensure that you’re connecting with your audience consistently through blogs, email, social media, and other content-related channels. To get you started, we’re sharing this step-by-step guide to building your 2024 content calendar. 

 

How to Build a Content Calendar in 7 Simple Steps

 
1. Identify the types of content you need. 

Before you begin, identify the different channels that you’ll be writing content for. This might include blogging, social media, email marketing, podcasts, or webinars. Any channel that you need to be posting on consistently will need its own calendar. 

Pro tip: Build your content calendar in a spreadsheet, using a new page for each type of content. For example, the first page might be blogging, the second social media, the third email marketing, so on, and so forth. 

 
2. Set a schedule for each type of content. 

Set a schedule for each type of content so that your content team knows when each topic should go out. This will also help you determine how many topics you need for each type of content. Your different channels will all have a set cadence. Maybe you put out one blog a week, one podcast episode every two weeks, and an email every month. Choose a schedule that works best for your audience and your workflow, and try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible.

 
3. Identify your audience’s pain points. 

Your content really needs to grab the attention of your audience. You have a better chance of doing that if you key into a challenge that they are looking to solve. As an example, your pain point might be that you are ready to build a content calendar but aren’t sure where to begin. That’s how we chose this topic—we know that our audience might struggle at times to map out consistent content. 

 
4. Research your competitors’ content. 

Researching your competitors’ content is not to suggest that you should use the topics that your competitors write about. Rather, you should see the types of content that they share with their audience. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must be aware of what your competitors are offering to prospects. Create a content calendar that is very much unique to your company; but, always research competing sites to ensure that you aren’t dropping the ball on any major stressors that your audience might face.

 
5. Identify the keywords you’re hoping to rank for. 

Using tools like SEMrush allow you to identify keywords that you want to target, increasing your chances of rising to the top of search engine results. By identifying keywords early in your content planning process, you can implement said keywords into your topic ideas.

 
6. Create topics for each channel. 

Now for the fun part. Begin building your content calendar piece by piece for each channel. We find it most helpful to map out our idea, the description, and target keywords for each topic. With this approach, you can easily delegate these topics to your content experts, and they will understand the direction and purpose of each piece.

 
7. Cross-reference your topics between channels. 

To make the most of your time and efforts, cross-reference your topics to repurpose as much as you can. For example, if you’ve written a blog article topic that would be great for a podcast episode, you can tweak the topic to fit your podcast audience.

Keep in mind that your audience consumes content differently depending on where they’re getting information. If you are writing a blog article about “10 Things to Know About X,” your podcast audience might prefer the topic to be presented in less of a listicle format and more of a thoughtful discussion. 

 

The Importance of Timely Content

Though it’s good practice to begin your year with a content calendar, remember that it isn’t set in stone. There will be events that happen in your industry, or even just out in the world, that will cause you to adjust your calendar accordingly.  A content calendar is a great planning tool, but you should always leave room for change. 

Would you prefer that a content marketing team helped you stay connected to your audience? We can help. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

7 Key Elements of Eye-Catching Content

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The internet is a vast sea of information. Search engines help us find what we need, but even when we’re searching for a topic, we have an overwhelming amount of options. If you’re looking for ways to improve your content marketing, for example, you will then be left to choose from around 12 different articles—and that’s just on the first page of your Google search.  Your audience is out there swimming right along with you, wading through the fluffy content to get to the good stuff. And they’re busy and skimming their content, just like you. So, how do you catch their eye? Grabbing your audience’s attention isn’t an easy task, but expertly crafted content can do the trick. 

1. Keep it concise.

We can’t say it enough: your audience is busy. They want to skim their content, because even when they do have the time, they want to spend it relaxing or enjoying time with their family. Give them what they want as fast as you can, and try not to overload with fluffy language that takes away from your point. Say what you need to say, and let it go.

2. Break it up.

You wouldn’t want to read a wall of text, and neither does your audience. What if you’re heading into an article about how to bake a cake, and you just need to know how to make the frosting? You’re going to want to jump to the end and find your answer. Give your audience a format that they can quickly jump around in. You may think, “Don’t I want my reader to stay on the page as long as possible?” Yes, you do; however, readers will leave your site if they don’t find what they want quickly, and they are much more likely to share your content with their peers if they find your content helpful or valuable. Use sub-headers, bullet points, and numbered lists strategically throughout your content to make it more digestible for the reader. And don’t be afraid of short, quick paragraphs!

3. Focus, focus, focus.

The more specific you are about your topic, the more receptive your reader will be. General articles don’t grab as much attention because we are often on the lookout for exactly what we want. For example, if you want to learn how to make icing for a German chocolate cake, you’re not going to click on How to Make Cake Icing. You’re going to click on How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake Icing You’ve Ever Had. Even if you feel like specific topics may alienate parts of your potential audience, know that someone is looking for that particular idea. When your content is aligned with what that person is looking for, they will stay on your website longer and share it with others who they know need the same information.

4. Diversify your content throughout different platforms.

When we think of content, our mind often goes to blogging, but it doesn’t stop there. We must also consider social media, email, webinars, podcasts, and any other way that we communicate with our audiences. The beauty of solid, engaging content is that you can mold it to fit these different purposes. For example, if your company created an excellent podcast episode that others need to know about, add it to your next email newsletter, post about it on social media, and summarize the points into a blog article. Good content is a great front-end investment that will provide you with excellent returns.

5. Use imagery.

People are visual creatures. We’re intelligent, and we want to learn new information, but there is still an element of “Look! A pretty picture!” that catches our attention. We want to see beauty in our world, and the internet is no exception. When you’re doing research for work or learning about a hobby, you’ll most likely click on the article that uses visual elements. Not only do we love the way it looks, but visuals make information easily digestible for our brains. For this reason, infographics are an incredible tool that our audiences enjoy reading and sharing.

6. Put the content within your audience’s reach.

We all have friends who use one platform for their information more than others. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, email, or another outlet, make sure that your content is ready and available to your audience whenever the mood strikes. Work with your web developer to ensure that your resources page on your website is as user friendly as possible.

7. Look for creative angles wherever you go.

Creative content inspiration is everywhere we turn. We can find ideas in our daily conversations with clients and coworkers. We can find them in other content that we’re reading or something we see on television. We may even ask pointed questions to clients and others to determine what they want to learn about. You are out to propose new ideas, solve problems, and provide your audience with inspiration and solutions. Remember that as you go about your day, and you will organically collect potential topics to share with your audience.  We can help you create and manage content that your clients can’t take their eyes off of. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation today!