World-class content marketing requires:
- Relevant and useful information
- Metronome consistency
- Heartbeat frequency
These requirements make advance planning critical. Content Calendars are indispensable for planning and creating great blog content at scale.
The problem is that most people create a monthly calendar, usually a spreadsheet with 4 topics. After a few weeks, the calendar is forgotten and the team starts creating ad-hoc posts. After a few months, the process of creating new topics slows to a crawl. Traffic begins to decline as the lack of topics leads to sporadic publishing.
You can prevent the content death spiral by locking in a year’s worth of topics – 52 posts published weekly. It sounds daunting but it’s easier if you use a framework.
Our team uses the Top – Bottom – Why Framework.
We’ll use a fitness trainer blog as an example for working through the funnel.
Top of Funnel Awareness Builders
Every industry has a core set of evergreen topics that new customers research. Create 5 topic categories to cover these topics.
For our fitness trainer the topics are:
- The best nutritional plan for busy professionals?
- What type of workouts are best for different types of lifestyles?
- What equipment is needed for an effective workout?
- How to get started – Couch to Fit plans?
- How to stay excited about working out?
Writing articles in these topic areas will give you content that stays relevant. Google also tends to favor well-written evergreen content. You can also refer new clients to these topics knowing that it will handle many of their questions.
Bottom of Funnel Lead Generators
Review your ideal customer persona and select 5 questions they would have about your product.
Let’s say that you’re a Fitness Trainer. After talking with current customers and others considering hiring a trainer you identify these 5 questions:
- When do I need a trainer?
- What does a trainer do?
- Do I need a gym membership or will the trainer come to my home
- How much should I expect to pay?
- How long will I need a trainer?
Spend time refining these questions to specific topics that drive your customer’s buying process.
Use Questions To Inspire Relevant Posts
Every topic needs to handle Why, What, and How questions:
Why: This area speaks to the emotional or logical benefit underpinning the topic. Many people hesitate to take action until they know why they should care.
For example? Why do I need a trainer?
1. Trainer keeps you motivated
2. Trainer is cheaper than a gym membership you’ll never use
3. Trainer keeps you from getting hurt or overtraining
4. Trainer will get results faster
5. Trainer will hold you accountable
Each of these answers are potential blog post topics. Brainstorm at least 5 answers for each of the 10 topic questions you’ve created.
A quick math check shows that you should have about 50 potential blog post topics (10 topic questions X 5 answers for each question).
Two to Go
Now you have 50 blog posts answering your reader’s questions at each phase of their buying process. Top of Funnel topics attracts them when they are gathering information. Bottom of Funnel topics gets your business on their consideration shortlist.
But, we have two more blog posts to go. I want to be through so I suggest:
Your Story: Tell your or your businesses founding story. Describe your values and what makes your business special.
Customer Story: Showcase a customer. Talk about their challenges and how your product helped them solve a problem. Create as many of these posts as you are able. These customer vignettes demonstrate your ability to deliver on your promises. They also help your customer imagine working with you.
Get It Over With
This Content Calendar creation process usually takes an hour when we do it with our clients. It should go quicker for you since you already know your customers and potential topics. Pour your favorite beverage, download our Content Calendar Template and go to work. You’ll feel amazing once you’re finished. You’ll have a complete year of great blog posts that you can give to your writing team or start working on next week.
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