A Yearlong Guide to Planning your Brand Content
Planning Your Content
Prepare for the year ahead. Don’t wait until January 1 to start thinking about next year’s content strategy. The more time you have to prepare, the more effective you can ensure your content will be.
Think before you publish. Gone are the days when you could just hit publish and hope for the best. In today’s content-crowded world, you need to strategize on getting your content to the right people, at the right place, at the right time.
Make a plan. With information on key deadlines, important events and specific guidelines, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Map out press release schedules, social campaigns and blog posts. Test different schedules to experiment with and maximize impact.
Before You Begin
Define your goals. What do you hope to accomplish through your content? Who do you hope to reach? Knowing the answers to these questions will inform your content strategy.
Identify stakeholders. Besides your communications, marketing and PR teams, there may be other members of your organization who should have a say in your content strategy.
Decide what types of content you will create. Think about what types of content make sense for your audience and what you can realistically create. This may be press releases, white papers, blog posts, videos and more. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box!
Editorial Calendar Planning Tips
Research key media outlets. Many outlets share their editorial calendars, which makes it easy for you to find opportunities to pitch your brand’s story.
Target the right opportunities. The outlets with the largest followings may not be the right match for your brand. Look for the perfect fit based on story ideas and angles listed in the editorial calendar.
Plan ahead. Deadlines will vary per outlet, so make sure you do your research and plan according to your targeted outlet. Be mindful of the deadline and make sure you don’t miss it!
Be prepared. Knowing ahead of time what journalists’ pitching preferences are and the types of topics they cover will help ensure your pitch is well-received.
Things to Keep in Mind
Avoid audience distraction. Even if you’re not publishing something tied to a particular event, keep in mind that it could still impact the pickup of other news during that time.
Be mindful of earnings season. Each quarter, publicly traded companies report their financial earnings. Even if your company isn’t publicly traded, it’s important to note when earnings seasons will occur. The news cycle may be more focused on these stories.
Take global holidays into account. If your company has global offices or is looking to reach audiences in other countries, remember to keep those countries’ holidays in mind when planning your content calendar.
How to Use This Guide
It’s good to plan the full year in advance; however, remember to check in quarterly to make any necessary adjustments.
Don’t get overzealous. Only schedule out the amount of content your resources allow – quality over quantity is key.
This calendar references 2017 dates, but the tips and guidelines can be used year after year. When planning your calendar, research your targeted audiences and adjust timelines to fit their preferences and relevant events.
Not all dates will be relevant for your audience. Pick and choose the events that make the most sense for your brand and audience and create content around those. Don’t try and hit every single event on this calendar.