October 12, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
In the world of marketing, we have more tools that we can keep up with. Between instant messaging, graphic design, and SEO research, there’s a tool for everything. With so much going on, it can be hard to keep your team in the loop. That’s where a B2B content calendar comes in with a single space for all the information your team members need.
Content calendars aren’t a new tool. In fact, they’ve been around pretty much as long as the content itself. Planning, organizing, and publishing consistently is vital for success in marketing, and content calendars help to streamline the whole process. In this guide, we’re talking about the importance of having a content schedule and how to build your B2B content calendar with topics like:
A B2B content calendar is a centralized location where you plan out your content publishing schedule. Spanning across all different social streams and including different content formats, a content calendar helps keep everyone on the same page. Using a calendar allows marketing teams to plan what content to publish and when to publish it. It’s also a valuable tool for planning ahead months in advance. Plus, your team needs only to navigate to the calendar and move through the schedule to see what content priorities are taking place.
At the heart of every B2B content calendar are a few core ideas, which form the basis of each content block you place on your schedule. To help with this, we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask to better plan your B2B content calendar.
A B2B content calendar should include all of this information, and maybe more. For instance, depending on how technical you get with the content creation process, you could also include a buyer persona to demonstrate who you’re targeting with the content. Every marketer that’s worth their salt knows how effective personalization can be.
Creating content specifically for certain audience segments is vital for high engagement. Just look at the graphic below from KO marketing, where 70% of marketing teams turning to advanced personalization saw more than 200% increases in ROI. Without a solid plan, it can be hard to juggle content for all of these different segments at once. A content calendar gives structure to a marketing team’s plans, keeping everything running smoothly.
Image via KO Marketing
You’d be hard-pressed to find a B2B company that doesn’t have a central calendar for planning. In short, it acts as a catch-all for your business content, helping everyone to know exactly what to prioritize each month. Whether you’re checking in on draft deadlines or previously published content, a B2B content calendar helps keep everything organized in one spot.
While creating a content calendar might seem a little difficult to plan and manage initially, they save a huge amount of time going forward. Time spent in one-on-one communications gets cut in half as you’re able to link everyone on your creative team to the calendar. This gives everyone the entire view of upcoming content, making it easier to plan, outline, and draft content on time. There are even more benefits to building a B2B content calendar for your brand:
When it comes to ranking on Google, one common factor that’s overlooked is consistency. First of all, consistent posting looks great to Google’s ranking signals. Publishing content regularly makes your brand look stable, reliable, and devoted to your subject matter. And beyond enhancing your SEO, improving consistency means your brand publishes more content for audiences.
If you’re posting four times per week, every week of the year, that amounts to 208 new articles. Even if you drop the ball once a month and post two articles instead of four, that total falls down to 184 articles. That’s over a 12% drop off in content production, simply because your team wasn’t organized. Although just over 10% doesn’t seem like much, any one of those articles could’ve been top-ranking content in search engines.
Compound these efforts over many years, and the sheer amount of content that consistency gets you is unmatched. With a B2B content calendar, you ensure that your teams stay as consistent as possible. Instead of posting when content is ready, a calendar creates a system that ensures teams publish content on a regular basis.
Google will thank you, and so will your customers. If you’re posting a weekly industry news round-up, then doing so at the same time every week will help your users know when to look for the post. This consistency can really help in terms of customer engagement, pushing the success of your B2B content marketing strategy even further.
When creating content sporadically, it can be hard to know what channels each piece of content should be going on. One week you might double down on blog content, while the next, you produce posts for your social media. All of a sudden, weeks have gone by, and you still haven’t made any BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) content for your website.
Small mistakes like these can impact the success of your marketing strategies. When you plan content ahead of time and put it into your calendar, this visual approach ensures that you know exactly what social channels you’re using. You can even color-code different content types based on where you plan to post them. This visual system can help your team find any holes in content areas or if you need to post to a certain channel more than others.
Covering every area across your content marketing funnels is vital for success in B2B content creation. With a content calendar, you can plan your strategy with ease. Dragging and dropping content to different dates throughout the month will ensure you cover all of your social channels. If you want an effective approach that ensures maximum efficiency, full channel coverage is the way to go.
Image via Content Marketing Institute
A B2B content calendar also serves as an organizational tool. When creating a comprehensive marketing funnel that covers different content platforms, it can feel impossible to keep all the ducks in a row. One problem that businesses commonly face as they scale is data siloing. Across different departments and with more content to juggle, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. If teams don’t have full visibility of the content currently in production, it’s easy to duplicate or create too many overlapping articles. This is where a content calendar comes in.
As a centralized database of all of the content and production that’s going on in your business, this tool allows everyone on your team to understand what’s going on. A B2B content calendar can effectively dismantle data silos that may form around your content production and distribution. Your content calendar is a fully operational organizational tool, keeping everyone in the loop and organizing the content creation process. This improved organization is by far one of the biggest advantages a B2B content calendar can have for your team.
No B2B content calendar is the same, and the depth, complexity, and content you outline in yours can vary. As you start planning your calendar, include the date and title of the content you’re producing at a minimum. Build on these parameters for multiple publishing channels, content types, and goals—like connecting topics to cluster pages. You can also go all out right away with a color-coded calendar and multiple streams of information.
But remember, just because something is aesthetically pleasing doesn’t mean it works well. The best B2B content calendar for your business is one that supports your goals and content needs. With that in mind, here are three steps to take when building your calendar:
The research stage of creating a B2B content calendar is often the most detailed, as it’s a resource and time-intensive part of building a content calendar. However, understanding what you’re going to be tracking on your content calendar is a necessary step toward organizing everything in a way that’s accessible and easy to use. During your research, there are a few questions to answer:
Finding the answers to these questions provides a better idea of what you need to track in your content calendar. You can better identify the audience and all the channels you’re publishing to, along with the content types to plan for. For example, if you’re going to post something to social media, then a long-form informational article won’t fly.
Equally, a 100-word topic summary isn’t fitting for an informational blog post. These questions, although basic, steer you in the right direction. From there, do some SEO analysis. Look for the best keywords that are relevant to your business content. Structure content around keywords to create high-impact content that brings value to your audience.
Alongside keyword research, it’s important to know what your competitors are currently doing. Depending on your industry, B2B companies can produce radically different content. For example, a B2B tech business might need to produce white papers and in-depth articles, while a company in e-commerce might have more luck with lists of trending products.
Start drafting your calendar plan from your research. Consider your audience, buyer personas, and sales channels. Pinpoint where audiences are most likely to engage with content outside of your business website. You can also use your calendar to note when you plan to repurpose content for different platforms.
As you develop the initial plan, look at your timelines. How long does it take your team to produce each type of content? How much time do you need between assigning, editing, and publishing content? These are factors to consider as you plan your calendar. Scheduling titles and content types throughout the month means writers and content creators need to receive assignments ahead of time. Give enough time to creators so if something comes up, it doesn’t impact your production schedule.
It’s also important to plan for different content mediums during each week. For example, don’t fill one week with blog posts and the next with lead-generating social posts. Create and schedule content at a balanced rate. Remember, your B2B content calendar is there to help you with pacing.
Ensure you plan content according to due dates and publishing dates so you have enough time between drafting and completion. You might also plan your calendar around product launches, service announcements, and other events. For instance, if your company has a new product on the horizon, planning content promos around the launch can help engage audiences and drive traffic ahead of time.
Your business doesn’t have to use any specific tool for a B2B content calendar. In fact, a Google Sheets page can often be just what you need. However, if you want all the bells and whistles, there’s a range of editorial calendar tools you can use. Here’s a list of some of the common ones you can use to get started on your content calendar:
As you get started using your content calendar, make sure everyone on your team has access and understands the flow. To streamline your calendar and get the most from it, take a look at some helpful tips:
Don’t have many calendars; use one singular source of truth. While this can look more chaotic, it helps to know what’s going on across all your business’s marketing streams. This also helps to reduce the possibility of missing out on content topics and completing content late.
Ensure all teams have access to the calendar. It doesn’t matter if they’re not directly involved with the content production process. This visibility still helps defeat data silos and get everyone on the same page. And when your entire business team is on the same page, you’ll have a solid foundation to build on when planning for new content types down the road.
On your calendar, you should have the option to assign tasks to different people. By delegating a task, you create accountability for it getting done. Ensuring all of your content is covered by someone will help keep your posts flowing. A system like this also cuts down on meetings, as you’re able to assign tasks remotely. Incorporating these tips into your daily routine can help increase efficiency and keep your team on track.
B2B content calendars are the backbone of the marketing world. From improving organization to ensuring consistency, they do it all. Content calendars can defeat data silos and help your team stay on the same page. Tools that help you manage a growing workload can be life savers, especially as your B2B business begins to scale.
Even though it can be difficult to get up and running, a content calendar is worth the initial effort. And when you team up with CopyPress, you’ll have even more tools for your team to create a winning content plan. Schedule a strategy call with us to find out how our team can help your business create a content strategy that gets the results you want.
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