Have You Created Your Content Calendar? Here Are 4 Tips To Help!

It’s the end of the year and the home stretch is in reach. Don’t forget to complete your content calendar for 2014. Content calendars can help you plan out a clear plan of attack for the New Year. Planning ahead will help you pre-empt writers block and allows you to construct a strategic digital marketing roadmap. It’s important to note that every content calendar is different, because every company is different. Make a separate Outlook or Google calendar or event an Excel spreadsheet.

It’s also important to remember that your content calendar is not static and none of your information is ‘set in stone’. Feel free to add new campaigns, move them around or delete them. Here are 4 more tips to help you get started.

1. Plan for holidays
Start by including major holidays on the calendar. Google when these are and plan around them throughout the year (e.g. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.). Also include all of the lesser known holidays too, even if you don’t market specifically for them.

2. Add events
While you may not know all of next year’s events, this is a great second place to start. Add events such as conferences, company events, client appreciation events, etc. These events will influence the content in your emails campaigns. Also include internal events and time off schedules, as this can affect content marketing production.

3. Include email marketing campaigns
Hubspot as stated that email marketing has the best ROI in the industry. Add each type of campaign you are planning to create throughout the year. Examples can include daily/weekly/monthly newsletters, welcome series, re-engagement campaigns, special offers, sales, new products, events, etc. I also recommend color coding each type.  for a wide picture of when it occurs over time. This is also a good time to brainstorm and make note of new campaigns and ideas. If you have a blog, you should also considering brainstorming and noting topics/ideas for your blog as well.

4. Add the extras
Find the right balance, but feel free to include additional marketing campaigns (on and offline), social media promotions and contests. Adding these will help enhance the content you have in your email marketing and as a result it should help increase your customer engagement.

Good luck with your calendar and if I missed any tips or ideas please feel free to sharing them in my comments! 

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Adopt a Lean Approach to Strategy

By creating an agile strategy, your company should be able to drive actionable insight and develop an informed plan. When executed effectively, a lean framework approach to strategy should focus on three interrelated steps. These steps will design an informed road map, which should achieve results quickly.

  1. Investigation 

Understanding the current marketplace trends will help to access the competitive landscape facing your organization. An understanding of customer personas and their engagement journey, as well as stakeholder and market interviews will prioritize key criteria of the value, which should be aligned with the objectives of the business.

  1. Formulation 

This involves exploration of the existing and future strategic plans while harnessing market trends, a customer experience audit, and a competitive analysis that identifies unconsidered opportunities.

  1. Activation 

The final step is to combine all initiatives that have passed the internal strategic audit and aligns with the overall business strategy and opportunities. These opportunities should then be evaluated through the value to your target audience and to your business. Ultimately, your organization must have the ability to execute the strategy effectively and consistently.

The prioritized opportunities with the highest value will form the basis for your lean activation plan. Lastly, your lean strategic plan should have a properly crafted business case, which includes a cost-benefit analysis, technological assessment, projected ROI, and a multi-phase road map for ongoing innovation.

Adopting lean principles for strategy ensures that complexity, rigidity, and friction are replaced with simplicity, adaptability, and speed. Accelerating market demands can only be combated through accelerated road-mapping developed through actionable insights and informed planning.

Marketing Strategy 101

While most companies may have a document or presentation labelled marketing strategy, they probably missed the mark. Here are some helpful tips on creating a proper marketing strategy and avoiding a few common mistakes.

Create a strategy not a goal

“We want to be number one or two in the market” is a goal not a strategy. Goals can help inspire a company, but a strategy is how you plan to accomplish it. Ultimately, strategy is about making choices. It is also about outlining who is your ideal customer, what are you going to sell and how are you going to deliver a unique value proposition.

Don’t keep strategy a secret

All employees (or at least managers and decision makers) should be aware of and be able to explain your marketing strategy. The strategy should be a coherent plan that outlines the unique value proposition and how you will target the correct group of customers. A successful strategy helps to change and drive an organization. If no one knows what the strategy is, than it won’t influence action or change in your company.

Strategy is a new plan

When creating a new strategy, it can be easy for companies to build off of what they have done in the past. Just because you’re doing it doesn’t make it a strategy. If you have a consistent plan that delivers consistent results, this could be a strategy, but I would recommend building on it.