Every business has a business strategy. Yet when it comes to content marketing, many companies either have no strategy or think 10 minutes of blog planning is good enough.
Releasing content just for the sake of releasing content is never the best way to engage your audience. And business blog planning is not enough to make a winning content strategy. You need to have a solid content strategy in place -- yes, including blog planning -- to ensure maximum audience impact.
Business Blog Planning Vs. Content Strategy: What’s the Difference?
Your business’s or client’s product would never go straight from concept to completion, right? Why do the same with your content marketing?
Planning out your blog is the first baby step toward a full-grown content strategy.
Another way to put it: Business blog planning is largely the “what” of your content marketing, according to brand publishing company L&T. Content strategy is the “what” too, but also the “why, how, when, for whom, by whom, with what, where, how often, and what next.”
Answering these questions will improve all stages of your content strategy, including:
- Assigning responsibility for each task
A Good Content Strategy Involves More than Blogging
Another way a content strategy goes beyond basic blog planning is its scope. A content strategy should include several formats of audience-pleasing material. Besides blogging, content marketing can encompass
- Social media
- Much more
Strategy should be the common theme in both your blog and your overall content marketing. Your strategy dictates usage and which solution works best in each situation.
How you promote your content, how you use keywords to boost SEO, and which call-to-action you direct readers to are just as important as the content itself.
Calendars Are Good
Just like your blog, your content strategy needs a calendar. There are many tools for this available online. You can go all-out by downloading integrated calendar tools or simply start a Google Sheet. HubSpot even offers a free editorial calendar template.
A strategy calendar can help you balance your blog content. If you’ve beaten a topic to death or you’ve done 12 straight infographics, you’ll notice.
When you create a calendar, you should at least include:
- Date of publish
- Topic or headline
- Keyword focus
- Call-to-action campaign focus
- Completion status
How Far Should You Plan out Content?
First off, have you completed your content strategy first? Because that should come before you lay out your blog timeline.
Many successful companies split their content strategies into three-month chunks. This gives you a blueprint you don’t have to worry about for a while, but is also short enough that you can regularly look back and revise for improvement.
Don’t wait until the 89-day mark to create your next quarter’s strategy, especially if you’re writing about a difficult topic. Stockpile good topic ideas in advance to avoid “uh oh” moments.
You want to consistently have a reliable source of traffic and leads, so don’t slack off. The short-term annoyance of planning sessions will reap long-term gains.
When to Stick to Your Calendar and When to Deviate
Your industry may be talking about a trending topic on which you should capitalize. It’s OK to be a little flexible. Jumping on news -- tastefully -- puts you in the center of the conversation, especially if you do it on social media.
Otherwise, stick to your calendar. Remember, you put all that work into it, and (hopefully) did so with comprehensive goals in mind. Veering off the path usually ends in a disjointed marketing campaign.
However, if you feel something isn’t working, don’t keep forcing it. Only spend your precious time on something likely to succeed.
Keep Your Goals in Mind
Now you know why investing in creating thought-out content is not only important, but also vital to your marketing strategy. Both a blog calendar and a content strategy should keep this question at the front of your mind: How will this help my business goals?
Now get planning! (Or, if this work sounds like too much, throw your hands up and partner with an inbound marketing agency.)