We are officially half done with January 2021. That is unbelievable! And particularly, after the whirlwind that 2020 was, it feels like this year is full of new hopes and expectations. In fact, the entire lockdown period, I kept working on the foundation of my content strategy. My main goal was that everything that I did to make the basic of my platform strong will help give me better returns in the year 2021. From a digital marketing perspective, the foundation of my website and blog is most definitely, content. So I used a content calendar to build a strategy to reach concrete targets in 2020 and better ROI in 2021. Here is how I did it.
This post will help you understand the value of preparing a content calendar in advance but you should keep modifying it every month to include new ideas and emergency developments during each month. You need to make sure that your blogging is going in a targeted direction. You also need to make sure that all your content types are working together to give you a combined success.
Content calendar to plan for gradual success
If you are like me, you must have felt the stress sometimes to come up with relevant topics for blogging some days. These are weeks when nothing new has happened in my niche and mostly the topic ideas run dry. I have also sometimes felt that trying to overthink about a topic idea has stopped me from writing at all for days. Now this pressure can severely hamper the growth of your content strategy.
Instead, take some time to prepare a content calendar for the core outline for the next year. This way if nothing sensational happens on any month to give you inspiration, you will still have your calendar giving you core ideas. You will keep writing articles and posting at set intervals. And there is a higher chance of you sticking to strategy once the plan is in place.
Reviewing past content
I found that with a content calendar, it was easy for me to review my work over the past weeks to understand which ideas were tracking better for my audiences. For this I kept a manual track of the number of views and shares on each of my posts via Google Analytics. I did a 6 months research on the various types of posts that were trending on punitdhawan.com and feedtheidiot.com. I found that while for some categories long posts were definitely getting maximum views and comments. For marketing categories, shorter posts were finding better performance with the audiences. So I adjusted my content strategy for the next 6 months accordingly.
Most importantly, this review should be quick. You want to take impressions of different posts and mention it within the calendar so when you want to look back at the 6 months performance, it is ready in one place.
How I planned my content strategy based on the review?
I looked for three major factors in my posts review and then used it to plan my content strategy for the next months.
Trends and viral quotient
When I reviewed the previous six months’ content, I tried to spot any trends or viral content that emerged in my niche. If I had a post planned for a week but found some new trend is taking over, I replaced that week’s post with the one that had most viral quotient.
Types of content that works
By the middle of 2020, I had also launched my YouTube channel for Feed the Idiot. So the types of content I was now working with, included books, social media posts, blog posts and video posts. Believe me, I was very carefully choosing the topics that would have better mileage as a book but also leveraging the content through other types.
For instance, I wrote the book Myths about water, which covered all major health myths that are usually heard about water.
These myths were disproved in the book along with leading test studies and scientific research data backing my statements. I also used a humoristic style to write the book to make the dry information easier and more fun for my audiences to consume. But I did not stop at this.
I took up the major water myths from the book and prepared them in more bite sized pieces for my YouTube videos.
Here I am more active in explaining a single myth more completely. I still use scientific data to back my claims. I also depend on Puttan, a very popular character on my channel to bring that added humor to it to engage with my audiences. Most importantly, I found that within a few weeks the videos in the water series on my channel were tracking more actively than the entire book on the water myths that I had published earlier.
Why a certain medium worked better?
In my review, I could understand that my target audiences choose content based on
1. The time they have
2. The interest factor of the content
During the lockdown period, I saw my book sales going up significantly.
But right after the first phase of lockdown was removed, my book sales kept decreasing. As soon as my YouTube channel was launched, I could see that the average video consumption on health topics is much higher than books. The video consumption is also a bit higher than the blog posts but in this case, it was clear that the interest factor of videos is higher because usually speed reading an article is much faster than watching a full video.
Content calendar helped me manage my time better
With my content calendar I was able to manage my production time better for all the different types of content that I wanted to create.
1. I created some additional videos and posts and scheduled them to keep the publishing regular even if I have any personal emergencies cropping up.
2. I have been able to plan content production around my consultation work. This way my publishing does not stop even when I have to work on the service providing part of my business.
3. I could plan some unique ways to discuss my content with my viewers. New ideas could be discussed and my existing content could be reviewed when I slotted exact time for audience engagement on social media.
Repurposing my content
The biggest revival of my content repurposing has been on my book to video posts. I realized I am very passionate about bringing the core information to my audiences. So if they do not have the time to read a full book, I was ready to give them some choices for the same content.
My books contain a lot of data and interesting myth busting stories. I repackaged the content in to video posts to add to the charm of the full book. I also gained a wider platform for audience engagement because my social media campaigns also started getting more heat from my viewers on YouTube.
If you have also started a content journey this year and are thinking about where to start, I would suggest sitting down to brainstorm first. Collect all of your ideas in one place in a calendar structure to give yourself the time to create the posts without having to brainstorm every single time. Also, the calendar will help you track your performance to improve your overall strategy in 2021. I will keep you updated on how my content strategy progresses this year. Till then, Stay safe and be happy!