Cross posted from Alison Harris, the founder of our parent company, Harris Marketing Services.
When it comes to marketing methods, I am on Team Content: I believe every company should have an editorial calendar and content marketing planner. Content marketing is not the fastest way to build a business, but it is among the most sustainable. This comes from its roots in education – buyers no longer want to be sold at; they want to be taught how. High quality content is the best way to earn the trust of your prospects. And as the old adage goes, people buy from companies they know, like, and trust.
I started on this path from the very beginning of my career working on a trade publication catering to the chemical processing industries. I learned that there is a B2B publication for just about everything you’ve ever heard of (and many you have not). I also learned that every market is interesting, once you start looking closely enough. The best content I have consumed (or created) has engaged with insight and information about subjects that everyone assumes are boring. A good content developer can make anything interesting.
Content marketing planner elements
But it’s not enough to be interesting once. You need to keep your audience informed and engaged time and time again. That means you need to produce content on a regular schedule. Yes, one of the less sexy aspects of content marketing is the need for organization. Someone has to put ideas down on a calendar, check to make sure you’re covering all of your channels, and execute. And as we have discussed, content is expensive – you should be pushing beyond your comfort zone, but checking your analytics regularly to make sure you are still connecting. What are the pageviews? How many people viewed the email? Clicked on the content? What are the video view numbers like?
Content is expensive. Check your analytics to make sure that everything is connecting.
Part of the work we do in building editorial calendars / content marketing planners for our customers is in deciding topics that engage, part is defining a solid schedule that maintains a constant presence in the right channels, and part is tracking how the content performs. For years, we have used a variety of manual methods tailored to our customers’ systems. This can be really clunky and time consuming in the wrong spots. We want to spend more time on finding the right topics and angles for the audience than gathering stats from every channel.
And we also want our customers to be able to do this on their own – it’s fine to hire us to do all of the pieces, but we wanted a much easier way for our hands-on small business executives to participate. That meant the solution had to be:
• Easy to use. Entrepreneurs and small business professionals are building a business, not training for a martech marathon.
• Reasonable in cost. We don’t work with a ton of enterprise clients – we specialize in emerging small to mid-sized companies. They don’t want to spend thousands of dollars a year on a tool that ends up being too hard to use.
That eliminated many of the options out there in today’s uber crowded martech space.
So we built our own tool. PlanITPDQ is a content marketing planner for SMB.
PlanITPDQ is designed to do three things: Plan your content on a calendar, Direct your team, and Quantify results.
We wanted it to be simple and intuitive to use, with only the basic features that SMBs need for content marketing. You can use the content planner with little to no technical knowledge – simply create projects, place them on your calendar by date and channel, and invite one or more collaborators. You have a visual calendar where it’s easy to see missing holes. If you want to see it in action, check out this video:
If you have a little bit more technical savvy, you can link up analytics for your content. If you have set up a MailChimp account, Twitter, or Google Analytics, you can definitely manage PlanITPDQ. We’ve created step-by-step instructions for each integration. If you get stuck, reach out. We want you to be successful.
We built PlanITPDQ for ourselves and for our clients, but we quickly realized it is a great content marketing planner tool for entrepreneurs and any small business. Go ahead and give it a try – while it’s in beta mode, all accounts are free. We just ask for some feedback on what you like and what you want.
And if you need help building your editorial calendar or generating engaging content, give us a shout. We’d love to help.