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Developing a content calendar for 2014–essential

The most successful marketing programs I have seen and been a part of are those that have a plan. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

Many small businesses, especially nowadays, are tempted to see facebook as their marketing program. If they post news on facebook regularly and add an occasion comment, they’re done. While that is more than nothing, it’s not what you need. According to a recent series from Kapost on Content: The force that moves the buyer down the funnel, programmatic content marketing can increase sales as much as 300 percent and decrease cycle time up to 50 percent. This is not posting on facebook–this is a true programmatic marketing program with a content calendar, regular development and delivery, and a coordinated release in conjunction with sales.

If you find yourself asking, what do I do, you’re not alone. While Kapost has some great suggestions on how to do this, you’ll find that the best suggestions are tuned to your industry yet follow some basic guidelines.

  1. Research: When was the last time you did market research? You can be as academic as you like, but make sure to ask questions about customer pain and needs. This is also an opportunity to get customer buy in on new product development or business expansion.
  2. News: This is the low-hanging fruit of content development. What is going on in your industry? While posting the news and commenting on it on your own site is the first step, the second is to become part of the conversation and post on other sites. When you’re ready to be the voice of your brand, this is your move.
  3. Video and webinars: Product education should not be the majority of your content, but when 2/3 of the sales cycle happens online (http://www.b2b-marketing-strategy.com/media/the-new-breed-of-b2b-buyer.pdf), it does need to play a part. However, it’s time to rethink how it’s done. Can you find a way to put it on SlideShare? Do you have a corporate YouTube channel? Can you show how your product answers a customer’s pain?

Finally, don’t expect every content piece to lead definitively to a sale. in the past, every piece could be tied to the pipeline, and marketers could assess the position of the lead in the sales pipeline. Now, the content must be available to the buyer at any stage, and only he or she can make the determination of his or her location in the pipeline. 

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