B2B Content Calendar Planning: Let Thoughtful, Fun Ideas Be Your Guide

Congratulations! It’s mid-January and you made it not only through the holiday rush, but also survived the impact of re-entry after the long winter break. And now, the entire 2014 content calendar is staring you in the face. What are you planning to put on it to engage customers and prospects over the next 12 months? 

Unfortunately, if you stick only to company-oriented news – product launches, partnerships, service upgrades and the like – you’ll have as much as 70 percent of your calendar blank. When considering how to fill the rest of the calendar, think strategically about where the content will reside and what forms it might take. For example: Do key executives engage in monthly LinkedIn industry group discussions? Will a press release also need video content distributed with it? Consider not only cross-pollinating content across channels to make it complementary, but also generating new and relevant content for your audience with these catalysts:

1. On a monthly basis, assess what social conversations are receiving the most interaction or what blog content is receiving the most hits and consider how to reuse it in a new way since it’s a topic that has proved successful with your audience. Repurposing it may mean feeding it into your email marketing pipeline or using the topic in a commentary piece for an industry magazine.

2. Overlay your event calendar with your content calendar and plan three to four months in advance for what your thought leadership and company news needs may be. If you’re planning a webinar, consider a meet-up over Twitter (known as a “tweet up”) ahead of time to generate buzz, or an incentive for attendance that you promote on your blog. If planning for the biggest conference your company will attend all year, consider developing thought leadership topics that can be published as articles in industry magazines around the same time or as guest posts on popular blogs. Once such content is published, syndicate it through your social and email channels.

3. On a weekly basis, look to current event headlines to drive your conversations. What are major pundits commenting about in your industry and what’s your take? What trends are occurring that your customers should know about? 

4. Consider the seasons and how they impact your target audiences. What sort of concerns are they facing for year-end revenue that could be impacted by something learned in Q2 or Q3? In what way are they affected by lulls in business due to high travel seasons like summer? 

5. “This day in history” and other relevant milestones also make for fun and thought-provoking content ideas – especially when done on social media. Consider researching an annual list of anniversaries relevant to your audience, or even the birthdays of famous people significant to your industry. Revealing such milestones on the appropriate dates can ignite social conversations. A great example is this Facebook page post by our client, Tekla Structures North America. Tekla provides information modeling software for the construction, energy and infrastructure industries. It marked “this day in history” by re-sharing this post from The American Institute of Architects: “In honor of the Capitol Dome’s 150th anniversary this past Tuesday, we are throwing back to Thomas Ustick Walter – the architect of the Capitol’s Dome. Walter was the 4th architect of the Capitol and designed the North and South wings as well as the Dome. We’re proud to say that he was a founding member and the second president of AIA. But did you know Walter originally designed the Capitol Dome in marble but discovered the building couldn't support the weight so he constructed the dome out of cast iron, cutting the weight in half, but had each piece painted to give the illusion that the dome was made of marble. #ThrowbackThursdays #tbt #architecture

What content ideas are driving your customer conversations in 2014?

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