In 2020, global online content consumption doubled. During this timeframe, people went from spending an average of around three hours a day to an incredible six to seven hours a day online consuming digital content. And as people spend more time on their mobile devices, laptops, smart TVs, and other connected devices, the amount of content consumed looks like it will only increase over the next few years.
For businesses that wish to remain top-of-mind with their customers, it is imperative to meet this increasing demand by publishing a constant stream of new content.
But creating content, publishing it, and keeping a steady cadence can be challenging. Not only that, but content for the sake of content alone is not enough. Once you create content, you need to strategically design it to reach more customers and improve conversion rates.
One of the best ways to meet these challenges is to start by building out a strategic content calendar aimed at reaching more customers. The following guide will walk you through what it takes to design a killer content calendar that will allow you to increase your reach and lead to a higher number of sales.
Start by Creating Clear Audience Personas
Too often, businesses begin brainstorming their content calendar before they have taken the time to understand their audience clearly. When you build out content without first defining your specific audience personas, you are in danger of building content that will miss the mark.
If you haven’t already, take the time to research who your audience is. For most businesses, you will need to build out at least two to three audience personas.
What should you include in your audience personas? Think about these personas as buckets that represent segments of your customers. Define the following about each segment:
- Basic demographic information: This includes gender, age, race, and income bracket.
- Their interests: Think about your personas as a high-level view of each audience segment’s personality. What hobbies do they have? What other information are they seeking online? What motivates them?
- Their pain points: Another critical component when building an audience persona is to define what fears, challenges, and pain points this persona faces. This is where you will be able to deliver a high level of value to your audience.
- Don’t confuse basic demographic information with audience personas. While you will want to start with these basics, you can’t stop there. Personas need to tell a story about the people behind the numbers.
- Use analytics to your advantage. By diving into the data you have on existing customers, you can learn a lot about who they are, their online habits, and what pain points you might be able to solve.
- Build ample personas. Be careful not to lump too many audience segments into one bucket. The more personalized you can make your content, the better. This is where multiple personas can help ensure that you are meeting the unique needs of each customer.
Outline Your Communication Channels and Mediums
Once you know who you are building your content for, you can outline how you will surface that content to each persona.
This is where having specific personas built out becomes increasingly important. A Boomer won’t consume content on the same platforms and in the same way that a Gen Zer might.
What channels and mediums should you include?
Consider all of the following, honing in on the methods that make the most sense for your specific audience:
- Social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.)
- SMS messaging
- Self-help service center articles
- In-app notifications
There are countless ways to surface content to customers. The more channels you can engage on, the greater your potential reach.
In many cases, it makes sense to start with a broad number of channels, measuring your success on each platform. Over time, you can narrow down your list, focusing your efforts on the channels that outperform the rest.
Build a Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Cadence
Once you have detailed your audience personas and how you will surface content in front of them, it’s time to design your content calendar.
When it comes to content, consistency is key, which is why we recommend a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly cadence for content.
For example, you might post to social media daily, publish a weekly blog post, email out a monthly newsletter, and publish a whitepaper each quarter.
Depending on your team’s bandwidth, you could add other items to each of those calendar segments. You might publish a video every week along with your blog post, or you might add a customer highlight to your monthly content calendar.
The goal is to roughly outline topics for each segment and assign responsibilities. Make sure your calendar includes important details, such as:
- Who will be in charge of creating content?
- Does content need to go through a review process? If so, what stakeholders should you include in the review of content?
- Who will be in charge of publishing content?
- Who will be in charge of reporting on content?
- Will you spend money on promoting content? If so, denote which content will be promoted versus which content will rely on organic reach.
Make sure that you also include any industry-specific details in your calendar. For example, if you know that your audience will be attending a specific convention in June, denote this alongside the content that you will be publishing at that time. This can help ensure that you keep topics timely and relevant.
Focus on Topics that Match Search
As you and your team brainstorm topic ideas for blog posts, videos, social media posts, emails, newsletters, and more, focus on creating content that will match user intent.
A great way to do this is to put Google to work. Google can help you unearth what topics your customers are searching for and what questions they are asking.
For example, if you type “Ford Focus” into Google, you’ll notice a segment on your search results screen labeled “People also ask.” In this case, one of the related questions shows up as “is a Ford Focus a good car?”
Here is a prime example of how a dealership that sells Ford Focuses could create a blog post and video that answers this question.
Adding topics into your content calendar that match online searches can help you in two major ways:
- It can help you rank organically. If the answer you provide is written well and optimized according to SEO standards, you could rank in the search results the next time someone asks this question. This allows you to reach a larger number of potential customers.
- It can help you build trust with existing customers. Nothing is better than having a question answered before it has been asked. If you can create content that answers potential customer searches, you can provide your customers with the information they seek without requiring them to spend time looking for it.
Make Sure to Provide Unique Value
The increase in online content consumption has led many businesses to realize that they can tap into this need. This, in turn, has led to massive quantities of content being pumped out into the digital sphere.
The problem is that as content quantity increases, quality doesn’t always follow. Make sure that when you design your content calendar, you remain focused on providing a unique value to your audience.
You need to stand out and differentiate your content from the white noise. Start every piece of content with the question:
What value will this provide to my reader?
If you can’t clearly define that value, reconsider your approach.
This is also where setting up benchmarks and goals for your content can help. Rather than simply writing a blog and hitting “post,” make sure to have a strategy for how you will measure your content’s success. That might include measuring:
- Click-through rates
- Bounce rates
- The number of times a post is shared
- Conversions specific to the post’s call to action
- Newsletter sign ups
- Engagement with the post
The right benchmark will depend a lot on the type of content you’re publishing and the goal of the content. The bottom line is that if you don’t have some system in place for measuring the content’s success, you’ll never know what is working and what is not.
Dealership Content Calendar Examples
Looking for inspiration as you design your content calendar? Check out the following examples of what content calendar ideas might look like for a dealership.
Daily Content Ideas
December 1: Tis’ the season! Where will you be driving this holiday season? Drop your destination in the comments below and book your routine oil change today. Link in bio!
December 1: Over the river and through the woods, to whose house will you go? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to stop by Rodger & Rodger Dealership to schedule an oil change before you go. (link to online scheduler)
Weekly Content Ideas
Blog Post to Website
Topic: How often should I change my oil? And other holiday maintenance tips!
YouTube Video Post
Topic: Ask a Mechanic: When Should I Change My Oil?
Quick video discussing the importance of routine oil changes hosted by lead mechanic Greg.
Monthly Content Ideas
- Highlight community holiday drive
- Showcase upcoming holiday events
- Link to current inventory
Quarterly Content Ideas
Topic: Purchasing Your First Car During a Vehicle Shortage
Hosted by head of sales Sara M.
Create a Killer Content Calendar with J&L Marketing
Content calendars are an excellent way to keep your content strategy more focused and organized. By designing a content calendar aimed at increasing your customer reach, you can convert more sales and see an actual return on your investment.
But, realistically, designing and executing a content calendar is a time-consuming process. From understanding your audience to brainstorming topics to ensuring that content is written and distributed to your target audience, it takes a large amount of effort to deploy an effective content marketing strategy.
If your dealership or small business simply does not have the time, money, or staffing resources necessary to keep up with a content calendar, talk to our team at J&L Marketing. We have years of experience helping clients design killer content calendars aimed at reaching more customers. Not only that, but we will help you execute the content calendar with clearly defined goals set in place. We can provide you with reporting and insights into what is working well and what is not, allowing you to adapt your strategy accordingly.
If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to reach out to our team today. We’ll be happy to provide you with a consultation to take a look at your holistic digital marketing strategy to ensure that you are using content to provide your business with the best return on investment.