Content marketing planning is just as critical to your business as having fresh produce in a restaurant kitchen or plenty of products on the shelf at a retail shop. Empty shelves and a menu full of items you can't cook will only result in unhappy customers who will gladly move on to the next shop or restaurant.

In comes the editorial calendar–as handy as an inventory list, it will help you stay ahead of hungry readers and keep them feasting on your delicious words as often as they can. Now don't let this concept scare you away from reading further, you might be surprised just how easy it is and just how much time it could save you down the line.

First, choose your tool.

We like to use our project management software. We simply have a project called RHD Blog, or whatever we so desire. Our project management software has many great tools for reminding us what to do when and we can easily share it around the office, but this type of tool is not necessary to get started. You can simply start with pencil and paper, an excel spreadsheet, an electronic calendar or any other application that suits you best. The key is to just get started.

Let's talk frequency.

How often you post depends on delivery mechanism, time and demand. For the sake of efficiency let's just assume we're talking about a blog and not website updates, video, whitepapers or other types of downloadable content. If you think your industry requires daily posting, then by all means that's what you should be doing. Most can get away with weekly. That's what we do. It's manageable, and our readers would probably get a bit upset with us if we posted daily. We try to write about 3-4 weeks ahead of our posting dates - that way we can blog on hot topics and still stay on track.

Start with the easy stuff.

We like to start by filling in some of the obvious topics and dates like holidays, special events, company milestones, etc. You would be surprised how many of those will fill up your calendar. Next fill in the blanks with a logic that makes sense to you. Maybe the first week of each month you cover an industry specific topic, the next week something company related, the next something sales oriented to boost sales before the end of the month. I think you get the idea. Make a plan, be strategic, give readers something they want and value to read about.

Seek good ideas.

Always be on the look out for inspiration or better yet make opportunities for inspiration. For example, if one of your topics is what's new at MY company, keep in touch with the product development team regarding new innovations or ask human resources to let you know of any interesting personnel updates. I am going to assume you are also out there gobbling up your share of juicy content. Keep your eye out for topics others are writing about and either comment on their articles or write up one with your own spin. Keep an idea list because you never know where inspiration will come from and you want to remember it later instead of kicking yourself for forgetting.

So remember, choose your tool, decide on frequency, make a strategic plan and get those ideas flowing so you can spend more time focused on writing instead of staring at a blank page trying to come up with a topic.

Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!

P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program. Learn more about how we can help improve your brand management and support your marketing needs at www.ruffhaus.com

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