Putting your best foot forward for the new year: Defining your brand, and building a content calendar

Written by
Karin Ferrari
September 11, 2023
min read
Back to school

For many, "Back to School" can feel like an opportunity to reinvent yourself. New clothes, supplies, sometimes new schools, and new faces meant you could decide how to put your best foot forward.

Slower seasons or unexpected dips in business can be an opportunity to reset, and decide how you want to go to market, how you want your brand to look, and how you plan to approach the coming year.

Brands are mainly defined by their personality, values, and mission; what do you do, and why? These elements should play the same note across all platforms of your marketing efforts. Admittedly, multiple platforms can be challenging to manage and maintain, this is where a content calendar can help keep you on track.

A content calendar is a tool that helps plan and organize the creation and distribution of content, (whether it be paid or owned) across various platforms - like display, search, social, and your website. Content calendars help by organizing, and aligning the brand messaging and tone, to create a consistent and cohesive brand message. They can also help ensure that content is posted regularly and in a strategic manner, keeping you organized and aware of timelines, while maintaining brand visibility and relevance to your audience.

7 Steps to creating a Content Calendar

  • GOALS: #1 Start by identifying the goal you want to achieve. Are you rebranding, opening a new location, or promoting a sale? How are you measuring the success of your marketing? Trying to create awareness - Look at increasing website traffic, or improving brand awareness through reach. Or is the goal more about driving sales, or building customer loyalty? Keep those KPI’s in mind.
  • AUDIENCE: Who is your target audience, and what types of content they are interested in, what topics they are searching for, and what questions they have? Think about search intent - what were they looking for when they found you. Make sure your content, matches what they’re looking for. What are their needs and values?
  • CHANNELS: Decide which channels your audience is on, and how you intend to reach them. Social media platforms, email newsletters, blogs, podcasts, vlogs, or webinars, can be amazing channels, but consider the tools you’ll need to create content.
  • IDEAS: Brainstorm a list of potential topics and content types that align with your goals and audience interests. Loop in stakeholders and front-line members who may have some useful insights, make sure what you’re marketing matches the team capacities.
  • ORGANIZE: Map out your content plan for the year ahead, including important dates, themes, and keywords. Key seasons come at the same time every year, make sure you’re not missing out on opportunities by scrambling to meet deadlines at the last minute. But at the same time, consider how new products or new competition can affect how you refine your marketing message - leave some time to edit.
  • ROLES: Determine who will be responsible for creating, editing, and distributing your content and assign specific tasks and deadlines? Be realistic with your expectations. Do you have the bandwidth or tools on your team to do what needs to be done, or should you consider looking for outside support?
  • RESULTS: Remember those KPI’s? Keep track of your content performance metrics using analytics tools like Google Analytics, and adjust your strategy as needed based on your data insights. Which campaigns had the best engagement? What was the message/creative? How can we use this in the future?

Investing the time to develop a brand identity and content calendar can help you make the most of your efforts and budgets by creating a cohesive marketing strategy.

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