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Creating a content calendar may seem like something that only marketing agencies or newsrooms do, but it can be useful for all sorts of businesses, including insurance agencies and others in the insurance industry. That’s because content calendars help you come up with marketing ideas ahead of time, rather than scrambling to put something together at the last minute. Content calendars can also help you stick to a schedule that fits within your overall insurance marketing plan and helps you reach your goals, such as around lead generation and building relationships with current clients.
“When the going gets tough, marketing initiatives have a tendency slide to the bottom of the priority list — or they get forgotten altogether… To avoid this all-too-common situation, you need to map your marketing plan over to a content marketing calendar,” explains Hinge, a professional services branding and marketing firm.
In this article, we’ll explore how insurance agents can create content calendars for marketing areas such as social media, email newsletters, and blogs.
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Determine Your Purpose for a Content Calendar
A good place to start when building a content calendar is to figure out the purpose of the calendar. For example, if you rarely blog but want to start implementing a weekly publishing schedule to build your brand and add value for your target audience, then creating a blogging calendar could be a good idea.
Pick Your Channels
Not every part of your insurance marketing plan necessarily requires a content calendar. For example, if you have a LinkedIn or Facebook profile that you use mainly to be active in groups, but don’t want to be active in terms of creating your own content for these channels, you don’t have to be.
Just because some insurance agents find success with some marketing channels doesn’t mean you have to follow the same approach. Perhaps your prospects and clients aren’t very active in a certain channel, in which case creating a content calendar there might not be the best use of your time.
But if you think that having some structure will help you stay on track with content creation and develop a more organized, streamlined strategy, then a content calendar could make sense. If you know you want to publish an email newsletter every Wednesday, for example, you could plan out what those newsletters will cover over the next month so that you have plenty of time to put together your marketing materials.
Pick Your Timeframes
Not every channel requires the same content calendar timeframe, and different insurance agents prefer different types of insurance marketing plans. Perhaps you have enough blog ideas to plan out a content calendar for the whole year. But, if your strategy relies more upon, say, responding to more recent news as it relates to your business, you might want to create a weekly or monthly content calendar, depending on your publishing frequency. Or you might have developed a marketing campaign that lasts for a certain number of days and want a corresponding content calendar.
Different channels also might have different timelines. If you publish a blog twice per month, then a monthly content calendar that’s planned only one month in advance might work; even if you’re responding to relatively recent news, plenty of stories still have legs the following month.
But the same strategy might not work on a faster channel like social media. In that case, you might be better off planning a weekly content calendar. In contrast, if you mainly publish evergreen business advice, you might be able to plan out your social media marketing calendar for the whole following month.
Consider How Much Detail You Need
Content calendars can vary significantly in terms of what they include. For some insurance agents, writing down the general topic of your next four blog posts, for example, might be enough planning. But for others, especially those who work in teams either internally or with partners like freelancers and media agencies, you might want to include more details, such as:
- Publishing date
There’s no right answer of what to include per se. It depends on what you think will help you stay on track and what type of content you’re looking to create.
With social media calendars, for example, it might make sense for some insurance agents to fully write the posts they want to send out and schedule those to automatically post on their designated dates, such as by using a social media management tool like Buffer. For other insurance providers, though, it might make more sense to plan more broadly, such as by writing that next week your social media posts will be centered around budgeting advice, and the week after that you’ll live tweet from a conference.
Find a Template or Tool
Once you have a general sense of the purpose of your content calendar, you can find a template or tool to build your content calendar. Tons of free ones exist online, so try using a search engine to look for a content calendar template or content calendar creation platform. You also might already have access to a template or tool within software platforms that you might be using as part of your overall marketing plan. For example, you can use a template within the project management tool Asana, as well as within marketing platforms like CoSchedule.
Some insurance agents might just use a paper and pen to build out their content calendars, but finding a template or tool can help in several ways, such as:
- Giving you guidelines to follow if you’re not sure what to include or how to start building a content calendar
- Saving time, such as by making it easy to duplicate marketing tactics, like if you want to put the same blog post promotion on multiple days of your social media calendar
- Providing online access, such as if you can log into a scheduling platform from any device to check your progress or jot down a good marketing idea wherever you are
- Helping you visualize your calendar, as some templates and tools are color-coded or have similar features that make it easier to build and understand your content calendar
- Connecting your content calendar to your broader insurance marketing plan, such as by using APIs to integrate your scheduling platform with other tools that help you stay on track with your overall strategy. For example, CoSchedule has integrations with tools like WordPress for blogging, social media networks and several leading email marketing platforms to help you reach potential clients and current customers.
Put Your Content Calendar to Use
A content calendar can help you get organized and publish content more consistently, whether you’re creating offline or digital marketing content. You can think about how different areas of your overall insurance marketing plan, like your blogging, email marketing, social media, and events like webinars will align with each other over the coming weeks, months, or a year, and then create calendars that help your insurance agency stay on target.
That said, it’s important to remember that a content calendar can help set you up for success, but you still need to execute your insurance marketing strategy. For instance, having ideas for what to blog about in the coming weeks, such as small business sales tips, is a step in the right direction for your marketing efforts. But you still need to actually create that content.
So, aim to develop a content calendar as a way to get your insurance marketing plan on the right track, but keep in mind that it’s only part of the overall process. Also, note that it doesn’t have to be so rigid. Just like with a regular calendar, plans can change. Even in cases such as where you schedule specific social media posts to go out over the next month, it’s important to still keep an eye on this area, such as if breaking news makes a previously scheduled post less relevant. In that case, you may want to cancel the post and create a new one on the spot or just take a break until you feel like you can get back to your schedule.
Overall, creating content calendars can be a great way for an insurance agency to improve its marketing efforts, but keep in mind that it’s only part of the process.