Will Your 2015 Content Marketing Strategy Lead You To Success?

By Rachel Kurzyp @rachelkurzyp  

Is your content marketing plan finalised? That’s great if it is, but don’t worry if it is still sitting in draft mode. Your plan should be a living tool that provides direction. If you review and update your well-executed content marketing plan quarterly, it will lead you to success.

What are you waiting for? Get your content marketing plan out and let’s review it.

Is your content marketing plan achievable?

We tend to focus on establishing our goals and spend little time actually considering how to achieve them. This is why by March we are back to business as usual. However, you can avoid this.

Look at your content marketing plan from last year and ask yourself, what did/didn’t I achieve and why?

Consider important factors like:

• Time: Realistic time frames and approval process.

• Resources: Staff capacity and access to software.

• Money: Budget allocation and funding.

• Training: In-house capability, reliance on external support, and on-the-job training.

These factors are the main reasons why we struggle to action our content marketing plans. Use your answers to inform this year’s plan.

Can you maintain your content production schedule?

We spend too much time trying to create “viral” content, when we should be creating content that tells our brand’s story. Focus on sharing your message. Build relationships with your audience and post on a regular basis. If you do these three things you will see results.

Make content production easy and effective:

• Choose 3-5 main brand messages and stick to these.

• Create informative and engaging high quality content that attracts readers, shares and likes.

• Use key dates and events to guide your schedule.

• Match different content formats with different platform strengths. For example: a picture and quote on Facebook and behind the scenes footage on YouTube or Instagram.

Are you getting the most out of your digital platforms?

Don’t let 2015 predictions and hype around new platforms fool you. People don’t change their habits overnight and not all platforms are suitable for every business. Instead, spend time thinking about the platforms you are currently using and how you can improve the way you use them:

Want more sales?

• Use Google Analytics to see what pages have the highest visitation on your website, then add relevant product, service and contact information.

• Refresh your blog content, making sure your product and service benefits are clear and customer focused.

Want more engagement?

• See when your audience is using Facebook and post your content then.

• Ask questions, encourage feedback and start conversations on LinkedIn.

Want more reach?

• Ask your community to share your products on Instagram and Pinterest with their friends and family.

• Find “influencers” (people in your industry who have large audiences) on Twitter. Ask them to review your product and be a brand advocate.

Does Content Marketing Work For “Boring” Industries?

By Kath Walters  @kathwalters

Suffering insomnia? Here are some magic words that will put you to sleep in seconds: superannuation; accounting; balance sheet; facilities management in commercial office buildings; storage.

But what if that is your gig? What if you are responsible for the content marketing campaign in any one of those so-called “boring” industries? Can you write “sticky” stories that your readers simply must read right now, this minute, if that’s your brief?

The answer is yes, but the question is how

I chose the topics listed above because I have actually written about each of them over a decade and a half at Business Review Weekly magazine, and at online mastheads.

When the accounting role at BRW became vacant in 2001, our editor asked a table of 25-plus journalists who would like to do it. No-one put up their hand, including me.

But I broke more stories in the three years I spent as editor of accounting (after I was invited to do the role) than at any other time. I really enjoyed it.

 “Boring” is a competitive advantage

Here’s a dirty little secret of content marketing – if you are in a boring sector, it’s much easier to shine. You’ll have less competition, and a more grateful and less overwhelmed readership.

It’s always been that way in journalism. As I mentioned, no-one wanted the accounting editor role (so I got a big pay rise). In media, business writers earn much more money than travel writers or lifestyle writers.

Not so many people want to tackle business writing. Most are put off before they even start, and some quickly fall in the trenches when they try to make complex subject matter both compelling and accurate.

Curiosity makes a happy cat

If you want to make beautiful stories on any subject, stay curious.

Every industry and role within it has a fascinating side, and if you remain open and curious, you will find it.

In a rather brilliant story on this subject, digital marketing strategist, Pratik Dholakiya uncovered about 20 story angles on the topic of coffee cups. Really!

Here are three of them:

  • Who invented the first coffee cup and how did they get their inspiration?
  • What makes people think they need to drink coffee from a coffee cup and water from a glass?
  • When do coffee cup sales rise and what does that tell us about the American (he’s in the US) public?

Make it a human story

A regional businessman once told me that he was always under pressure from his farmer clients to give discounts – anything, rather than pay his prices. While doing some business training to try to improve his profits, reduce his stress and cut his long hours, this bloke was shown how to read a balance sheet.

Suddenly, the lights went on.

Instead of a boring accounting task, that balance sheet became his talisman to ward off the cheapskates. He saw how those discounts, even small ones, grew his liabilities column, squeezed the assets column and directly led to his stress and overwork. It saved his business and his marriage!

Business is really about people – their egos, ambitions, sorrows, frustrations and triumphs.

Every story is a human story. Find the human side and you have a treasure trove of fascinating story ideas.

Your customers don’t think it is boring

I know we all have to pay the mortgage, but why are you working in an industry you find boring? Your customers don’t find it boring, at least not at the time they are your customers.

I’m not fascinated by washing machines, to be honest, but when I want to buy one, I dream about them. I want to know why some are cheaper than others, who services them, how much energy and water they use, which ones my friends bought and why, whether I can get a smaller one, are there innovations on the way that will make my purchase redundant in a year or two.

If you’re clever, you can keep me interested by telling me how to keep the mould out of my machine; why my cold wash isn’t really working; what it’s costing me to have my daughter bring her washing home to my place; and how to avoid a call-out fee with “these three simple trouble-shooting tips”.

Boring folk make more effort

We all have our pride. If you let them, the people you interview will show you what fascinates them about what they are doing, all the little ways they try to make their customers happy, the tweaks they make to products and services, and why.

Accountants, for example, are really good at making themselves interesting. They’ve seen enough eyes glaze over and polite changes of subject to last a lifetime, and so they look for ways to help you make them interesting.

Take KPMG’s Bernard Salt. He’s has made a fortune for himself and his firm by making demographic data fascinating and funny.

He has humanised that data by tagging new tribes and social behaviours such as ‘the seachange shift’, ‘the man drought’, ‘pumcins’ (professional urban middle-class in nice suburbs) and ‘the goats cheese curtain’ (a cultural divide that separates the chichi inner suburbs (where there’s goat’s cheese in every fridge) from the dreary middle and outer suburbs in metropolitan Australia) and the “latte line” – the point in every city where the coffee starts to get really bad.

Mix up the writing styles

There’s a lot of different ways to write a story – you only have to look at any magazine for ideas. There are features and profiles, of course. But what about a quiz? There’s news and case studies, trends, predictions, tips, opinion, letters from readers, editorials. There’s humour, videos, photography and infographics.

Know when to stop

I could go on, but that might be boring.

How to Win the Internet with High Performing Content

by Rakhal Ebeli @rakhalebeli

Why do we read some articles and not others? This question has likely caused much frustration and perplexity. Why is it, you may have asked, that after investing time, research and energy, some content simply doesn’t work?

The answer can in part be explained by emotional psychology.

According to Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, the human brain is governed by two modes of thought – one fast, one slow. In the first, system, our reactions are guided by impulse, emotion and instinct. In the second, we use a slower, more logical and conscious mode of thinking.

So, what does this mean for content?

Good content mixes emotion and value

Research by Sonya Song shows that the most engaging content activates both fast thinking and slow thinking systems. While pictures of cute kittens appeal to our fast-thinking mode, prompting us to click almost unconsciously, they are less likely to sustain long-term engagement. In other words, click bait might grab our attention but it does not keep it.

Sonya argues, “Attention triggered by primitive tricks is fairly cheap. To gain more engaged attention, sophisticated messages would be a better choice.”

If, for instance, a reader takes in ‘slowly’ a long form article on the obesity epidemic, they will be less responsive to attention-grabbing headlines for fast-food. High-performing content draws on both systems, simultaneously engaging our fast-thinking mode with “beautiful photos, simple messages and uppercase words” and our slow-thinking mode with value-add, complex messages.

Positive associations work

The success of content also relates to how well it reflects the reader’s values. On social media, for example, news and posts are curated to maintain a particular image. Sonya explains, “people… attempt to build ideal self-images by associating themselves with tangible objects, such as branded goods.”

“What I have found so far is that ‘smart’ stories will get shared more often.”

In short, those who want to appear clever, share clever articles.  Understanding these motivations is crucial to creating content that does not get lost in the digital abyss.

Readers want a turning point

Studying the Boston Globe Facebook page, Sonya found that posts with a “turning point” were the most conversational. She argues this is because turning points engage both fast and slow thinking: “They first present a problem (tied-game, tornado, cancer, disconnection, etc.) and then provide a solution or a triumph…As a turning point disrupts the flow of a message, it may slow down people’s thinking and engage System 2.”

From this, we can gather that stories – content that follow a narrative arch – generate greater click-through and engagement.  

Conclusion

Understanding the psychology behind why we do or do not click, read, engage is an important first step in creating content that meets marketing objectives.

As Sonya concludes, the point is to “bridge people’s behavior online with whatever goal the newsrooms and brands want to build.”

Did you make this mistake last Friday the 13th?

By Kath Walters @kathwalters

Why do we read a story? Or perhaps I should ask, why do we read a story NOW?

Timeliness is a key element of what makes a story engaging – or sticky, as I prefer to say. 

We click on a story and read it right now if we feel that we really must have the knowledge within it this very minute.

Here are some reasons a story might be timely:

  • It answers a very important question for us – like why we never get the jobs we interview for, or how to live on a budget without being miserable.
  • It’s entertaining, and we don’t feel like doing our work right now!
  • It’s tied to an important public issue or event.

Make their news your news

Tying your content to the daily news agenda is not a well understood tactic, I believe.

But this is an idea that is intrinsic to traditional media: a story reported in one outlet leads to follow-up stories in other outlets, as each masthead’s reporter takes their own angle on the news.

In the content marketing sector, however, there’s a nasty name for it is “news-jacking” as in high-jacking the news agenda for self-serving, commercial purposes.

Avoiding the risks, and reaping the rewards

There is a risk of being tactless when you make their news your news. 

But it’s not hard to avoid the traps, and the rewards are worth the risks. There is little point in writing our stories if they do not get read.

Here are some tips:

1. Never write self-serving content

What’s worse than writing self-serving content that is aimed at making money without delivering any or much value? Doing that and tying it to a serious news story. 

The problem with news-jacking is that it is tasteless – but the real fault is to write self-serving content in the first place. All content marketing needs must serve our customers and prospective customers. 

The reward for content marketing is to build trust and rapport with your readers over time. Once they know you, they may choose to do business with you. 

2. Start with easy ones

Last Friday, there were more than 5000 searches for the words “Friday the 13th, according to Google Trends hot trends site

That was twice the number of the nearest other search, over 2000 for the dancer Sergei Polunin.

It’s a no-brainer to find a way to piggy-back at least one of your stories onto the Friday the 13th mania. 

There are a never ending supply of these – Easter, Melbourne Cup, National Apology Day (also last Friday), Valentine’s day, and so on.

3. Make a big effort

Make your link to news a thoughtful, well researched and considered one. Make the link clear and central to what you are saying. 

Even if you are writing valuable content, if the readers find the link you have made fake, you will lose their trust (the worst mistake).

4. News breeds good, genuine ideas

You’ll be amazed at how often you think of story ideas as you read the news. 

If you are a consultant psychologist, and there is a story about bullying in the workplace or school, it’s both appropriate and valuable that you share some or your knowledge and insights on the subject.

If you are a body language expert, well the world is your oyster, but this report on Russian president Vladimir Putin, was made for you to make your own.

5. Use tact – news is made up of real people

If you are marketing business software, and there is a report about rising insolvency rates, your knowledge and wisdom may also be relevant and useful. 

But you can see a potential risk here, too. Real people are losing their livelihoods and this can lead to many personal consequences, such as relationship breakdown, and health issues.

If you hop on your soapbox and start crowing about how they should have used your software, you’ll be part of the “news-jacking” crowd. 

Maybe this is one to pass up – tie your stories to news about productivity or leisure time. But if you do decide to link it to insolvencies, be tactful, show compassion and care about the real people who might be suffering.

Do it now

Tying content to current affairs is a legitimate and effective way to engage your readers and encourage them to read your story right now. 

It’s a tried and true tactic of traditional media. Add it to your content marketing recipe for great results, but use it wisely.

Measuring the metrics that matter: Does your brand know what counts?

by Rakhal Ebeli @rakhalebeli

The move away from direct marketing to brand journalism has left metrics in a muddle. How do you measure the performance of your content? What really counts in the field of brand publishing?

Here are some tips and myth-debunking advice on the metrics that really matter. 

Start with the objective

The first step may sound like an obvious one: Set a target. You can only know if you’re content has hit or missed the mark if you have a mark. Forbes, for instance, offers advertisers on the Brand Voice platform metrics on both the publishing impact of the content and its performance on social media.

But ultimately, as Mike Perlis, CEO of Forbes, explains, “The specifics of how that works against their key indicators, that depends on what they’re trying to accomplish.

A brand must first clarify what it hopes to achieve, be it increased subscribers or higher sales, and adjust their metrics accordingly.

Sharing doesn’t always equal caring

It is commonly assumed that the more content is shared on social media, the more it drives traffic. Interestingly, this is not always the case. According to Tony Haile, CEO of real-time analytics software company Chartbeat, “the people who share content are a small fraction of the people who visit that content.”

In an op-ed to the Times, Tony reports that after tracking 10,000 socially-shared articles he found “there is no relationship whatsoever between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention an average reader will give that content.”

His research showed that for every 100 visitors, an article receives one tweet and eight Facebook likes. In other words, 99 per cent choose not to tweet. This may be good news for brands whose social media metrics fail to measure up.

As The Next Web’s Brian Honigman points out, “Clicks and social sharing aren’t bad measures of the success of a piece of sponsored content, but they don’t always highlight the satisfaction readers derive from a sponsored post or the depth of the experiences they had.”

Attention more important than clicks

Measuring click-through rate is a poor indication of reader engagement because it does not show whether you have engaged or added value to a reader. Tony explains, “We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read.”  

According to his Chartbeat research, 55 percent of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a web page. Using page visits as a measure of performance is therefore a highly misleading metric. After all, what does one million page views mean if no one has read the content?

Tony believes we need to measure what happens “in between the clicks”, focusing on attention, or “attention minutes” as Upworthy suggests. Huge group director John McCrory agrees,Traditional online advertising metrics such as impressions and click through rates matter less, while publishing metrics such as page views, unique visitors, repeat visitors, and time spent begin to matter more.”

Quality economy

By measuring what counts, brands are in a better position to create engaging and relevant content. This benefits the entire web community, fostering the creation of quality content and an improved user experience.  As Tony concludes, “It’s not just the publishers of quality content who win in the Attention Web, it’s all of us.

A web where quality makes money and great design is rewarded? That’s something worth paying attention to.

How Freelancers Have Handled the Transition Online

By Derrick Krusche @derrick_krusche 

The future of journalism is in online growth and development. As traditional media struggles to find a viable business solution in response to the rise of new media, freelance journalists are using the net to enhance their trade.

More markets are available

Margaret Simons, director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, believes the shift to online has benefited freelance journalists in a number of ways. “It opens up more markets,” she says. “It is now possible to publish material to international web-based publications. Freelancers can also now promote themselves and their work through social media in ways not previously possible.” 

How to publish online?

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly increasing the potential reach of freelancers. Use a tool like bitly to reduce your link size, find suitable hashtags on the topic you’re writing about, and then start posting. 

For brands, the transition to online has opened up the possibility to commission writers from all over the world. “We are now competing internationally for work, rather than only against domestic contenders,” Simons says. 

Why freelance journalists shouldn’t work for free

Newsmodo locates freelance writers for clients that will pay for their work. Simons believes freelancers should not work for free, because their work has value. “It is reasonable for someone getting experience or in training to do some limited work for free, but if they are being used regularly by a publication, then they should be paid. An exception can be made, of course, for pro bono work or charity work, but even then my personal practice is to put a value on the contribution I am making, and send an invoice showing that I have waived a charge of a certain amount.”

Andrew CrookA former Crikey senior journalist: “Working for free is a tacit endorsement that the craft of journalism shouldn’t be valued,” he says. “Employers that encourage journalists to work for free should be cyber-picketed by journalists and boycotted by consumers.”

How to get started with Newsmodo 

All Newsmodo freelancers fill out an online profile in which they can state their personal area of expertise and any previous experience. Simons says it is important for freelancers to find a personal niche or brand, however, generalists also have a value. “The main thing is strong reputation in whatever field you are practising in.” 

Simons thinks freelancers have an advantage over journalists employed by organisations, because they have more licence to satisfy their curiosity and more ownership of their brand. “Freelancers are often more nimble and entrepreneurial,” she says. Crook says freelance journalists also have more flexibility. “Freelancers can work whenever and wherever the news takes them.”

At Newsmodo we connect you to an online portal brimming with briefs. Create a free profile, tell us what you specialise in, and engage with new clients now.

 

A Brief Secret

By Kath Walters @kathwalters

Producing engaging content tops the list of the 10 biggest challenges that Australian marketers face, according the recent study, Content Marketing in Australia 2015: Budgets, Benchmarks and Trends

Of the 251 marketers surveyed, one in two (50%) named producing engaging content as a challenge even bigger than lack of budget (a close second at 48%) and producing content consistently (46%).

So here’s a secret: a big part of the recipe for story quality is the story brief. 

A story brief that asks all the right questions is like a treasure map, and the destination is a “sticky” story, one that your readers cannot put down because it is timely (they have to read it now), relevant (it’s like it was written just for them) and trusted (well-researched, and with the readers’ interests foremost). 

I have been a journalist for close to two decades, and yet I never start a story without writing myself a brief. Yep, I actually write my own brief, even if my editor hasn’t given me one … and even if she has. 

I’m not talking about a bureaucratic document here, like a contract. I am talking about the kind of brief that makes a story come alive even before it is written.

I would really like to thank Kathryn (Kate) Bice, the clever woman who ran Fairfax’s training unit long ago (when they had one) for this invaluable tip that has proved so trusty over the decades. Kathryn now works for the Walkley Foundation. 

Why a tight story brief works

It’s funny how a story evolves as you write it. Story research leads you in all sorts of directions, and there’s no doubt that you can get lost in a sea of information. Without a tight brief, it’s quite possible for you, or the writer working for you, to completely forget the original idea and impetus for the story. 

Coming back to the brief helps focus the story once we have all the material together, to keep the relevant and ditch the irrelevant (no matter how interesting and cool it is.)

But there’s more! Writing a story brief can alert if your story is a dud before you even start it (so you can shift the angle), and will save you heaps of time in research and interviews because your web searches and questions will be tight and focused.

If you are commissioning writers, the story brief will forestall most disappointments (with poor stories turned in on deadline) and will end all disputes about what you were after, and what was agreed to.

And, it’s only one page long.

Kathryn’s cool story brief

I’m pretty sure that I have stuck more or less to the original that Kathryn served up in that day of training long ago. Of course, you might like to research other people’s ideas on briefing, such as this one by Bad Language, and this alternative by Copywrite Matters. But I have to say that in my view, they miss the special sauce that makes Kathryn’s brief zing. I’ll explain why as I go through.

Story theme 

What broadly is the story about? Urban farms? Productivity apps? Relationship failure?
The beauty of this is that it is the first step towards a story, but it doesn’t shut down any possibilities that might become apparent during the research.

Editor’s brief:

This is the nuts and bolts of what the editor has asked you to do (or what you as the editor want). An 800-word feature story with two side bars. A 500-word case study with three tips. A quiz. We always do what our editor says! 

Deadline: 

No explanation necessary. If you are commissioning, allow some leeway until you know the journalist well.

Who will read this story?

Here we get to the pointy end. I love this question. Answered with some thought, it takes us way past generalisations (urban designers) into specifics. Our urban farms story is destined for a website for architects and urban designers. But not all of them will find it interesting. Which ones will? Those working closely with local councils, or government housing schemes, those with an interest in place making or sustainability. Or the sceptics who think urban farming in namby pamby rubbish. Think about just who precisely you want to read your story.

Why will readers want to read this story?

This is an even better question than the last! Even an urban designer interested in sustainability will NOT read unless they find something they want or need. What is it? Essential facts to include in their next tender? Inspiration? Warnings and lessons about what can sabotage the best laid plans for an urban farm?

What are the points I want to make in this story?

Although these may change, it’s good to start with a sense of where you are going. For example: Urban farms: there is growing interest in urban farms and community gardens. This has been sparked by worries about food quality and freshness, the environmental cost of industrial farming and a growing recognition of social capital. But do they work? Are they safe? Can they go wrong?

Who are my contacts?

Here we think through how many people, and which ones, we need to talk to gain an understanding of the story theme.  This is helpful because it’s a great place to start our research and we spot weaknesses early. For example, are we only talking to women about how to bake a Pidgeon Pie, or only talking to white men over 45 about leadership? 

Seven questions and you are on your way

Whether you are writing or briefing a writer these seven questions are a powerful way to get to the heart of a story, its value, strengths and weaknesses, and deliver engaging content every time.

The Secret Behind Top Brand Newsrooms

by Rakhal Ebeli @rakhalebeli

What’s the secret to successful, high impact brand newsrooms? In a word: freelancers. Look behind the doors of top brand newsrooms and you will no doubt find a team of freelancers enabling the delivery of high quality content, be it as editors, writers or photographers.

These hybrid newsrooms leverage the familiarity of an in-house team with the experience of a freelance journalist, producing content to scale and allowing more efficient use of a brand’s resources. While the precise balance of freelance and in-house staff varies depending on the needs of each brand, what is constant is the value a freelancer brings in facilitating the smooth running of a brand newsroom.

Fresh perspective

Freelancers have long been used in the publishing industry as a source of new ideas. In the US, 75 per cent of magazine editorial content comes from freelancers and in the European Union, freelancers represent 22 per cent of the arts and entertainment sector.

 In brand publishing, freelancers can also give a fresh perspective to brand stories, offering unique story concepts that come from real world experience. Whether it’s about a Coca-Cola-themed wedding, a Levi’s-obsessed denim mender or a photographic journey to Coober Pedy for Crumpler, great, left-of-centre ideas often come from the outside.

Talent resource

While brand journalism has been widely touted as the future of content marketing, not all brands may have the resources to build a nimble in-house newsroom. Scribewise marketing expert John Miller argues, “Most marketing disciplines – and their practitioners – simply do not have the built-in agility a newsroom demands.”

This is where freelancers can help. For time-poor marketing teams, freelancers provide flexibility and perspective. The quality of freelance work is also arguably much higher. We are living in a time when Yahoo! Can lure the likes of Times political correspondent Matt Bai and former tech columnist David Pogue. Clearly, there is no lack of talent. Top brand newsrooms have taken advantage of this. By drawing on experienced freelancers, they maintain a high standard of quality and allow their in-house team to focus on brand strategy and innovation.

 Finding balance

The top brand newsrooms have achieved the perfect composition of in-house and freelance talent. According to PublishThis founder Matthew Kumin, “the key is a combination of original content writers, in-house curators who know your brand intimately, and outsourced curation contributors who broaden perspective.”

Finding the ideal formula is matter of assessing a brand’s resources. The team from Newsweek suggests companies ask themselves, “How much can you produce and how much can you curate? What resources are better spent on content rather than personnel (contributor pieces, sponsored posts, partner organizations, syndicated material)?”

In other words, does the cost of curating outweigh the cost of creating? The question ultimately comes down to manpower and time. The most successful brand newsrooms understand where to put their resources and when to look for freelance support.

Building a hybrid newsroom

Every brand has a unique set of tools with which to build a brand newsroom. Where a niche tech company may prefer the expertise of an in-house staff, a youth fashion label may engage more readers with contributed content.

To help find the perfect balance, consider the following:

  • Take stock of editorial assets
  • Analyse time/resource distribution
  • Weigh up value of outsider perspective

5 Steps to Develop an Efficient Editorial Calendar

By Melissa Kitson @mnkitson

Effective content marketing thinks beyond next week. It invites the reader on a journey across the editorial calendar. This allows readers to ‘get to know’ a brand and its core values.

Creating an efficient editorial calendar can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, it can be broken down into 5 simple steps.

1. Identify your audience

Who are you speaking to? This answer will inform the shape of your content and its distribution. Most businesses and brands will have multiple audiences. Differentiating each stakeholder will help refine the topics for your content calendar. The next point to consider is the weight of content distribution. Will most of your content be targeting existing customers or new customers? Clarifying your target audience will facilitate the ideation of your content calendar.

2. Compile content resources

Rather than starting from zero, consider your current content assets and how they could be repurposed. With a few tweaks, old blogs, white papers and presentations may be used as new content. This process will also help determine your capability and the pace at which you publish i.e. daily, weekly, fortnightly.  

3. Ideation

Developing an efficient content calendar requires careful ideation of the key themes and topics. Brands must consider how to bring value while remaining consistent to their brand story. It is also important to be timely. Shaping your content around relevant marketing, company and cultural events will help your calendar remain relevant.

4. Schedule and publish

The further you schedule your calendar, the easier it is to create a consistent flow of content. Planning well in advance of your next publishing period will give you time to manage hiccups and keep abreast of upcoming opportunities. Think also about the means of distribution. Will you have a cross-platform approach? Will content be tailored for each channel? These questions may even spark new ideas for content.

5. Measure and review

Understanding what works – and what doesn’t – helps guide the direction for future content. By measuring the performance of content, you can refine the topics, tone and means of publication to improve reader engagement and site visits. As you better define the interests of your audience, you are better addressed to meet them.  

2015 Content Marketing and Brand Journalism Event Calendar

Digital conferences are ideal places to meet new people, brush up on some technological skills, learn from the pros, and build your network.

No matter what your specialty or where you are in the world, there’s a conference for you. Here are some of the best:

Brands

Learn how the best and brightest brands are staying inspired, relevant, and always fresh.

Brand Forum
When: March 24
Where: Sydney
Cost: $1,900-2,500
Website: http://brandforum.com.au/

Digiday Brand Summit
When: April 21-23
Where: Palm Springs
Cost: US $2,400-6,500
Website: http://digiday.com/event/digidaybrandsummit-2014/

CeBIT
When: May 5-7
Where: Sydney
Cost: $90-1,995
Website: http://www.cebit.com.au/

Annual Brand Leadership Summit
When: October 7-8
Where: Hollywood
Cost: US $2,450-3,500
Website: http://wefirstbranding.com/summit/

PR and Communications

Insights, ideas and inspiration for professionals in public relations and communications.

CommsCon
When: March 18
Where: Sydney
Cost: $549
Website: http://commscon.com.au/conference/

PRSA International Conference
When: November 8-10
Where: Phoenix
Cost: US $1,395-1,795
Website: http://www.prsa.org/Conferences/InternationalConference/index.html

Digital Media Marketing

The latest in SEO, digital strategies, and other areas of interest for digital media marketers.

Digital Summit Phoenix
When: February 4-5
Where: Phoenix
Cost: US $245-445
Website: http://digitalsummitphoenix.com/

Digital Media India
When: February 10-11
Where: New Delhi
Cost: EUR 315-515
Website: http://www.wan-ifra.org/events/digital-media-india-2015

SES London
When: February 9-11

Where: London
Cost: GBP 499-1,599
Website: http://sesconference.com/london/

Pause Fest
When: February 9-15
Where: Melbourne
Cost: $265
Website: www.pausefest.com.au

Searchfest
When: February 27
Where: Portland
Cost: US $399-699
Website: http://www.sempdx.org/searchfest/

Broadcasting Digital Media Summit
When: March 3-4
Where: Sydney
Cost: $895-1,795
Website: http://acevents.com.au/broadcasting/index.html

Digital Disruption X
When: March 11-12
Where: Sydney
Cost: $3,599
Website: www.digital-disruption.com.au

Changing Media Summit
When: March 18-19
Where: London
Cost: GBP 895
Website: www.theguardian.com/media-network/changing-media-summit

Digital Strategy Innovation Summit (invite only)
When: March 19-20
Where: New York
Website: http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-strategy-innovation-summit-new-york-2015

Digital Innovators’ Summit

When: March 21-24
Where: Berlin
Cost: EUR 1,390
Website: http://www.innovators-summit.com/no_cache/dis-home/

ClickZ Live
When: March 24-25
Where: Jakarta
Cost: $315-525
Website: http://www.clickzlive.com/jakarta/index.php

ClickZ Live
When: March 30-April 1
Where: New York
Cost: US $995-2,295
Website: http://www.clickzlive.com/

Social Media Marketing
When: March 25-27
Where: San Diego
Cost: US $1,027- 1,297
Website: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/

The State of Digital Media Marketing Conference
When: April 16-17
Where: St. Louis
Cost: US $500-5,000
Website: http://umsldigitalconference.com/

Pubcon
When: April 20
Where: Austin
Cost: US $249-369
Website: http://www.pubcon.com/austin-2015

Digital Media Europe
When: April 20-22
Where: London
Cost: EUR 699-1,799
Website: http://dme.wan-ifra.org/

DIGIMARCON Cruise
When: April 26-May 3
Where: Orlando
Cost: US $995-1,195
Website: http://digimarcon.com/cruise/

Searchlove
When: April 30-May 1
Where: Boston
Cost: US $899-1,999
Website: https://www.distilled.net/events/searchlove-boston/

Authority Rainmaker
When: May 13-15
Where: Denver
Cost: US $995+
Website: http://my.copyblogger.com/authority-rainmaker/

Ad Tech
When: May 20-21
Where: San Francisco
Cost: US $250-1,095
Website: http://ad-tech.com/sf

#SMF Europe
When: June 8-9
Where: London
Cost: GBP 445-895
Website: http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/europe/

Searchlove
When: September 10-11
Where: San Diego
Cost: TBA
Website: https://www.distilled.net/events/searchlove-sandiego/

FIPP World Congress
When: October 13-15
Where: Toronto
Cost: GBP 1,285-1,745
Website: http://fippcongress.com/

Bolo
When: TBA
Where: Phoenix
Cost: TBA
Website: http://boloconference.com/2014/

Small Business

Conferences tailored specifically for small businesses and adventurous entrepreneurs.

ICON
When: March 31-April 2
Where: Phoenix
Cost: US $399-599

Website: http://attendicon.com/

Interactive Festivals

Hands-on excitement and fun with presentations, panels and play.

SXSW Interactive
When: March 13-17
Where: Austin
Cost: US $795-1,295
Website: http://sxsw.com/interactive

The Original Interactive Local Media & Marketing Conferenc
e

When: December 8-10
Where: Hollywood
Cost: US $995
Website: http://www.biakelsey.com/2015/

Marketing/Advertising

Events for advertisers and marketers alike.

Programmatic Summit 2015
When: March 5
Where: Sydney
Cost: $695

Website: http://ashtonmedia.com.au/symposiums/programmatic-summit-2015/

Ad Tech Australia
When: March 10-12
Where: Sydney
Cost: $1,250-1,700
Website: http://www.adtechaustralia.com/

World Social Marketing Conference
When: April 19-21
Where: Sydney
Cost: $900-1,150
Website: http://wsmconference.com/sydney-2015/

CMO Summit Europe (invite only)
When: May 12-14
Where: Dublin
Website: 
http://www.gdsinternational.com/events/cmo/eu/

Sirius Business Summit
When: May 12-15
Where: Nashville
Cost: TBA
Website: http://www.siriusdecisionssummit.com

SMX Advanced
When: May 27-28
Where: Sydney
Cost: $1,795 + GST
Website: http://www.searchmarketingexpo.com.au/

SMX Advanced
When: June 2-3
Where: Seattle
Cost: US $1,095-2,095
Website http://searchmarketingexpo.com/advanced/

Integrated Marketing Week
When: June 9-10
Where: New York
Cost: $895-1,695
Website: http://imweek.org/

MozCon
When: July 13-15
Where: Seattle
Cost: US $1,000
Website: http://moz.com/mozcon

Marketing World 2015
When: July 13-16
Where: Seattle
Website: http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/summits-details.pag?eventid=291455149

Affiliate Summit
When: August 2-4
Where: New York
Cost: US $2,249
Website: http://www.affiliatesummit.com/

Inbound Marketing Summit
When: September 8-11
Where: Boston
Cost: US $1,000+
Website: http://www.inbound.com/inbound14/about

Forrester’s Summit for CMOs and CIOs
When: September 16
Where: Sydney
Cost: US $345-545
Website: https://www.forrester.com/Forresters+Summit+For+CMOs+And+CIOs/-/E-EVE6700

DMA2015
When: October 3-8
Where: Boston
Cost: US $1,099-1,599
Website: http://dma15.org

CEB Sales and Marketing Summit
When: October 20-22
Where: Las Vegas
Cost: TBA
Website: http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/sales-marketing-summit/index.html

Marketing Festival
When: October 31-November 2
Where: Brno, Czech Republic
Cost: TBA
Website: http://www.marketingfestival.cz/en

Forbes CMO Summit
When: TBA
Where: TBA
Cost: TBA
Website: http://www.forbes.com/conferences/2014/cmo-2014.html

Festival of Marketing
When: November 12-13
Where: London
Website: http://festivalofmarketing.com/

Awards

Recognising the very best and brightest in all fields digital.

Northern Digital Awards
When: January 22
Where: Leeds

Broadcast Awards
When: February 4
Where: London
Cost: GBP 400-5,500
Website: http://www.broadcastawards.co.uk/Home

21st AIMIA Awards
When: March 12
Where: Sydney
Cost: $203
Website: https://aimia.worldsecuresystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=304313

Publishing

Strategies and tools for publishers – especially those transitioning from analog to digital.

Digiday Publishing Summit Europe
When: February 4-6
Where: Monte Carlo
Cost: US $2,500-3,500
Website: http://digiday.com/event/digidaypublishingsummiteurope/

Digital Publishing Innovation Summit (invite only)

-New York
When: July 16-17
Website: http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-strategy-innovation-summit-new-york-2015

-Singapore
When: July 20-21
Website: http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-publishing-singapore-2015

-San Francisco
When: December 9-10
Website: http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-publishing-innovation-summit-2015-san-francisco

Electronic Media and Entertainment

These conferences are about all types of electronic media, featuring speakers, exhibits and more.

IBC Content Everywhere MENA
When: January 20-22
Where: Dubai
Cost: $799-1,999
Website: http://www.ibcce.org/Content/MENA

CSTB Exhibition and Forum
When: January 27-29
Where: Moscow
Website: http://en.cstb.ru

Festival of Media Asia Pacific
When: March 22-24
Where: Singapore
Cost: US $1,274-1,699
Website: http://www.festivalofmedia.com/asia-pacific

Festival of Media Global
When: May 10-12
Where: Rome
Price: GBP 1,995-2,300
Website: http://www.festivalofmedia.com/global

IBC Content Everywhere
When: September 10-15
Where: Amsterdam
Cost: $799-1,999
Website: http://www.ibc.org/page.cfm/Link=845/nocache=24102014

Festival of Media LATAM
When: September 23-25

Where: Key Biscane
Cost: US $1,599-1,799
Website: http://www.festivalofmedia.com/latam

Content

Improve and refine the heart of your message: these conferences focus on content strategy, delivery, and more.

Content Management for Digital Media Africa
When: January 27-29
Where: Johannesburg
Cost: GBP 499-1,999
Website: http://www.bspmediagroup.com/external/event.
php?EID=84

CDN Asia
When: February 3-4
Where: Singapore
Website: http://cdnworldsummitasia.com/

B2B Content2Conversion Conference
When: February 16-18
Where: Scottsdale
Cost: US $395-1,095
Website: http://content2conversion.com/

Content Strategy Masterclass
When: February 17
Where: Sydney
Cost: $1,595-1,795
Website: http://www.contentstrategist.com.au/masterclass

ContentTECH
When: February 25
Where: Virtual Event

Cost: Free
Website: http://vshow.on24.com/vshow/contenttech2/registration/7579?partnerref=CMISite

Content Marketing Sydney
When: March 16-18

Where:Sydney
Cost: $495-2,485
Website: http://www.sydneycontentmarketingworld.com/

Content Marketing Asia
When: March 19-20
Where: Singapore
Cost: US $400-1,000 ($200 for a virtual pass)
Website: http://asiacontentmarketing.com

Intelligent Content Conference
When: March 23-25
Where: San Francisco
Cost: US $595-2,495
Website: http://www.intelligentcontentconference.com/

Confab Central 2015
When: May 20-22
Where: Minneapolis
Cost: US $999-1,795
Website: http://confabevents.com/events/central

Content Marketing World
When: September 8-11
Where: Cleveland
Cost: $545-2,495

Website: http://www.contentmarketingworld.com/

Consumer Electronics/Technology

The hottest new gadgets, hardware, and other technological innovations.

International CES
When: January 6-9
Where: Las Vegas
Cost: US $1,300-1,600
Website: http://www.cesweb.org/

International CES Asia
When: May 25-27
Where: Shanghai
Website: http://www.cesasia.cn/?lang=en

Media

Film, television and other modes of media. 

Net-Work-Play
When: March 23-25
Where: Adelaide
Cost: $350-900
Website: https://www.net-work-play.com/blogs/news/articles/aidc-presents-net-work-play-2015

New Media Expo
When: April 13-16
Where: Las Vegas
Cost: US $397-797
Website: http://nmxlive.com/2015-lv/

OPS
When: June 9
Where: New York
Cost: Price on Registration
Website: https://opsconference.com/