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Creating your 2016 content calendar

By Colleen Malloy

Colleen Malloy BlogIt’s the start of a new year, and it’s the ideal time to reflect on the performance of your sales and marketing for 2015 and to create your game plan to pump up the performance of all of your initiatives for the 2016 selling season.

As you look at your goals for 2016, whether you’re looking to drive more online leads, bump up your used sales or increase service appointments, digital marketing tactics should be central to your overall sales and marketing game plan, allowing you to engage customers and boost your sales numbers in a meaningful and measurable way.

Planning and documenting your campaign strategies utilizing a content calendar for your digital marketing efforts spanning your website, blog, pay-per-click advertising and social media channels can help you not only develop your game plan, but it will give you a framework for execution, making it that much easier to actually stick to your best laid plans!

Follow these three steps monthly to ensure you’re crafting a digital marketing action plan that meets your 2016 sales and marketing goals.

  1. Create a list of events for each month. Write down any sales, promotions or events you’ll be hosting throughout the year. These could include:
  • Holidays
  • Sales or promotions
  • In-store events
  • Irregular hours

Add these events to your calendar. I’ve jumpstarted you’re planning process for you. You can get my calendar template by clicking here. These events are all fodder for the content you’ll be creating throughout the month. By documenting what you have going on in your store, you can target your digital content to drive the success of your initiatives.

  1. Make a list of content ideas that coordinate with your events. Once you have a handle on your events, start coming up with content ideas you can relate back to the events. Add these ideas to your calendar where they’re most appropriate, aiming for at least one blog post and at least 2-3 social media posts per week. Posting actively on your blog and social media channels does great things for your SEO and ensures you have great unique content for your readers to engage with.

Don’t be afraid to use the holidays or sales you’ve identified for the month as inspiration! In December, schedule a blog post about the best accessories to give as gifts for the holidays. If you’ve got a summer blowout sale, schedule a few social media posts to get your customers excited about the special offers they can expect or write a blog post after the fact with a recap of how the sale went.

If you have an abundance of ideas, you can plan out months in advance and really get ahead of the game. If you can write a list of 52 blog topics, you’ll be covered for the entire year!

This calendar is also a great resource for your pay-per-click ads. When you know ahead of time what events are coming up in-store, you can use your PPC campaigns to advertise them.

Be sure to schedule social media posts and any necessary changes to your website to let customers know if you’ll be closing early one day or if you’re changing from summer to winter hours so they don’t come to your dealership only to find it closed!

  1. Execute on your calendar. Once you have your content planned out for the month, be sure to follow through and create all of the great content you brainstormed. Since you’ve already planned out your post topics and due dates, you should be able to plan ahead and make sure you have the time you need to complete each item you schedule.

For example, if you’re going to publish a blog post every Friday, look at your calendar on Monday to see what topic you’re writing about and start drafting the post early in the week so it’s ready to go by the time you need it. Waiting until the last minute to write your blog or social posts can cause unnecessary stress.

Social media tools like Hootsuite let you write and schedule your social posts in advance, so if it’s difficult for you to find time throughout the week to post on Facebook and Twitter, block out an hour or two on the first of the month to write and schedule your social posts using the topics you planned out.

You can use a similar tactic for your PPC ads. If you have a sale you want to advertise at the end of the month, you can write your ads early in the month when you have time but wait to enable them until you want them to start running.

Charting out your monthly content needs will help you stay on top of your online presence to engage your audience and move more inventory. You can download my content calendar template here , and for more tips for your 2016 digital marketing strategy, check our webinar recording: Charting Your 2016 Digital Marketing Game Plan.

Colleen Malloy is ARI’s director of marketing. Malloy has more than a decade of experience in the powersports industry and previously served as the editor of Motorcycle & Powersports News. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers Sell More Stuff! — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in automotive tire and wheel, powersports, outdoor power equipment, marine, RV and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website and eCatalog platforms to Sell More Stuff!

Email: colleen.malloy@arinet.com

Phone: 414/973-4323

Website: arinet.com

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