Why your team should use a content calendar

As the person in charge of your team’s marketing, you know that original content is valuable. But with all your other responsibilities, creating content can get pushed to the side. Or even forgotten. That perfect blog post or article ends up in the back of your mind instead of the front of your webpage.
Worse, since sports are seasonal, if you miss your window of opportunity it’s gone until next year. Your readers miss out on some great stuff. And they may even check out your opposing team to see what they are doing instead.
We went through that. Both Select Basketball and Transition Hoops are great channels for publication. Our readers want to know more about our industry. But the day to day activities was pulling our attention away from serving our readers.
With the implementation of our content calendar, we have improved on producing valuable content. When executed, our web traffic has increased. We have seen an uptick in social shares. And we have found that it leads to the ability to get our foot in the door with players, parents, coaches and sponsors.
Below is exactly what we are doing today to create our content calendar. When you read this, you will see how a content calendar can help you keep original content in front of your readers on a regular basis.

Why a content calendar and what is it?

I’ll draw a couple of assumptions here. First, I am assuming you understand that producing content is a marketing advantage. Second, I’m assuming you already know what your audience wants. Third, I’m assuming you have a process in place for creating your content (if you don’t, click here for some ideas).
What is a content calendar?
It is a tool that helps you plan ahead and then keeps you on track to produce content you feel is important. Here is an article on content calendars from Manifesto and Convince & Convert. It also provides a free Excel template.
For sports teams, a content calendar is great because it allows you to plan around a very set schedule of events. You already know about your games, practices, travel, etc. And you know about other industry events. A well thought out calendar will keep you on task while building consistency your readers will trust. This will position you as an authority in your specific sport.
And most important, you won’t miss out on opportunities that you know are coming. For example, pretend you run a soccer program. You would like to capitalize on the hype of the World Cup before it gets here. You have a unique position on the cup, maybe you have a player that will be attending. But if you miss this opportunity, it won’t be around again for at least four more years! A content calendar can help you avoid this.

How Select uses a content calendar

At Select, I manage several properties (Select Basketball, Select Printing, NPI, BAM Jam, Transition Hoops). They all have a specific strategy. Without a calendar, it is easy for things to get lost or overlooked.
Each strategy includes the topics we want to cover and the frequency that we want to publish.
There are several tools available including software like Excel to companies like CoSchedule. I have tried several but the one that has worked the best for me is Trello. The key is finding what works and sticking with it.
And sticking with it is really the key. Building a calendar and producing content cannot be something you do half assed. It requires a 100% commitment to be successful. We’ve all seen websites that haven’t published anything for months or years. That is sending the complete wrong signal to its readers.
It can be tough but it has proven to be completely worth it.

The results

Our efforts have paid off big this year.
With better planning, we use our resources in a more efficient way. We don’t scramble around randomly throwing things together. We have a task and deadline and can focus on it. This allows us more time to work on other parts of the business.
With better focus, the writing has improved. The copy flows better, we reduce typos and provide a much better experience for the readers.
Finally, as the process has improved, our confidence is growing. We are tackling bigger topics and can respond to questions in a better way.
Our Select Basketball main site (idahoselect.org) has seen a 10% increase in traffic since last year. And we’ve seen a 7% increase in organic search. That’s free traffic! This is a website where we only create one new post per month along with 1-2 newsletters per month. But each of them is high quality and hits what our readers want.

The content calendar benefits

If you are serious about serving your readers, a content calendar is a must. It will keep you on task and make you more productive. It will help you capitalize on timely opportunities and improve your relationship with your readers.
How are you using a content calendar?
Are you struggling to get started or want to know more? Please comment here or send an email to vince @idahoselect.org!