Marketing Content Calendar 101: Keeping Your Digital Marketing Lights On, and Your Content Fresh

Is anyone going to walk into your practice if you keep the lights off? And what do you think would happen if, every time a patient saw you, you simply repeated the same lines you’ve said to them a thousand times before, or simply never took into account the things they said or issues they indicated they were interested in seeing you for? 

It’s a safe bet your practice wouldn’t survive very long at all like that! What many optometrists and their teams don’t realize is that they are making the equivalent of these mistakes every day when it comes to their practice’s Digital Marketing and Content Strategies.

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Keeping Your Practice Lights On

Publishing and interacting too infrequently onsite and across social media is a common mistake made by practices struggling to ace their digital marketing strategy.  Repeating the same messaging and just being plain old boring and uninspiring is yet another oft-seen faux-pas amongst practices.  So, how do you avoid falling into the same trap of forgetting to engage online or repeating dry, boring content? Keep your digital marketing lights on and your content fresh with a Marketing Content Calendar!

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Get Our Model Marketing Content Calendar Here!

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What is a Marketing Content Calendar and What is It Good For?

Simply put, a Marketing Content Calendar is an authoritative document (it doesn’t have to specifically be a calendar) where you keep all your content ideas and when and where you plan to publish them. The document should be accessible to everyone involved in the whole process of creating and posting marketing content for your practice. It can address a number of common problems, including:

  • Repetitive and Boring Content.  In the eyes of patients, saying the same thing over and over can turn into “blah blah blah,” really fast. Stating the same words again and again can become “yada, yada,” pretty quickly. Writing the same things day in and day out can feel monotonous before you know it. See what we mean? The way to really stick out in the eyes of potential patients that find you online is to make sure that you cover a range of topics throughout the year, in interesting and engaging ways.

A Marketing Content Calendar can help you ensure you cover a range of topics by allowing you to see all your content planned out over a given period, and make sure that none of it overlaps in a way that would make it overly repetitive. Having your content laid out in a calendar can also help your content team to brainstorm ways to connect some pieces to others to create an ongoing series or narrative thread. And it never hurts to revisit certain ideas on the calendar as they are being written, to see if there are more interesting ways to frame the content than originally considered.

  • Infrequent Publishing and Interaction. In today’s digital marketing landscape, you have to keep up with posting content for and interacting with many different channels, including your practice website, several social media platforms and your Google My Business listing, just to name a few. Not publishing and interacting frequently enough on these channels communicates to Google and other search engines the digital equivalent of leaving the practice lights off. It’s a big CLOSED sign right across your digital marketing footprint; a “Nobody’s Home” when patients come knocking. This often happens because practices are simply busy with a thousand other things, and content creation and publishing gets pushed to the back of the line in the face of appointments,  billing and optical. 

A Marketing Content Calendar can make sure that you only have to take the time out of your busy practice schedule to brainstorm content ideas periodically, instead of needing to pay constant attention to it. We recommend getting together with your marketing team at least once every quarter. Once you’ve laid out your content plans for the coming time period, assign someone on your team to write about each topic, and you’re done for the next few months.

  • Content That Isn’t Performing. One of the most important parts of creating content that engages potential patients is identifying what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to content performance. When was the content posted or sent? On what channel? Was it targeted properly for the right audience? In what ways can the content or its presentation be improved? 

Your Marketing Content Calendar is an excellent place to keep all the information about when your content went out, where it was posted,and the intended audience it was aimed at. Try posting your content in different places, and at different times. See what online channels work best, and what time of day you should post, in order to bring in new patients, and make improvements each time you see something actionable in your analytics.

How Do I Create A Marketing Content Calendar?

Now that we know the “what” and “why” of creating a Marketing Content Calendar, let’s discuss the “how.” Here are a few tips:

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Tip 1: Do Your Research

 Before deciding on any content or ever typing a single word, you need to do some research to find out what direction you’re going with your content strategy to reach your marketing goals. Create patient personas to identify your ideal target audience and do research on where best to find them online, and how best to write your content to reach them. 

For keyword research use tools like Google Search Console to find which keywords are being searched around you, which pages are already being visited, and which ones you might need to improve. 

Once you know which keywords you’re working on, you can also do competitor research by searching on Google to see where your competitors are ranking for those searches, and see if they’re already writing content that targets those keywords. If they’re doing something that works, don’t be afraid to copy their strategy, and improve on it where possible.

Don’t forget to also think outside the box with your research. Are there weird or funny holidays coming up that you can spin into engaging content? What about writing an article in Pirate-Speak for International Talk Like A Pirate Day? Or promoting a raffle for a new pair of bifocals for Benjamin Franklin Day? The possibilities are endless, and these kinds of silly things can be a fun way to stand out from the crowd.

Tip 2: Brainstorm With Your Team

After having done your research, get your team together and start thinking through what kinds of patients you’re targeting, and what that means for the content you create and when and where that content should be posted.

Be sure to pull in as many members of your eye care team as possible for these brainstorming sessions. Since different people from around the office have different tasks and areas of expertise, each person will be able to approach subjects from different angles, identify different subjects that the others may not be attuned to and which may not have been covered in previous content, and offer comments and improvements on existing content, which you may then be able to improve.

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Just because you’re in the brainstorming phase, doesn’t mean you’re done researching! Questions and ideas that come up in brainstorming may very well lead you back to the research phase. That’s perfectly fine. Making decisions about what content to post, researching to make sure you haven’t written content like it in the past, and finding out which social media channels are best for finding your target audience are examples of items that are very likely to take you back and forth between brainstorming and research!

Tip 3: Put Your Content Plan Into Action!

Once you’re done with the cycle of researching and brainstorming, decide on how often you want to post or send content, where you’re posting, and which items are posted on what dates. Plug those into your calendar and you’re on your way!

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Make sure to assign at least one dedicated person to overseeing the completion and publishing of your content on time. If the process of creating and publishing your content is large enough to require multiple people to bring it to completion, be sure to divide the whole project into individual tasks and post each task on its own in the calendar. Each task should be assigned its own due date, with the last task’s due date matching the due date of the overall project. This allows the project to be broken into bite-sized, easy to accomplish pieces, and assigns accountability to each person involved in the overall completion and publishing of your content.

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In Closing...

A well organized and executed Marketing Content Calendar can be a thing of beauty. It’s a great way to show Google and potential patients that your practice’s lights are still on, and that your practice has something interesting to say. At EyeCarePro, we’re happy to help you with this process, and anything else your practice needs to succeed in the increasingly competitive optometric marketing landscape. To learn more about how we can help, read about our Optometry Growth Plans, or give us a call at 201.591.4350.