Why You Need a Content Warehouse
I loathe the term content calendar. I get that it is an easy to sell format of content creation. I will even consent that it is a simple road map for beginners to follow. And I am well aware that large, successful businesses have the business model and long term plans to back up this strategy.
The problem I have with the concept is that for brands in development, this approach, more often than not, leads to content that does not create value for the brand or its audience. There are, after all, ads from “marketing pros” who promise you a twelve month content calendar in fifteen minutes. They usually focus on holidays, sales, and non-strategic brand promotions rather than core values and a method of establishing trust with your audience. Which is why they usually fail.
A content warehouse, on the other hand, is built with the intention of creating a self-sustaining structure with isles (subjects) full of product (content ideas) that automatically replenish themselves. It’s like having your own personal Costco for content with endless inventory that is well organized, intuitive, and easy to manage.
When you develop a brand that is focused on creating value for itself first, and its’ audience second, your warehouse will be filled with subjects to address because you will be honed in on the problems you are solving for your business and the problems you are solving for your customers.
This approach creates a balanced relationship between what you are selling and why I should buy it from you. Both messages need to be present in your content in order to build an authentic connection with your audience, engage them and convert them to purchasers.
This inventory takes a lot of front end work, a lot of research and development, writing, analysis, and testing. But it will be self-replenishing IF you are in the business of doing business. (You didn’t think it was easy to stock the shelves of Costco, did you?)
When you operate within the context of your industry on a daily basis, you will know the problems people are trying to solve and the specific value that you create to solve these problems. This context will provide the content to stock your shelves with because you are engaging with your industry.
When a brand takes this path, the wheels start turning and momentum moves content forward. That is why a content calendar is not a positive strategy for a startup to follow. Startups are typically not yet submerged enough in their industry to construct a meaningful narrative. And, as a result, they rely on easy ways to engage with social media. I suggest startups level up and do the hard work in stead.
Rather than obsessing over what to post and when and how often, brands should obsess over creating a content warehouse fitted with inventory like:
Aisle 1 — Authority: Establish the brand as an authority in your field to build trust with your audience so that they begin to rely on your expertise. The inventory in this aisle are subjects that reflect what you are working on, thinking about, reading or researching. These things should inform your content.
Aisle 2 — Activity — Show you are active in your industry to reinforce the trust you build by adding in respect from your peers. This aisle shows you out networking, reflects on new things you have learned, credits others for inspiring new ideas, and engages with people doing better than you.
Aisle 3 — Open! — Show you are open for business to show that you are actively engaged with your business. This aisle will house content that reflects your business activity. If you are in the early stages of development, show yourself doing research, attending events, connecting with professionals. If you have landed some clients, show how you crate value for them, how your services help them, what impresses you about them, why you love working with them.
Aisle 4 — Reliability — Show you are reliable by communicating to your audience that you are consistent and that you stand out for all the right reasons. This aisle will fortify the trust you have worked so hard to build. Consistent posting is key, yes. But consistent value is what people come back for. Tell me about why you show up every day for your brand and I am likely to show up for your brand as well.
Engagement comes when you are engaged yourself. Spend the time building your warehouse. Invest the time and money in your growth before you spend it on Facebook’s growth. I know, I say that all the time but y’all keep doing it, so I’ll keep saying it! Instead, invest in strategy and build your warehouse.