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Content Marketing Avoid the Q1 Content Drought

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Chris Riley

October 31, 2017

For those of us in certain sectors, the period after Thanksgiving brings a whole new leisurely pace. Your task list stops growing, you find it easier to take an extra coffee break in the middle of the day, and the number of messages in your inbox seems to actually be going down.

But this calm is a precursor to the panic to come soon after midnight on December 31st. Once Q1 of the new year hits, your workload ramps up quickly. And if you took your holiday leisure too seriously, as many of us do, you find yourself frantically trying to catch up. For marketers, this catch-up means you need content. And you need it now. If only you had used Q4 and the holiday season to ramp up your content runway.

Actually having a content runway

We find that many marketing teams think of content reactively, not proactively. They try to populate their blog in real time, or get an asset for a campaign once the campaign is already planned.

For blogs, this means they only worry about getting new content when their blog has already run dry, and as soon as they get content, it’s published. This usually results in an inconsistent schedule, with sporadic posting and long periods of no posts at all.

This is not a content runway. A content runway means having a backlog of content ready to publish. For a blog, the more-reactive posts based on the market augment the content backlog, which makes for a healthy post volume—no less than two posts a week. Content runways also ensure campaigns aren’t delayed or watered-down to meet the intended launch date.

Ideally, content marketing departments have a blog backlog of two months, and three or more assets ready for any campaign to leverage.

New Year’s resolution

Creation of a content runway should happen when you are already flush with content—and there is no better time than Q4. When the holiday lull hits, people tend to put content aside, along with everything else. However, the holidays are an ideal time to start building your content runway for the next year. During this time:

  1. People are more attentive: More attentive writers and reviewers means better content.
  2. Topics can be deeper: Instead of trying to pull topics out of a hat, you can spend time researching topics and make them more impactful.
  3. Strategies can be applied: You probably have an SEO strategy, but might not be using it. When you create content at the end of the year, you can be more deliberate about all the great SEO work you have done, and apply it to your content without sacrificing your blog’s quality.

During the holiday season, you are probably not chasing your boss’s next big marketing idea. You can spend extra time building a robust content runway that provides a large portion of the content you’ll need for the coming year.

Focus on assets

Assets are the best type of content to create in Q4, because they generally take more than a month to complete and have longer review cycles than blog posts. They also usually have layout and design components handled once the content is complete. Leveraging seasonal calm to create full-blown assets is great. (Assets are also not as reactive to the market, giving them a longer shelf life than the typical blog post.) It’s very conceivable to have all your assets ready for the following year in Q4. This means that you can focus on campaign creative and strategy in the new year. White papers, eBooks, and extended articles will include better-quality topics and design when given some extra attention at the end of the year.

Similarly, landing pages and documentation are types of content that benefit from receiving extra focus during the holiday season.

Content will seem less like a monumental task when you produce it at the end of the year. Content creation is one of those heads-down activities that should be free of interruption. And for many, only in Q4 is there an opportunity to focus. You can leverage a service like Fixate, for example, to create technical content that is geared toward the DevOps market.

With our clients, our asset creation, documentation, and editing services peak in Q4. Marketing teams that go into the new year armed with great content can look forward to a year that is less stressful, and more impactful. Avoid the Q1 content drought.