So there’s an empty space in your content calendar…

timingContent is a key part of marketing your business online. If you have a content calendar, that’s perfect because you can align your digital strategy with everything else you’re doing to further your brand.

However, that makes having a blank spot on your schedule all the more terrifying.

Don’t panic though. There are plenty of ways to fill that blank spot and publish something great on your website. Let’s look at some of your options.

Read the news
Perhaps the most wonderful thing about the Internet is that you can find resources that you didn’t even know you were looking for. The Web has a funny way of showing you all types of content that’s perfect for you, even if you were unaware of its existence. This is particularly true when talking about news. From major outlets to niche websites, there’s all sorts of coverage out there.

Why does this matter for your content marketing strategy?

Because news is a great way to get started when you don’t have anything planned. At any given time, a story could be posted that’s relevant to your business. Whether it’s recent research about your industry, an article focusing on the community or even a trend piece, there could be something that you can tie to your company’s core messaging.

The best way to find a solid news lead is to start by searching for your core keywords. Posts with these terms will be the easiest to write about for your blog. Beyond that, seek out articles about your sector or neighborhood.

If you can’t dig up anything good from those, you have to get a little more creative.

Continue a series
Most content strategies include a fair share of evergreen pieces. These posts are usually based on best practices and aren’t timely. The goal of publishing them is to gain long-term attention from search engines. For instance, “search engine optimization tips” don’t change all that often, so writing an article about them would attract traffic for a significant period. Meanwhile, a simple news story would only matter for a couple days before dropping off completely.

The benefit of having evergreen content is you can turn any post into a series. Going back to those SEO tips, you probably didn’t include all of your tricks and keys to success unless you wrote an exhaustive e-book or whitepaper. This is great news because you can include some more tips in a follow-up article.

Series are beneficial for three reasons. One, you re-energize interest in the original post. Two, you’ll create a series of internal links, which is usually rewarded by search engines. Three, this is a sticky experience that keeps readers on your site.

Think about how consumers interact with your content. In many cases, people find your link, view whatever elements you have and then move on to something else (hopefully one of your product pages). By embedding links to older content, you’re keeping leads on your site and directing them through your blog. This can help establish thought leadership and brand recognition, both of which can push folks further down the sales funnel.

Creating a series is also part of content marketing’s general best practices. All of your content needs to be used in multiple ways. Nothing should be forgotten after it’s published. Adding something to a series is a solid tactic for recycling it and incorporating it into your strategy for extended periods of time.

social_treeCrowdsource ideas
All the content in the world doesn’t matter if no one wants to read it. It’s easy to forget that you’re supposed to create articles, infographics and videos for actual people and not just Google’s scanners. But a lot of businesses seem to leave readers behind in an effort to rank near the top of search results.

A blank day in your content calendar is the best opportunity to rectify this situation. Instead of dreaming up a blog post on your own, crowdsource┬áideas from your followers and customers. Take to Twitter and ask everyone what they’d like to see you cover. Send out a quick email blast to subscribers with a short poll.

Once the responses start rolling in, search for a general consensus and produce something based on that topic. This will show your fans that you’re listening to them and appreciate their input. What’s more, the content created from that feedback will probably be very popular.

The additional benefit of this approach is that you’ll boost engagement among your business’ online community. Whether you ask for ideas on Facebook, Twitter or via email, your fans will enjoy that you initiated a conversation with them.

What’s more, you can use the content to keep the discussion going. Link to your piece on your social media accounts and distribute it to all of your email subscribers to maximize its visibility. Make sure to respond to as many comments as possible so that consumers stay engaged.

start_up_2Cover something about your business
Finally, you can do a bit of reporting about your company to ensure that something’s posted on your website. Consumers love transparency from organizations these days, so pulling back the curtain on your operations might just be the best way to increase readership.

You have a ton of options here. The easiest would be to write about a new product that’s in development. This can whet consumers’ appetite ahead of the marketing campaign for the merchandise, which might provide a nice boost in sales near the debut.

Alternatively, you could do an employee spotlight. Consider interviewing some of your most talented contributors about their jobs, backgrounds and professional goals. This strategy will help humanize your brand and engage readers.

Finally, writing about a recent event in your organization is always beneficial. Whether you write a recap about a sale or quarterly meeting, readers will enjoy the regular insights.

How do you fill empty days on your content marketing calendar?