This article and expertise was originally published on Forbes.
I love summertime. Right around this time every year, my family and I try to take a vacation together to enjoy the weather and some time to ourselves. Taking time off might be difficult for driven leaders and entrepreneurs (trust me — my wife can tell you plenty of stories about me checking my email “just one more time”). But for most people, this time of year usually means setting up some fun out-of-office responders, closing their computers, and taking some time off.
This collective vacation mode leads to a major seasonal trend that can affect your business and your content. My team and I have seen this happen plenty of times before — audience engagement with content can dip, and no matter what email hacks you use, it’s harder to get people to respond.
While I’m the last guy to argue against some quality time with family and friends, summertime shouldn’t sidetrack your company from its goals. In fact, summer is perfect for getting ahead. Take advantage of your audience’s downtime to tighten up your content marketing strategy and set yourself up for success when they return and start budgeting in the fall and winter. Here’s how:
Check your content strategy for holes and missed opportunities
With a little more time on your hands, you and your team should look for — and repair — holes and other weaknesses in your current content strategy. Go through your content yourself, and get marketing, sales, and account services in on it, too. What content do you not have? What questions from your audience have gone unanswered? What content triggers do you need to address?
On a smaller scale, take time to look through your team’s favorite content and the most popular content among your audience. Update it with fresh information, and check for broken links that could be sabotaging your SEO practices and keeping you from your goals.
Ramp up your content’s editorial calendar
There’s no time quite like the present to start looking ahead and planning topic ideas that you’ll want to address in the next few months. Whether you’re using a content marketing software with a built-in calendar or a simple editorial calendar template works for you (for now), start putting it to use now.
Start putting together your timelines and publish dates, planning the topics you want to cover, and deciding which thought leader will author which pieces. From there, go into the thought leaders’ knowledge banks to start supplementing or outlining the articles with their own ideas to streamline content creation and keep your team from scrambling to create content later.
Perform a content audit
Honestly, you should be doing a content audit every quarter or so, but I understand that things happen. Stuff comes up, and things fall by the wayside. But if you haven’t regularly been auditing your own performance, take a couple of weeks this summer when client response times are slower and you’ve got more room on your plate to dive in.
The goal here is to look at what’s worked well, what hasn’t, and what needs to change. If you’ve aligned your content goals and metrics and your team is tracking your progress, you should be able to see how far you’ve come — and how much further you have to go in the coming months to end the year on a high note.
Create a comprehensive client acquisition strategy
A lot of decision makers in your audience will begin revisiting their budgets and planning for next year in the fall (which will be here before we know it). Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about how you can appeal to them, and demonstrate that you’re the industry expert they need to budget for in the new year.
If you want yours to be a company that wins those partnerships and clients, you’ve got to prepare now. Think of various ways you can create content that nails down the message you want to convey; then, figure out which publications your audience is reading so you can map out where to send your content. Or create an email campaign that pushes a particular piece of gated content so you can get more leads into your funnel. Whatever it may be, prepping this messaging now will give you an edge.
These are just some suggestions on how to react to the summer trend of a slower business pace, but don’t feel like you have to stick to only these. Add to this list by focusing on ways to optimize your content strategy while you have some time. What are some other suggestions you have for improving a content strategy over the summer?
This article was written by John Hall from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.