The biggest mistake you can make on your blog (or your podcast or YouTube channel or your app) is to turn it into a hard sales machine. Blogs have a clear purpose to give readers a reason to come back, so they can start to trust and like your business.

But if you want to increase your client acquisition, you can’t just start writing what comes to mind today. Instead, plan ahead, so you can take readers on journeys that lead to sales.

Plan Your Campaigns Before You Plan Your Editorial Calendar

For your blog to bring you sales results, it has to get people excited about your type of service and the results you can deliver. To do that, you need to figure out what you’re selling.

Let’s say you’re an insurance broker. Look at the year ahead and think through what kind of policies you can focus on selling every quarter. For example, you might want to feature title and home insurance at the middle of summer which is the peak home-buyer season.

As summer winds down to fall, you may want to focus on selling life or disability insurance, playing off the start of a new school year and the parent’s desire to always have the ability to care for their children.

Simply advertising on Facebook no longer works. Prospects don’t have a chance to get to know you this way, so they don’t have a reason to trust you.

Develop the kind of content that will help you earn the customer’s trust and drive sales.

Develop an Editorial Calendar that Supports Your Campaign Goals

Now that you know what your goals for the year are, you can start planning content that prepares prospects to purchase.

Develop an Editorial Calendar for Other Businesses’ Audiences

Even if you’re already practicing content marketing, referral acquisition and customer retention, there’s a good chance marketing your business like a movie star will bring better results than staying in your own corner of the Internet.

The first thing you need to do is to build collaboration and show up in front of other people’s audiences – collaborate with realtors, senior health clubs, title and escrow companies, etc.

Let’s say you’re preparing the fall editorial calendar and you want to make sure you can sell enough policies that season.

Develop blog posts for parenting blogs about planning for your children’s future, health blogs about how to prepare your family in the event of a work-inhibiting disability (and how to avoid work injuries).

Get parents inspired about caring for their family without directly pitching your policies.

If you plan ahead, you can make sure your content appears on multiple platforms at the same time. At the bottom of your guest posts, you can usually include a link to your website, where they can find the info they need to get the coverage they need. It takes several touch points to convert most prospects. If they gradually see more and more content about your topic around the same time, you’ll create a buzz that will pique their curiosity.

The more you plan ahead the more you can do that for every quarter.

Develop an Editorial Calendar for Your Own Audience

Now that you’re focusing on referral acquisition and customer retention, you need to take care of your own website and mobile app as well.

The process is pretty similar to the one you use for other people’s audiences – plan your campaigns, then develop content around them – but there’s a twist.

For most businesses who are just getting started with content marketing, the majority of leads and referrals will come from the buzz they create on other people’s platforms. But referral acquisition and customer retention doesn’t happen without an incentive.

So, to get started, you’ll want to create free guides, reports, ebooks, or courses to give readers a reason to subscribe to your blog. Depending on what you’re selling, you might want to create a new one for each campaign, or you could create one resource that will be relevant to prospects no matter which campaign they’re interested in.

Next, remember that once you’re successfully developing your own audience this channel, you’ll get readers who expect more high quality content from you. Again, plan your content according to your campaigns.

In the weeks leading up to a campaign, concentrate your posts around that campaign’s topics. Sprinkle some case studies in your blog posts to get readers to connect with you emotionally through your customers’ stories. Do that at the right time, and you won’t only increase your leads. You’ll start getting more referrals of other interested prospects along the way and, eventually, increase sales, too!