Content calendars sound like a great idea; marketing can lay out some themes over time and create content that covers a range of issues. They then commission writers or other content producers to produce a reliable stream of "quality" content.
But is this the best way to create content that's relevant to your clients? Speaking to sales people, a different stand-point arises when discussing content.
One thing we hear from sales is that the nuances of client's issues are often quite niche. That said, they are also frequently very similar for many prospects at the same time. A good example of this was brought up recently when discussing the public sector. It was pointed out that at large government departments right through to local Councils, there people in very similar roles, often facing near-identical issues simultaneously.
Clearly this means that if content can be produced that addresses the issue of one individual, it'll very likely be relevant to several.
The challenge for large organisations is that the people creating the content cannot easily and rapidly identify the pain and quickly address it, because they do not speak directly to clients. And for the same reason, it is not easy to understand the subtleties.
This lack of information is typically addressed by investing in research, to learn about the nuance. This takes time (and hence requires the Content Calendar!) the output often being a sledgehammer report that is both too long and too late.
The solution is to take the advice offered by LinkedIn and Edelman and by the panel at the recent LMA event in New Orleans. After you get Sales to tell you what they need, rapidly get a relevant expert create short, digestible content. Deliver that back to the Sales team and they will get it in front of the right individual at each account.
Importantly, the reason Sales will get good relevant content to the right people is not because they are asked to, it is because they know they'll close more business.