Starting or running a blog can be fun, in a scaling Mount Everest kind of way. It start off lovely, and fun, but about half way you are probably exhausted, short on oxygen, and wondering whatever made you think you could handle this.
Before you know it every idea, conversation or e-mail can be blogging fodder, and other teams in your organization think it would be great if you wrote a piece that supported say a customer service initiative, or a community building initiative, or if your blog was the mouthpiece for the company, or a sales tool or could be used to showcase past projects and so forth.
Your blogging calendar is like your rope (keeping you on track)
In a well-rounded content strategy, the essential pieces include your blog posts, e-books and guides, perhaps some webinars or product demonstration, maybe whitepapers if your industry permits, e-mail drip campaigns and e-mail newsletters. There’s a lot to keep track of and using the right rope can help keep you on track.
An editorial calendar helps you map out all these pieces and how they all work together cohesively. But sadly, if not well-planned out, the editorial calendar can be a vulnerable document. The rope you are using will depend on how much content you juggle, the scale of mountain (or noise in your industry) and the goals of your blog. After a week or two of planning it all out, you can find it useless or irrelevant in the company’s marketing plan. Here are a few ideas to give it some armor to stand a fighting chance.
1.Do not plan your editorial calendar in a silo
Your blog does not operate in isolation; it’s a component of sales, marketing, customer service. Your content calendar should not operate in isolation neither. Include key events that you’re taking part in:
- Is there an upcoming conference your team will be attending or presenting at?
- What is the typical sales cycle that you may need to pay attention to?
- Are there any changes to the product?
Incorporate these pieces when planning because it will save you the confusion of putting together last minute pieces for blogging or e-mailing, and then coming back to the drawing board to find out how they all fit.
2. Flesh out all aspects of your buyer persona
Nothing sucks more than not attracting the right traffic, perhaps maybe no traffic. It is hard to watch all those hours of content being put in to attracting prospects in the wrong industry or who are not sales qualified leads. This will lead to –you guessed it, yet another overhaul of the editorial calendar because probably the content or the keywords you are using don’t quite fit.
The customer persona should dictate all content marketing efforts, from creating offers that resonate, to using the right language to attract and pull in leads. If it is incomplete or targets a non-descript persona, you’ll find yourself coming back to the same problem again.
3. Plan a promotion strategy
The absolute worst thing for a writer is writing to a silent room. Without a promotion strategy, you can bet that more times than not it will happen. Tweeting is not enough, sharing it on your LinkedIn profile might also fall short of attracting enough traffic. Think about sharing it in places where it will be most relevant, such as in the context of a reply to a question on LinkedIn groups, as part of a guest post that ties in relevant content form your blog.
In retrospect I would advocate planning a promotion strategy before you write content by figuring out who you are trying to reach and how you will get to them.
4. Creating a different piece of content each time
Don’t get me wrong, I love content creation, but if you want to get more wear from your efforts I advocate re-purposing content either for different content efforts. For example: pulling chapters from your e-book to give your blog readers a sneak peek, or re-purposing some blog content into your drip campaign.
5. Not allowing room for flexibility
Is your blogging calendar good at bending to suit demand? I would advocate not planning too far ahead but instead having some drafts of evergreen posts just in case, and a tab on your blogging calendar for future ideas that need to marinate.
Scaling a mountain ain’t easy, but the view is sure to be phenomenal
These are the lessons I have learned from creating and managing an editorial calendar. If you have any tips on creating super strong editorial calendars please share.