Do you struggle with posting content consistently to your website? You’re not alone! Posting blog content regularly promotes good SEO and drives traffic to your site, but many small business owners struggle to keep up given all the hats they’re wearing. Organization is key when it comes to staying consistent with your messaging and that is where maintaining a comprehensive editorial calendar comes in. When done right, editorial calendars help keep your thoughts and ideas organized in a way that coordinates the content you are sharing with your audience and takes the mental load out of figuring out what to post each time.
Why do you need an editorial calendar?
There are many benefits of having a company blog, including ranking better in SEO, educating current and future customers, and imprinting your brand personality on your target audience. But you need to stay on top of posting content if you want to maintain these benefits. Using an editorial calendar (often shortened to “ed cal” in marketing lingo) helps organize the details of your content marketing by identifying:
- who will be writing and posting the content for a specific post
- what the post will be about
- where the post will be published and promoted (e.g. blog, social media, email blasts)
- when you will have it written and posted
- why you are posting the specific content (the long-term strategy and big picture)
Before you create your ed cal there are several things to consider.
The first step in developing a content marketing strategy is to identify how often you would like to be posting. Whether it’s weekly, bimonthly, or monthly, consistency is key. It is better to post once a month rather than four times in one week and zero times the rest of the month. Be realistic about the amount of time and energy you or your staff will be able to devote to writing and posting to your website.
It is next important to identify who your audience is. This will help you determine what content you want to curate and focus on. If you don’t already have a well-defined target audience, get started by identifying major characteristics of who is currently buying your product or service, who you want to be buying your product or service, and who you want to connect with strategically.
Now that you know who you are writing to when your write your posts, it’s important to identify what you want to say to them. Remember that while the overall goal of blogging is to convert website visitors into customers, you do this through smaller goals including:
- introducing your products or services
- sharing the benefits and unique advantages your brand provides
- educating your target audience and showing off your expertise
Come up with 5-10 general categories that your audience would find valuable, then brainstorm specific post ideas from those categories. For example, if you own a skincare company your categories may relate to new product releases, products for different seasons, skin types, general skin care, gift ideas, etc. From that list of categories, you are then able to write posts that speak directly to those topics.
Need a jump start? Check out our post on blog ideas that apply to any company.
Editorial calendars also help you plan ahead for seasonal or holiday content. Opportunities for business-specific posts include holiday sales, seasonal products, seasonal topics within your industry, and other special events related to your business.
Now that you know what your want to say, who you are saying it to and how often you will be writing and posting, it’s time to develop an editorial calendar.
What goes into an editorial calendar?
There are different applications you can use to create an editorial calendar, but for most small businesses getting started, a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet will suffice.
A robust editorial calendar includes these categories:
- Date to write the post by
- Date to publish the post
- Author (who on your staff will write it)
- General topic or category being covered in the post
- Blog title
- Description of blog
- General notes
- Targeted keywords
- Internal links to include in the blog
- External links to include in the blog
These are up to your discretion but having—at minimum—an outline of what you will post and when helps streamline your content marketing and keep your posting on track. This format allows you to see when you are creating/publishing content—and what it’s about—very clearly so you can keep the big picture in mind, plan ahead, and stay on track with your posts.
Do you need more help with your blog than an editorial calendar can give? We help many small businesses keep their websites fresh and SEO-friendly with regular blogging. Reach out today to chat about what we can do for you.