Corporate communications professionals are jumping on the business blogging bandwagon to drive website traffic, convert leads and grow sales. While they understand the benefits of inbound marketing, many struggle to maintain the steady stream of content required to produce the ROI they expect.
For some help, we can look to professionals in the old school publishing world of newspapers and magazines. Create an editorial calendar to plan your blog articles and social media marketing content.
An editorial calendar acts like a roadmap to help you plan and execute the right content at the right time, and distribute it in the right place for each of the buyer personas you’ve developed.
The editorial calendar will ensure you create and publish content across all the relevant subject areas, in the appropriate and varied types and channels, and for all your prospective buyer personas throughout the buying cycle.
How Set Up Your Editorial Calendar
Follow these steps to set up an editorial calendar (or download one that we use) that will guide and inform your content creation efforts:
- Create an online calendar or spreadsheet that outlines your editorial plans. Include the article topics, content channels through which you’ll deliver them, and the buyer personas. Try to plan at least three months in advance, six months if you can manage it. Depending on your business, you may be able to plan a year in advance but be wary of topics that might go stale and become irrelevant or dated during that long a period of time.
- By reviewing the effectiveness of content you’ve previously published, you can work backward from your marketing goals. If you understand what results the content you publish produces in terms of leads and conversions, you can plan your editorial calendar to do more of what works.
- Fill in the dates on your calendar with the topics, types of content to be produced, and the targeted persona. Review the calendar to be sure you’ve achieved a balance between types of content, such as social media posts, blogs, or e-books, the topics you want to cover, and the buyer personas you want to reach.
- Be sure you include a place on your editorial calendar that addresses the SEO keywords you want to include, the calls-to-action you want to incorporate into the content, and various stages of the buying cycle to be sure you’ve covered all the bases.
- Be aware of what’s happening in the world around you and in your business or industry in particular. Use key events, trade shows for B2B marketers or holidays such as Christmas or Halloween for retailers or, to spur content ideas and to provide an opportunity to leverage content you create around those events.
- Recycling is good. Very good. Look for opportunities to repurpose your content across your various media channels. A whitepaper or ebook, for example, might provide dozens of smaller-sized blog posts that lead back to the original source. Bits of data or factoids might make great teaser content on Facebook or Twitter to guide readers to your website to learn more.
- Create separate tabs or otherwise highlight the various types of content you publish, such as blog posts, ebooks, etc., to ensure you are creating a balanced, interesting context mix.
- Let your editorial calendar be flexible. You may find that some of the blogs you’ve planned become obsolete before you can publish them. This is a normal occurrence that every publisher experiences. A true publisher keeps a few editorial items with a long shelf life “in the can,” ready to be pressed into service on a moment’s notice.
The Beauty of an Editorial Calendar
Working through these processes will lay the foundation for executing an effective, winning content creation and inbound marketing strategy to have leads find you in their search engine results, learn about your company, get in touch and learn more or buy from you. The days of scratching your head and staring at a blank screen wondering what to write are behind you.
While creating enough content to maintain an ongoing inbound marketing program can seem overwhelming, an editorial calendar can help plan your content creation efforts and keep you on the right path.
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