Let’s just start with the obvious: the debate about whether you should be blogging for your business is over.
Websites that blog have 97 percent more inbound links, 434 percent more indexed pages (yes, you read that right), and generate 67 percent more leads than those that don’t.
The fly in the ointment? Coming up with content ideas. Marketers, bloggers, and business owners all struggle with it. Enter the blogging editorial calendar. Ninety percent of marketers use one to help relieve that stress.
How so? I’m glad you asked.
Related Article: Write On: Tips and Strategies to Run a Better Blog in 2016
The Editorial Calendar
A calendar lays it all out. It gives shape to your goals and a cohesive plan. It’s the big picture. Strategy, monitoring, consistency, and collaboration. There are essentials to include. There are templates to get you started. CMSs like Wordpress have plugins to seamlessly add it to your existing blog. Some calendars include little more than the title and date to be published.
Others contain tons of information on everything from who’s responsible for each stage, where it will be published, type, re-posting schedule, keywords, how it ties into the current campaign, and what visual element will accompany it.
Either way, you need to fill it with...things. Fear not. Help has arrived.
10 Things That You Need in Your Calendar
Our appetite for quality content is insatiable. But you need to move beyond the 1,500-word blog post structure. In my experience, you need to include the following at a minimum:
Infographics are the graphic representation of information (surprising, no?). Liked and shared three times more than other content on social media, they’re quick, easy, and visual.
To get started today, check out Piktochart, easel.ly, and Canva. Almost anything can be turned into an infographic.
Nearly 52 percent of marketers consider video the best ROI, “video” in email subject lines increased open rates by 19 percent and click-throughs by 65 percent, it gets a 28 percent boost in retweets over text, and it accounts for 50 percent of all online traffic. You can post to YouTube, stream via Periscope or Facebook Live, or create animated videos using PowToon or Animoto. Embed it on your blog, and write a quick summary or transcript to increase its SEO value.
3. Case Studies
They demonstrate how your business successfully helped a client. They show your product or service in real-world action. Kissmetrics suggests writing about a relatable customer and telling their story from start to finish. The problem, how you came to the rescue, and what long-term impact you had. Use everyday language, real numbers, and keep it reasonably short.
4. White Papers
White papers are the more academic, brainier cousin of long posts and ebooks. They’re denser and more research-backed than other types of content. A white paper is designed to present the cold hard facts to “sell” a prospect on your business...without overtly selling them on anything. Entertaining? Not so much. But a useful marketing tool for those buyers looking to be very well informed.
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5. Memes, Photos, Illustrations, GIFs
We’re visual creatures. Photos get a 35 percent boost in retweets, 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more clicks on Facebook. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Say more with less.
By extension, memes and GIFs are a fun way to add some personality to your business blog. Use them sparingly, but don’t be afraid of them. Giphy and Make a Meme can have you ready to go in minutes.
6. How-to Guides
We turn to the web for everything. When we need to know something or how to do something, we google it. Give people what they want. How-to guides are an increasingly popular and effective element to add to your business blog calendar. They’re great for long tail keywords, present you as an authority and expert, and build loyalty and goodwill with your fans or customers. A strong how-to presents a problem, introduces a solution, walks us step-by-step through it, and summarizes the whole process.
Have some fun and pull back the curtain. People enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at the products and services they use.
BTS can deepen relationships with clients, and humanize your brand. Flight Media suggests including team-building, progress, funny, and personal content in your BTS calendar.
Sites like Listverse and Buzzfeed do very well showcasing little else. They’re short, easy to digest, fun to share, and don’t demand too much of us. Top tens are everywhere. We love lists. A good list article collects the best or worst of something for everyone’s benefit or warning. It does the “hard” work for us: collecting, analyzing, and organizing the data into bite-sized chunks. Perfect for the modern world of instant gratification and short attention spans.
There’s no one answer as to length or structure. Some suggest around 10,000 words. Other examples run less than half of that. Go with whatever works for you, your goal, and the topic. An eBook is a wonderful “bribe” for signing up or opting into something on your website. But it can also be used to expand on a popular or requested subject. Greater detail, more data, excellent visual aids go beyond just making it a long blog post.
A simple audio recording, they’re easily shared, easily consumed (many download to their smartphone or iPod and listen on their daily commute), mobile-friendly, and increasingly popular.
Podcast listening grew by 23 percent between 2015 and 2016. Twenty-one percent of Americans (12 and up) have enjoyed at least one in the past month. Podcast hosting is available on sites including Libsyn, Podbean, and Soundcloud. Embed it on your blog. Include a transcript for a powerful SEO boost. And the best part? You can get started with the existing voice recorder on your phone.
Related Article: How Guest Blogging Can Help You Grow Your Blog Traffic
There are more than a hundred different types of content to fill up your blog calendar out there. These 10, though, will have your readers returning, again and again, to see what you’ve posted next. What’s the most popular content you’ve included in your blog calendar? Share your thoughts in the comments below: