Do you want to create an actionable and organized editorial calendar? Regularly posting blog content on your website is a great way to keep visitors engaged with your brand, even if they don't buy something right away.
How effective are blogs? Well, here's something to keep in mind; companies that add a blog to their website tend to see 55% more traffic than sites with no extra content.
If you want to step up your content marketing game, an editorial calendar can help you reach your goals. Essentially, an editorial calendar is a documented list of all content that will publish to your website and primary social media channels. Most marketers use this tool to plan ahead and strategically release content to their audience.
Here are five tricks that will help you create an effective editorial calendar.
1. Establish your marketing goals
Before you start creating your content calendar, you're going to want to sit down with your team and establish your marketing goals. During this period, you should look at your social media and website analytics to determine what direction you want to move the company in the coming weeks and months.
Goals for brands vary based on their size, industry and budget, but generally, everyone wants to see their business grow. The best way to start the process is by pulling out your customer persona sheets, which are comprised of the profiles of your target audience. The data available from these profiles can help you understand the people visiting your website, subscribing to your email list and following you on social media.
Use what you've learned to jot down ideas that you think will benefit your target audience. Brainstorming is an ongoing process. Expect to write down all of your good ideas in the future, as content planning never truly ends. Your goal is to come up with possible posts that appeal to the different segments of your audience while strategically marketing your product across all platforms.
2. Set scheduling guidelines
Now that you've established your marketing goals and have some excellent ideas written down, it's time to start thinking about your scheduling guidelines. If you want an organized editorial calendar, it's vital that you have structured ideas for the kind of posts you want to publish every week.
For example, if you want to generate more traffic, consider writing one or two long-form posts each week. Posts over 2000 words get more shares and, as a result, are more likely to go viral. Additionally, long posts tend to provide more value to your customers because they contain more information. As long as you're writing well-researched and informative posts, you'll see positive results when publishing long posts.
Color coding your various posts and media styles will help improve organization company-wide. There's a good chance that the rest of your employees will have access to the editorial calendar, so a simple color-coded chart can help make learning the new system easier on your team.
Similar to the other steps of creating a content calendar, scheduling guidelines are bound to change over time. If things need to change, slow, gradual adjustments will help keep everyone on the same page without sacrificing the quality of your blog posts.
3. Diversify your content
When you're brainstorming topic ideas, don't limit yourself to text-only articles. Videos and infographics are popular options and can help diversify your content.
In particular, the need for video content is rising at a rapid pace. Despite the countless hours of content uploaded to YouTube every day, 43% of consumers still insist that they want more videos from content creators. That's your cue to start thinking about ways you diversify your existing posts for your audience.
You could take a piece of written content on your blog and turn it into an interactive video on social media. In the description, link back to the original blog posts. Now, people can decide if they want to read or watch your content, which opens the door for new traffic when consumers find your YouTube channel.
We mentioned that videos and infographics are popular, which means they see plenty of social shares. If a piece of content goes viral, there are over 3 billion active social media users that could potentially end up on your website. Obviously, you won't get all of those people to click on your video, but you can bet that your target audience resides within different communities across all social media platforms.
When you're creating content for your editorial calendar, keep all of these factors in mind so you can reach as many people as possible.
4. Update existing posts
Next, we are going to talk about updating existing posts. A small chunk of your calendar should consist of posts you've already published but need to be updated. There are numerous benefits to repurposing your content. The most important benefit is you're keeping your posts up to date so users will always get relevant answers when they check out your content.
But there's a more technical reason for updating your existing content. Your blog posts from a year ago are probably buried deep in your blog pages. Not only do people have to dive deep to find the post, but if it's not getting any traffic, you could lose your search ranking position for that content.
Updating your posts keeps the content relevant, so new people are always clicking and discovering, which sends positive signals to Google. Consequently, Google bots will crawl your site more often, and you stand a better chance of improving your SEO ranking.
Changing existing content doesn't have to take long, but you should make the changes valuable. For instance, updating statistics on some of your posts will add additional value to consumers researching on your website.
These changes can also improve your reputation as an expert in your industry. Reporters and freelance writers are always looking for up to date, relevant sources on the topic they are covering. If the folks covering your industry use one of your updated posts as a source, you'll likely see traffic funnel to your site from their article.
Start by adding at least one update a week to your calendar. Don't forget to share the new version on all of your social media channels for additional traffic and engagement.
5. Embrace flexibility
Finally, you have to embrace flexibility. Things are always changing across all industries, and sometimes you're going to need to shuffle posts around. Instead of looking at your editorial calendar as something that's set in stone and can never change, think of it as a guided outline.
If you had a repurposing project planned, but a breaking news story just released that's going to affect your industry, you should swap some tasks around and cover the breaking story while it's still relevant.
When you accept the fact that your schedule has some wiggle room, you'll have a much easier time creating and publishing content for your website and social media channels. The purpose of creating an editorial calendar is to stay organized while building a vision for how you want blog posts distributed on your site.
The more time you spend working with a detailed content calendar, the easier time you'll have predicting consumer behavior and consistently creating great posts for your business website.