Editorial Calendar Provides Focus
Creating a content marketing strategy can be a very daunting task. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a formula for an editorial calendar that has many pieces of a content marketing strategy document. Of course, I continually tweak it. It’s a living document that evolves over time. In this post, I’ll explain the editorial calendar components and why they are essential.
Research: Keywords & Target Audience
Content marketing strategy is meant to provide focus and direction. It sheds light on how to generate content that engages your target market. This assumes you’ve done research on your target audience. Personas — fictional characters of different customer types — also help with that content marketing focus. When you really understand the demographics, mindset and behaviors of your target audience, then you can create quality content that sparks interest and starts a conversation.
In addition to defining your audience, you also need to understand their buying behaviors and how they search for companies like yours. Keyword research can fill in the blanks (e.g., informational searches versus a transactional ones). Keyword research is the fundamental component of creating your online sales funnel and mapping out your website’s architecture. If you don’t have your keyword or target audience research complete, you’re not ready for a content marketing strategy or editorial calendar.
Choose Publishing Frequency
Content marketing is the SEO fuel. The more quality content you publish, the more SEO you build. With each published post, you’re teaching search engine bots about what your website is all about. First, you must commit to a schedule and stick to it. At least, we recommend at least once a week. At this pace, you need to be realistic about the time it will take to build White Hat SEO momentum for your website.
On the other end of the spectrum, posting daily will let Google and Bing know your website really means business. Post multiple times daily, now you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative news site.
Whatever your publishing frequency, stick to a schedule. Try to publish the same day of the week and at the same time of day. With consistency, the bots will figure out how often they need to visit. Reward them with fresh content to index.
Categories & Topics
Most businesses have several different topics related to their products or services. These are the categories for your posts. Think carefully about how you’ll categorize your content marketing. Choose too many categories and the list is long and cumbersome. Too few and it’s not helpful to your reader.
One more note about categories: choose one per post. If the post crosses multiple categories, that’s ok. Just add a few tags, but only use one category.
Content Marketing Strategy Editorial Calendar
Now that you’ve come up with your categories, you can begin formulating your content marketing strategy and editorial calendar. In a spreadsheet, assign one category to a day of the week. Start brainstorming post ideas and plug them into your content calendar. Here’s a template to make it easy:
A Place For Reference Materials
In my spreadsheet, I also have a place to jot down other pieces of information or reference materials. That way, I can refer to key information quickly. This is particularly handy if you outsource copywriting. Here are additional tabs in my editorial calendar spreadsheet:
- Competitor list, complete with links to blogs
- Associations and Organizations for Reference Material
- Keyword List
- Websites and other places to troll for inspiration
One last word of advice as you create your content marketing strategy and editorial calendar. If this document gets dusty with disuse, then you’re not using it correctly. It’s common for me to have this document open while I’m working. I refer to it often — whether it’s jotting down new ideas or a website resource I’ve found.
My editorial calendar continually evolves. What would you add?
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