Even if you don’t stick to it 100%, an editorial calendar gives structure and focus to your content marketing strategy. It also ensures your content topics are timely and spread out evenly throughout the year. Seven posts on SEO in two days just because you’re inspired doesn’t mean your audience is as well.
Before you dive head first into a content marketing strategy for your brand, sit down and establish a few very important things. First, why did you decide to create content? What’s your goal? Know your marketing objectives and keep them top of mind as you go through this process. Second, who is your target audience? Have a solid grasp on who you want to see this content and the value you’re offering them. Third, what is your content channel – blog, white papers, video, slideshare, other?
Once you have a solid grasp on why you’re creating content, you can get started with creating an editorial calendar. Here are a few tips to ensure your editorial calendar is thorough and targeted:
- Divide your content into categories: case studies, how-to’s, research, videos, surveys, news from your company, relevant national news, lists, press releases, white papers, etc. Being able to separate ideas into categories will help you organize and provide balance.
- Do some SEO research. Most likely, you know the keywords that you want your content to rank for. Without being too overt, blend those keywords into each content post, ideally in one of the first paragraphs and one towards the end. If you can include it with a link, even better. In your research, you may come across keywords that end up being the base for an entire content post.
- Think seasonally. Even if your brand isn’t seen as a seasonal, it is most likely affected by major holidays or events in some way. Topical content is also more likely to generate more traffic or become viral due to the higher search volume approaching and during the event. If you create a video relevant to St. Patrick’s Day around the holiday, it will see more traffic than one without the holiday reference. On the flip side, the content is not evergreen and technically dies after the event ends. However…
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose content. That St. Patrick’s Day video may have pieces that can be used for future holidays or generalized for another piece. Also consider user-generated content. Especially as a mom-focused brand, there are millions of moms using your product. Get them involved by encouraging them to submit relevant photos or suggest ideas for a new flavor or taste. Not only will it be the base for a content post, but your product team will be interested in what they have to say as well.
- Be flexible. Things come up and you’ll need to add something quickly or push a topic for later. After Vine launched, content marketers everywhere hurried to get their 6 seconds of fame and report back to their audience how it works and where they see it fitting in the world of social media marketing.
- Look into the various editorial calendar templates out there. Each one tracks different information depending on the type of content you’re producing, but be sure the template you choose includes the essentials: post date, author, title, content type, category, tags, keywords, call to action, and due date. Especially if you’re generating a ton of content, the template will keep you sane and organized.
- Reflect on your content after a few months. Which posts did really well? Which ones flopped? Incorporate what you’ve learned into your calendar going forward.
Take some time to think about the quality versus quantity debate. Some people subscribe to the quality way of thinking. That is, they focus on producing well-researched, thoughtful, and lengthy content. On the other end, we have the quantity folks who produce as much content as possible in a week with less focus on the quality. Neither camp is right or wrong. It depends on the goals of your content strategy. If you’re seeking to become a thought leader through your content and grow a targeted following, I suggest the quality route. If you’re looking to rapidly grow traffic to your site, the quantity method might be better.
Regardless of whether your company is a content marketing machine or just getting started, the importance of an editorial calendar remains the same. It keeps marketers on track, consistent, and organized. Of course, the calendar is just one piece of a content marketing strategy. For more tips, check out our white paper, 10 Content Marketing Strategies to Help Brands Reach Moms.
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