Picture yourself in line at the hottest new night club in Hollywood. There is a line down the block and a big beefy doorman. You see Mike “The Situation” walk up to the front door, get laughed at by the bouncer and sent to the back of the line. Then Rihanna walks up in hot shorts and the crowd parts for her like the Red Sea. She is immediately ushered through the doors to the VIP section. That packed club is an editorial calendar, the doorman is a publisher and all of the content are the celebrities. On a scale of Beyoncé to Fred Durst, where does your content fall?
Content that Gets Published Today
These are like the Kanye West of content, some people love them, some people hate them, but most people are interested in seeing them. After getting published, the quality is subjective and up to the opinion of the reader. An infographic that takes a complicated concept and uses visuals to make it more understandable is likely to be well received and published quickly. An infographic that is full of subjective information is subject to scrutiny by the publisher depending on whether they agree with it or not.
Listicles have a lot of potential and are the Justin Timberlake of content. People are always happy to see them if they offer something new and valuable to the reader because they are easy to glean information from. However, listicles run the risk of being looked over if they don’t have new, captivating information. Quality listicles are captivating and fun, and offer readers valuable information.
News stories are like the Carly Rae Jepsen of content. They’re on a clock, and will only be hot for a short window of time. Editors want to publish the content immediately before it gets stale. Call Me Maybe was exceptionally catchy, which made it so successful. Similarly, well-written and informative news stories which are able to leverage time sensitivity, are attractive to publishers and are likely to be published quickly. But be careful, because once this content loses its freshness, it’s not worth much and won’t be read.
Content that Goes to the Editorial Calendar
An expert interview is comparable to Jennifer Anniston. It keeps readers interested and entertained and is usually dependable. An expert interview has a good chance at getting published because it offers sound information. Getting placed on the editorial calendar isn’t a bad thing, sometimes publishers want to wait for a higher traffic day to post high profile content.
Because a how-to is usually specific to a niche, it is like Justin Bieber. If a how-to teaches the reader something they are interested in, like hacking an iPhone or making a custom coffee table, then it is going to be a hit. If it’s not what the readers are interested in, then it’ll bust. If whiny, shallow, pre-pubescent music is what you’re looking for then the Biebs is perfect. But if it’s not, you don’t even bother letting the track start. How-tos are published quickly if they are pitched to a site that has an audience that will find the information new and helpful. Know your audience.
Personal stories can be like Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat. They’re dependable and get the job done, but they’re not the first person you try to book an appearance with or push to the front of your publication line. They can be used as fillers when there is a lull in really interesting content to keep current readers content, but are unlikely to bring new ones on board.
Content that Gets Rejected
Basic, informative, paragraph after paragraph articles are like celebutants. They’re a dime a dozen and the club is full of them, so they have little chance of getting noticed. These pieces have no uniqueness and are difficult to get through as they aren’t broken down into sections with easy to read subheadings. They will definitely get sent to the end of the line and are unlikely to see the light of day.
Articles that Barely Reached the Word Count
We all know these pieces: hammered out in under an hour and 506 words long for a 500 word requirement. These underachieving articles are like the guy that just showered, put on a v-neck, sprayed a gallon of cheap cologne on himself and set off for the club. A content-mill piece technically reaches the requirement, just like the bro meets the dress code, but there are a thousand others like it and it offers nothing valuable or memorable. These pieces are unlikely to ever make it past a quick scan by the publisher and will be tossed into the reject pile.
Spam-stuffers are pieces written for the sole purpose of getting spam links live. These are the dirty, druggie club goers. Have you ever read an article about gardening and found a link to Viagra or an online gambling ring? Yeah, me too. They’re certainly good for a laugh, but these pieces are seen for what they are by the publisher, just like the doorman sees the twitchy group wearing sunglasses at 1 am. These pieces won’t be touched with a ten foot pole.
So if you are a writer trying to get into the “club” that is an editorial calendar, keep in mind what kind of content you are writing. Also, be aware of the audience that you are writing for and what kind of content they are most receptive to. Whatever type of content you write, being unique and interesting is always a sure way to get noticed — just like a well-executed hair flip in front of the bouncer.