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October 27, 2015 (Updated: February 9, 2023)
If you aren’t up to speed in the blog era yet, it’s probably time you start. Creating a blog for a company or personal site can seem like a daunting task at first, but once you have the basics down and get into a good workflow, you will quickly see the many benefits of creating content.
According to a statistic on Kapost, 85% of top performing companies have a centralized calendar for content production. A blog gives your brand a voice, drives SEO, gives you insight into your audience, and gives your customer base a reliable source for useful information and building their confidence in you. Lets run through a few key practices to creating and running a content schedule.
Before getting started, it is important to sit down and plan out what is needed and who will be contributing to this content schedule. Organization is crucial, and it will aide to the success and usability of the calendar. No matter how big or small the company is, only the organized will succeed. Otherwise, it will just turn into a mess, lacking direction and focus.
Here at CopyPress we have recently tried out a few new communication platforms. Trello has been a fairly impressive tool for organization and project management. Trello could also be a good visibility tool for a content schedule if there are multiple contributors and deadlines. With a simple click of the calendar view you can clearly see what content is scheduled to be published, leave comments, and attach multiple resource sheets to different sections. This is also easy to share with freelancers or content partners if you are outsourcing the content for your blog.
Trello is also easily configured with Google Drive. In order to create a centralized point of communication, it is best to use a process that many are already familiar with. Believe it or not, ole’ Google Sheets has all the necessary functionality that is needed for a successful editorial calendar and is favored by many publishers. The combination of a fully detailed Google Sheet integrated with high level visibility from Trello, makes for a solid and easy to follow process.
After deciding the most useful platform for your content schedule, it’s now time to decide what fields need to be added to the actual calendar. I’m sure you are already jumping to the basics such as title, due date, publish date, direction, resource links, or author.. but for a killer content schedule you’re going to need to think outside of the box.
Don’t forget the important fields that lead to the necessary data you’ll want to collect a few months down the road. Fields such as topic category, tags, and keywords will drive the optimization of the blog and lend itself to a successful report to analyze later on. When you pull the traffic data you will be able to see which topics and keywords lead to better blog activity. It is also important to note what type of content you’re producing. Infographics, long form articles, or e-books will be published less often but will probably receive a larger viewing. This leads us into our next key practice, diversifying the content itself.
Once you have the format of the schedule planned out, now you need to think deeper about the content and delve into what you want to publish, when, and why? This image created from Curata is a great resource to get the brain thinking on a macro level of the blog content.
You want to make sure to follow the basics of this pyramid. The types of content at the top, like eBooks and infographics, will obviously be harder to create which is one of the reasons why you only want to publish them every so often. They also take much more time and resources to create and you’ll want to take your time with them to make sure they provide enough value to the reader that it will end up being a highly shareable piece of content.
Also remember that you shouldn’t publish content daily just to do so, it will mean more to the readers if you put quality over quantity and publish real, useful content. Your followers will increase and your blog will become a more valued and trusted resource.
After all the keyword research, organization, and scheduling it will be time to begin putting the calendar to use. When planning out who will be creating the topics it’s best to not forget about your internal team. Crowdsourcing the ideas to your internal team can generate unique vantage points and also can provide an easy way to spread the work across multiple people.
If your team needs a boost to get started, brainstorming sessions are always a helpful practice. These can be done weekly, monthly, or whenever you feel the blog is in a rut. The juices always flow easier when you can discuss topics outloud and piggyback off others’ input.
Another great way to plan out content is to run through the sales process. What steps and knowledge does the customer need in order to help their campaigns run smoothly. If you can utilize the blog as an information source for understanding your companies value proposition and sales process, then you will inherently make the conversion process more smooth. During this practice, topics should stem from product knowledge, comparisons, purchasing decisions, and the client management processes. Each of these articles should loop back around to your brand and overall goals.
Last but not least, you will want to remember to add your time specific opportunities to the calendar off the bat. These should be scheduled ahead of time so there is plenty of time for quality content. Any holidays, industry events, or newsworthy topics are important to cover in order to gain the trust of your readers. If they trust the rest of your well planned out content, you should be the first place they look to for seasonal, timely topics.
Following these key practices will not make your blog’s rankings skyrocket on day one, but they are going to guide it to become successful. Overall it is important to focus on the organization and well thought out content. If you gear your efforts on those things off the bat it will become easier to not only manage the blog but allow you to gain a solid readership. A solid readership will allow you to become a trusted resource and brand all together.
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