Did you know that B2B marketers who maintain a business blog generate 67% more leads than marketers who don’t?
What’s more, blogs have been rated by consumers as the fifth most trusted source of information on the web and, as such, companies with blogs earn 97% more inbound links.
With that in mind, it’s obvious that building and maintaining a business blog is an important component of running a successful business. Unfortunately, maintaining a blog also requires developing an editorial calendar, which is something many marketers have questions about.
If you’ve never developed an editorial calendar before, read on to learn more about the process and how you can get started.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
Think of an editorial calendar like a road map: you don’t set out on a cross-country road trip without having at least a general idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there and that’s what a road map is for. Much like a road map, an editorial calendar is a planning platform that prevents marketers from feeling like they’re flying blind. When done correctly, editorial calendars can also help you ensure that you’re providing quality content that’s in line with your readers’ priorities, questions, and interests and that you’re publishing it on the social media platforms where they’re most likely to interact.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar
When creating an editorial calendar, follow these steps to ensure that your calendar is intuitive, well-rounded, and functional:
1) Consider your blogging goals
What is the overall goal of your business blog? Are you trying to generate leads? Produce conversions? Promote social sharing? Regardless of what your goals are, the first step in creating an editorial calendar should be framing your goals clearly. This helps ensure that each blog you write is tailored toward fulfilling your larger business objectives. Once you’ve defined your goals, consider which of the following types of content will help fulfill it:
- How-to’s and tutorials
- Case studies
- Research that provides value and education
- Success/failure stories from others in the industry
If you’re like most businesses, it’s likely that several of these content types will help to further your business goals and, as such, they should all be included in your editorial schedule.
2) Brainstorm ideas
Once you’ve decided which direction your blog posts need to go, it’s time to sit down and brainstorm some ideas for your actual content. By using a tool like BuzzSumo, you can find key influencers and discover the most-shared content in your niche, which can help generate topic ideas. This is also a great time to use a tool like Google AdWords to conduct keyword research.
While all of your ideas should further your overall business goals, it’s important to ensure that you’re also focusing on bringing variety into the types of content you’re using. For example, if your audience is interested in inbound marketing and the goal of your blog is to produce conversions, you may offer a mix of “how-to” style articles, interviews, and case studies.
3) Plan for distribution
Now that you’ve developed a list of ideas, it’s time to begin planning when and how you’ll distribute the content that goes along with them. According to KissMetrics, the largest percentage of users (about 70%) read blogs in the morning and the average blog sees its highest traffic numbers on Monday around 11 in the morning.
This is only a baseline estimate, though, and it’s important to look at your blog’s unique metrics and insights to determine when your highest traffic times are. Whatever they may be, it’s wise to plan your publishing with the days and times when your engagement is highest. Doing this will help promote more engagement, more comments, and more shares.
4) Include social media
If you want to gain maximum traction from your editorial calendar, it’s imperative to tie social media into your distribution planning. Collaborative tools like CoSchedule offer social media plan templates that you can customize to your business. These templates allow you to determine which social media platforms your audience prefers and then customize the delivery of your content for those platforms. CoSchedule also offers the ability to combine all of your editorial calendars into one, which makes for easier marketing and more effective publication and distribution planning.
5) Adjust as you go
As you begin publishing according to your editorial calendar, it’s important to ensure that you’re watching your analytics to determine which types of content get the most traction. If patterns emerge and it’s obvious that your audience loves how-to’s but isn’t crazy about case studies, you’ll want to focus more on the content they enjoy. Simply checking in with your numbers and responding to your readers’ preferences will go a long way toward ensuring that you’re creating tractionable content your readers love.
Companies that create an editorial calendar are better able to maintain a consistent posting schedule, plan time-sensitive content, take advantage of social media, and record their marketing efforts.
These advantages, combined with the stress-mitigating framework of planning content ahead of time, serve to make the editorial calendar one of the most important things a marketer can create for a company. For help building and customizing your editorial calendar, contact Bigfoot Media.
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