What separates most amateur bloggers and ineffective small business blogs from the truly elite ones?
Are you constantly struggling and frustrated with your ability to “find” time in a hectic schedule to come up with blog topics and then write the posts?
Well good news…you’re not alone. And, more importantly, there is a solution.
The solution is to LEARN FROM THE PROS. Specifically, learn how to build an editorial calendar that will keep you and anyone you write with accountable and on schedule. Creating an editorial calendar will accomplish several important keys:
- Increase Readership – your post quality will increase due to the fact that you are researching topics ahead of time and not simply “flinging” content into the wind. Your posts will be more refined, focused and will have more impact. Plus, you will write more frequently, guaranteed. Combining these two factors will quickly manifest in a traffic increase. Tip: annotate on your Google analytics when you first begin your editorial calendar… 6 months later you will be able to measure the impact specifically.
- Increase Revenues – Hubspot, perhaps the industry leader in cheer-leading “inbound” marketing tactics such as blogging, published research showing that there is a “direct correlation between blog post frequency and new customers acquired.”
- Increased Search Rankings – this is a no-brainer. More content equals more pages indexed and for long tail searches, you might even see multiple posts indexed highly, depending on your target market. More content will give readers more opportunities to share, digg, and most importantly, link to your content which will be highlighted for parts of the search algorithms that stress social signals.
- Builds Structure into Your Creativity – if you are in the habit of creating content on a regular basis, you will probably notice that your inspiration to write comes in waves. This is actually quite common and writers will get fixated on a specific topic and pound out several pieces of content all at the same time. The structure of a calendar won’t handcuff your creativity, rather it will channel it to ensure that you are covering a wider spectrum of topics regularly.
- Save Buckets of Time – time…it’s our most valuable asset. Editorial calendars get you past the single most time consuming hump that most writers experience: coming up with a topic. It won’t be long before you realize just how much time you are saving by NOT staring at a blank screen and racking your brain for the perfect title…instead you will have decided on that title weeks or even months in advance and know that your topic de jour was based on search trends and research.
Editorial Calendar Tools and Best Practices
Scheduling is pretty easy and there are many free tools that will suffice. I use Google calendar – it’s intuitive, easy to share with contributors. Plus, Google calendar’s agenda view gives you a great list of upcoming posts.
Not a Google calendar user? You will find many editorial calendar plug-ins are available for WordPress. Start with a quick search in the plug-in directory for “editorial calendar”. You will find a great option that blogging “high rollers” like Brian Clark from Copyblogger highly recommends. It’s simply called “Editorial Calendar” and here is a direct link.
It also helps to have a spreadsheet or document that outlines slots for each post. Here is a basic example: