With the exception of corporate blogs that do little more than pickups of press releases and product promos - blogging is hard. Very hard. It's all about tempting visitors to subscribe through great content.
Not only do you have to understand your target audience and write posts that connect their needs to your client's product or service, but you have to write A LOT, especially if content marketing is a priority and your goal is one to three posts per week.
Many people simply conjure up a post idea when they are ready to sit down and write - clients and PR pros alike - but I'd like to share a better strategy that will amplify the level of your posts. It involves something you probably already work with on a regular basis: the editorial calendar.
For magazines, an editorial calendar is indispensable. It outlines the topics in each issue and their print schedule - telling us, as PR professionals, exactly when and what to pitch that magazine.
"As editor of a magazine with a very specific audience - commercial real estate - our editorial calendar is a great way to do long-range planning and solicit ideas from other sources. It also ensures I don't write about a certain subject too often," shared AZRE Editor Peter Madrid. "If I write about something more than once, I track who I used as sources and make sure I 'spread the wealth.'"
Apply The Same Magazine Tactics to Your Blog
How does this thinking apply to a blog? It puts the same long-range planning and strategic thinking in place. Plus, the very process kicks your brain into high gear. You'll surprise yourself with the fantastic post ideas you come up with, and your clients will notice the difference.
CONSIDER WHAT THIS CAN DO FOR YOUR CLIENT'S BLOG. After all, magazines do them for a reason, right? And a blog has a lot in common with a magazine - they are both content publishing tools. When you sit down with your client or account team to work out a blog editorial calendar, it forces you to think strategically, with mindful purpose and intent.
Without these things, your blog posts can be arbitrary and off the mark. There is nothing worse than investing a year into your client's blog, only to find out that it doesn't resonate with its target audience and it isn't driving results. This can cost you a client very quickly.
10 Questions to Consider as You Create Your Own Blog Editorial Calendar:
- Who is my audience?
- What interests them?
- What are other blogs in the same category or with the same target audience writing about?
- What are the trade pubs writing about, and what's on THEIR editorial calendar?
- What industry news/posts are shared and retweeted the most?
- What are my client's competitors writing about?
- What topics are tradeshows covering in their workshops and round tables?
- What trends are your client's seeing?
- What types of articles interest your clients?
- What pubs do your client's read, and what are THEY writing about?
It doesn't matter if your blog editorial calendar is a casual list of bullets, or more formal via a WordPress Plug-in or a fancy document that your graphic designer made pretty: the point is to have it and to follow it. And to have done a good job creating it, of course.
Done right, a blog editorial calendar cements your strategy and simplifies things enormously. Speaking from experience, it's much easier to sit down and write a post when the headline is already chosen, instead of sitting down with a blank brain and trying to generate brilliance. It also makes it easy to write posts that hit your different blog categories, so the content is well-rounded.
It keeps your interest high, it helps you avoid being burned out with no ideas on what to post, and it can take those posts from blah to incredible with only a few hours of effort.
My own ed cal only took two hours to create - and it is FANTASTIC. My work is so much easier!
Give it shot and tell me how it worked for you.