By now, you must have realized that work has to be organized in order to be completed. There is no other way around it. If you happen to run a company blog, time is money and content is king. But, how to use the full potential of both? Your company blog is earning you 97% more links than companies who do not blog. However, those who are reaping the full benefits of blogging have a strategy in place.
Have you planned what you are posting this Monday? Do you know what your company is posting on Christmas Eve? Is your blog ‘just another’ blog, which keeps churning content without targets and goals?
Calendars have been proven extremely useful ever since they were invented in the 16th century. Up until today, the calendar app is a crucial part of any device. Print magazines have been running on editorial calendars for years, making it easy for the office as well as the reader to anticipate what’s getting published next. Take a look at this beautiful calendar template:
Keeping SEO aside, blogs exist to have an impact. Blogs are rated as the 5th most trusted source of information online. Is your company using this platform to solve problems? If not, you need to sit down with your team and design a blogging calendar which plans out content in advance and doesn’t miss out any important events.
Chart out the times when your potential users are active and post accordingly. Content creation becomes a breeze when you have generated ideas in advance. A blogging calendar can save your team from the blank screen syndrome.
To make a blogging calendar, first you have to:
Design Your Blogging Schedule
Decide how often you are going to post on your blog. Consistency is the key here. Successful blogs post regularly and keep consistency, even if they are posting once a month. But while deciding on your schedule, you have to be realistic here. If you are a small business owner and have to do everything from idea generation to content writing and posting and SEO yourself, you can decide on specific days, based on the level of activity of your readers. If you run a big company blog, it is better to post at least twice a week.
Target Your Readers
What purpose does your blog serve? Who do your blogposts talk to? It can be your customers, peers or potential customers. You sure have a company blog, but it also requires a specific niche and a specific taste. If you need help, learn how to define your target market in two steps. The style of writing can be altered a lot once you know who you want to reach out to.
Note Down Your Categories
You have to admit that you define categories while you are writing the post. Start from scratch and define your categories before you write posts. If nothing, it will give you an idea of a topic you can write about. Brainstorm some topics with your team that may interest the reader. If your blog is about jewelry, you can include the categories like hats, shoes, scarves and eye wear. These are broad categories but match the main topic and can grab the attention of a reader.
Think Of Blogpost Ideas
Once you know the main categories, it will be easier for you to determine the topic for each post. You and your team can note down any ideas that pop into your minds, and later shortlist the best ten ideas for every category. Quoting the jewelry example again, here are some ideas that can match the categories:
These posts are not about your company, your motives or your sales. These are simple articles that answer common questions that people ask. Videos, photos and articles on these simple topics resonate with the target audience. The point here is to build trust with your readers first. Once you start brainstorming, ideas will pour in easily.
Mark All The Special Events And Days
This is very important. Depending on your business or not, a blog should have something to say on special days. Note down shows you are attending, conferences you are speaking at, holidays, sale events and a must-have Christmas post in December. If your target audience has a special season, like summer weddings, highlight that and note that as well. Buffer suggests some content that should be planned for a blogging calendar:
There are countless ideas in the field that suggest how to make the perfect blogging calendar, but you will soon find out that every business has to design their own unique calendar that fits all their needs. However, it is easy to insert information and customize a calendar when there is a template available. See how some big names in the industry do it:
Forbe’s yearly editorial calendar highlights the 18 big and recurring features and their days. It shows when the copy and the design will be out in print, when it will be delivered to subscribers and when it will launch online.
Inc.’s calendar shows the most important moments in the schedule of its editorial and magazine schedule. Inc 500 and ‘How I did it’ are some important events in their year, which they put on their calendar. This helps the reader and prepares them for what’s coming in advance. These series are posted a year before, so that sponsorships and ads can be bought.
Vogue’s editorial calendar is the same. They have important dates of prints and delivery accompanied by brief description of content.
The people at CoSchedule keep things old school by writing on paper. They stick color-coded paper on their manual calendar.
Nowadays there are many tools available online that help make your blogging calendar as sharp as possible. An ideal calendar will be shaped by the following elements, according to Postcron:
Here are some popular tools that will help you design your blogging calendar:
This is one of the best and easiest calendar tools available online, for free. You can create a shared spreadsheet and list all the important events on it. Complete with dates, you can insert team assignments, events, publication dates and reminders for everyone to see. A shared spreadsheet has a couple of limitations, but companies can work around that by dedicating an employee to keep the spreadsheet up to date and inform others.
Kapost is the software that supports big names like CBS, Cisco and Content Marketing Institute. It is one of the largest and best blogging calendar tools. You can internally categorize and search your content and the software supports a large team base. It is specifically helpful to larger companies that need to post frequently. Kapost can track your workflow and highlight it from strategy till execution. It also includes social publishing and analyzing. All this efficiency comes for a heavy price- starting from $3500/- monthly.
If you run a blog you will know that relying on sheer memory is not enough. WordPress drafts also don’t indicate when they should be published, so users of this particular Content Management System can install the WordPress Editorial Calendar extension and organize all their work in one place.
The post ideas can be written in a calendar form, and you can easily drag and drop them, depending on your dates and times. If you need to edit drafts, you can click directly through the calendar! It is a wonderful tool for WordPress users with smaller teams, but for larger and robust teams, its social media posts are limited.
If you need help in making a calendar that can accommodate frequent content marketing updates, try DivvyHQ. It is specifically designed for companies with a high volume of data. Their current customers are big names like Toyota and Sprint. The calendar of DivvyHQ is in the form of a dashboard, with things to do neatly listed. The number of calendars you can make is unlimited.
If your company has a workflow process that needs to be organized, Trello is your software. Trello is a lifesaver for many companies, because it makes a great editorial calendar tool. The price is affordable ($25/month) and the template is quite easy to navigate. You can add the team to the boards and share information with the team, staying on the same platform. Some features make calendar-making fun in Trello. For example, you can color code the tasks and even ‘like’ a card.
This all-in-one marketing solution boasts that it has the only best blogging calendar that suits the digital age. ContentDJ handles the content marketing lifecycle pretty well and users can track and plan content well. There are social media optimization options too, and the dashboard-style helps in placing content where it should go according to the calendar. The price is $29 a month per user.
Social Cast is one of the most innovative and brilliant tools to make a blogging calendar. VMWare’s ‘enterprise social media network‘ SocialCast, is a great way to create products, assign tasks, track task progress and collaborate with a team. It can revolutionize the way you manage a blog. Pricing starts at $3 per month. The easy interface makes commenting and leaving a note as easy as commenting on a Facebook post.
It doesn’t matter whether your business is big or small. To accomplish your goals, you have to work as a team. The last thing you want is the time investment going down the drain. That’s why, you need to adopt some measures to help your team understand the need of a blogging calendar.
This post will hopefully help you out in devising a blogging calendar for your company. The purpose of a calendar is to organize and simplify your publishing routine, not to get it stuck. A blog is a dynamic platform, which needs optimization to yield results to gain traffic and social media attention. Keep in mind to assess your content every 30 days, and make changes to the calendar based on a trial and error method, since internet trends change in a matter of days.
The blogging calendar can serve as an important marketing strategy and pay your business for the right investment of time and money. If you have been using a calendar, you will agree that it helps in shaping content and repurposing old content as well.
Which calendar tool do you use? If you have any more tips on managing a blogging calendar, leave them in the comments below!
Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.