You have NOTHING to say!
What do people want to know? Is anyone even listening?
Today I’m going to help you create an editorial guide that not only reduces your stress levels, it also helps you achieve your overall goals!
An editorial calendar is more than just a list of your next 10 blog topics. It’s an overview of your plan, your theme, it’s how you lead your audience from one topic to the next. It allows you to plan, in advance, your overall message to your readers and support your larger topics through social conversation. A good editorial calendar can help you gain visibility among your target audience and get more visibility in the search engines. It can also reduce your stress levels tremendously!
Lay It Out
Want to know what I use for my editorial calendar? A simple excel spreadsheet. There are plenty of tools to help you and I even share some of them below but my favorite tool for this is a simple worksheet in excel. I start with a few sections I know I want. These include:
- Date: When the blog post will be published
- Topic/Title: The title of the blog post
- Content Details: Details of exactly what you’ll be sharing
- Category: An overview category of your entire message theme
- Sub Category: Sub categories within your categories
- Keywords: Always be mindful of the keywords you are using!
- Target Persona(s): Who is your target audience? Who will be interested in reading this particular post?
- Offer/CTA: What will the call to action be on this blog post?
- Supporting Media: Will you also be releasing a video on this topic? Sharing photos pertaining to the topic on Pinterest? Maybe you want to create a Slideshare with this content?
- Social Media Narrative: Go ahead and write the post introducing your piece of content for each social media site on which you participate.
No time to create this yourself? Grab a copy of our editorial calendar!
Once you have a frame for your editorial calendar, it’s time to begin determining what to put on it. Do you need to educate your target audience about your product or service? “Education” could be one of the categories. Do you need to offer them step by step direction? Then “How To” could be another category. Do you frequently have new ideas or a different way of doing things? “New Concepts” could be another overall category for your blog.
Once you have a short list of categories for your blog, you can begin considering the subcategories. If Education is one of your categories then some of your posts may need to be about teaching your audience more about what you do. Share with them why it’s important and how your product or service is being used within the industry. Those categories of items you’ll be educating them about will be your subcategories. For example: One of my categories is “How To” so some of my sub-categories include “Content Creation”, “Twitter”, “Facebook”, “Google+”, “Social Media Strategy”, etc. I have this particular blog post already laid out in our editorial calendar so you can review the example.
Next you’ll want to research topics. Look around online and see what others are writing about. Try typing a topic into Google and look at the suggested phrases that appear. In the example below, I typed in “social media” and Google also recommended a few other popular searches for me. This tells me that I may want to consider writing about social media statistics, social media marketing or social media sites in general.
I may want to refine this search since one of Google’s recommendations is “social media sites”. If I type in “google plus” then Google recommends Google plus statistics, analytics and hangouts as some popular search options. This gives me lots of ideas for content! Try it and see what you get!
A few other ideas for finding a great topic include:
Listen to your audience and consider FAQs. What types of things do people frequently ask you? What types of questions have you personally asked about your industry in the past? This can be a rich source for content inspiration!
Ask people what they want to know. Ask your clients what they would like to know more about. Pay attention to the questions your potential clients ask when you’re talking to them. Can you recognize a recurring theme? Is everyone curious about one particular segment of what you do? Write about it! I’ve found over the years that if one person asks the question then 50 probably would love to know the answer!
Pay attention to what’s trending on social media sites. Look at Twitter trends and the trends on Google Plus. You can also go to Google Trends for more current hot searches
There are plenty of ways to find great things to write about. That could be a blog post all by itself! For now, it’s just important that you get started finding a few good things to add to your editorial calendar.
Discussing an editorial calendar wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention titles. Your titles are as important as the content itself. According to this Mashable infographic, Facebook users alone share 648,478 pieces of content every minute! http://mashable.com/2012/06/22/data-created-every-minute/
Still think it’s acceptable to create a blog post with a title like “Apples Are Healthy”? I saw that title many years ago as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed. I have no idea what the article said because I didn’t read it. Would you? Does it offer something you don’t already know? Is there anything there that’s compelling enough to make you click? Of course not! Especially when you still have those 648,477 pieces of content to read!
Every piece of content you write is in competition with millions of other pieces! Here are just a few suggestions for titles that get clicks.
- The Secret Of…
- 3 Steps To…
- Who Else Wants To…
- Here’s How To…
- Little Known Ways To…
- Get Rid Of…
- Here’s a Quick Way To…
- What Everyone Should Know About…
- The Busy Person’s Guide to…
Play around with these a bit or come up with some of your own compelling titles. Create a title that compels your audience to want to know more! The clicks are sure to follow!
Those who know me know how much I love my tools! Here are a few you won’t want to be without as you’re creating your editorial guide.
Quora – A great place to get ideas and see what others are asking!
Google Keyword Tool – Love this one for finding great keywords and seeing how many people are looking for them each month!
Google Trends – Explore trending search topics on Google
Hashtags – Review some of the hashtags for your industry on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. See what others are saying about your topic!
Replyz – Allows you to find questions people are asking on Twitter surrounding your keywords
Content Strategy Generator Tool – This is a great tool that helps you automatically find news and related stories from a variety of sources for the keywords you provide
Listen – You’re NOT Done!
Please keep in mind that an editorial calendar is a living, breathing document. It should always be open to change and you should plan to evolve as your online presence and marketing strategy evolves.
Pay attention to what your target audience is reading. Which pieces have gotten the most traffic, shares, etc? What are others saying about your content?
Once you’ve finished creating your editorial calendar, it’s important not only to stick to it but to continue searching for ideas that will contribute to it in a meaningful way.
Keep track of new ideas you may have for future content. Be prepared to make a change if something newsworthy or relevant happens within your company or industry.
Pay attention to how people interact with your content and how successful it is at driving traffic to your website.
You aren’t done. You’ve only gotten started.
Still have questions? Ideas? Comments? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment here or find me on Facebook.
Or listen to our latest episode on editorial calendars at Word of Mom on Blog Talk Radio.
We’d love to hear from you!