How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Business Blog
Unless you’re the marketing director, it’s likely that you will need to work with someone to create the editorial calendar, especially if you’re a freelance blogger for business.
Because it can be difficult for others (especially when they aren’t your employees!) to deliver content when asked, getting them involved in a planning meeting for the editorial calendar can be a great way to motivate them to deliver. It’s one thing to ignore repeated requests from a fellow employee, but if a person has agreed to do something in front of a group of employees, and possibly their boss, it’s more likely you’ll get the information you need, when you need it. And if not, at least there’s a paper trail of accountability.
But before we even talk about an editorial calendar, I want to emphasize that you and the client or team put together some sort of style guide. Agree what isn’t ever going to get posted, talk about the style and tone of posts (as they might be different for each category) and decide which employees will be involved and those who won’t. Make sure that someone will be the gatekeeper of the blog, otherwise known as the editor.
This is something to stress to your team/client. I advise strongly about letting anyone post without some sort of oversight. You can certainly empower a hand-selected team of bloggers within the company, but just opening it up for any employee to directly post is dangerous.
I don’t want you to think that I am trying to restrict who in the company can blog. Absolutely not! I am only saying that it needs to have at least one set of responsible eyes on it before it gets posted. Plus, Jim from the mailroom has no idea how to use WordPress and create effective tags. As much as blogs are immediately changeable beasts, it’s best if the blog gets posted as perfect as possible. Hopefully, when you post that link on your other social media accounts, many people will click on it and read your post. Clients and managers alike will sleep easier knowing that a responsible person is in charge of the process.
This is also the time to create a blog and social media policy and set of guidelines that need to be strictly followed by all employees. Blog posts live forever, and once it has been picked up by a search engine or a news-aggregate service, any potential customer or employee can find and read it. Even if posts are deleted, they can still live on in archives online, and haunt a company for years. By creating a policy and policing the guidelines, you can avoid most mishaps of this nature.
So, when you’ve got the team together, in one room or virtually on a webchat, start the content planning:
- Look at broad subjects that your company is focused on. These can form content funnels for many other topics.
- Look at who your target audience is—maybe you have several.
- Look at a timeline for your service or product that can be broken down into blogs, whether it deals with production, customer or sales cycle or project process.
- Decide on what type of blogs will work well with the company and the content you can produce. Decide if you want how-tos, customer interviews, CEO posts, and so on.
- Look at regular features. Perhaps on the first day of every month you post a blog on a specific topic, or every Tuesday you post a Tips blog.
- Look at the time of year. There are many businesses that have seasonal offerings or tie-ins, and others that don’t can use the seasons to pull in blogs about people and community.
- Frequency: This can be fine tuned as the input starts pouring in. If you have a number of volunteers to write content, you can easily post more than once a week—if they stick to the calendar. I would recommend to start with an aggressive posting schedule at the launch to get some traffic flowing and the search engines to notice the blog (especially if it’s a hosted blog), then taper down to less posts if necessary.
After you get this groundwork done, you can start dialing down and create an actual list of blogs to be written. Include a section for assigning the writer and the date for posting. Of course, this could be improved for your specific circumstances—especially if you have a lot of contributors, as you’d need a column for their due date for turning in their content.
You could also use online tools, like Google’s Calendar or even two free plugins on WordPress to organize your deadlines, editors, bloggers and topics. You don’t have to be restricted to a document to organize this editorial calendar.
For more tips on how to create an editorial calendar or organize your business blog to maximize its effectiveness, contact us here at Either/Or Media. Also, consider signing up for our online class on blogging for business when it starts in the fall at UC Irvine. You can be anywhere in the world and still take the course!
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