Pushing content to your online channels, just like those content marketing experts keep telling you to do, but seeing precious little reward for your efforts? Chances are those web pages, blog articles and social media posts have fallen deep into the content abyss! Here's why content capsizes, and what to do about it...
One of the toughest challenges I face when helping clients get to grips with their content marketing strategy is encouraging them to better plan what they’re going to publish, and when. Not surprisingly, those who don’t come from a publishing or editorial background don’t realise that creating and rolling out content across various platforms requires co-ordination, thought and foresight. Without due planning, alas, content plans fall flat – not attracting the right (or any!) audiences, failing to generate search traffic and audience engagement, and ultimately ending up as nothing more than a waste of time and money.
Plus a 30-Day Social Media Content Challenge!
Where Poorly Planned Content Goes to Die
In the darkest depths of the Interweb languish millions and millions of unnoticed and unloved web pages, banished there by poor editorial planning. Here's how that happens:
- Non-editorial folk – like small business owners or business managers – often adopt a nonchalant, over-confident ‘how hard can it be’ attitude to content. Or as one of my clients once brashly put it to me: ‘My secretary can do it’. (Unless your secretary possesses a natural flair for the written word, exemplary command of grammar, flawless spelling and punctuation skills, knows just the right turn-of-phrase to turn on her audience, has a keen eye for design, knows all about search algorithms and is a dab hand at production, I’d say it’s risky!).
- Such folks churn out content in a haphazard, random fashion – goals are ill-defined, there is no overarching strategy to guide that content, and the tactics are vague
- This content tends to be poorly constructed, to boot – spelling mistakes, clumsy grammar and unoriginal ideas helping it fall foul of the all-powerful search algorithms, which are sticklers for correct form (yes, they’re seeking out and rewarding well-produced content, folks!)
- Once content’s created and published, that’s it – no follow-up to check how it’s performing. This can often mean that more of the same shoddy content is pushed out, with the creators wondering why they’re not getting the traffic or engagement they were expecting.
Enter the Editorial Calendar…
Editorial and publishing professionals use a tool called an editorial calendar to plan their publications. Becoming friends with this publishing lifesaver could save your content from sinking forever to the bottom of the internet! Here’s why it helps:
- It sets out an editorial direction – the publication’s aims and goals, look and feel, style and tone
- It co-ordinates content ideas with important dates, events and occasions, ensuring content is published timeously in order to be relevant to audiences (and in an online environment, to capitalise on search traffic related to these occasions)
- It facilitates project management – you can track themes and content ideas, and see what needs to be done, by when and by whom
- It shows up content gaps, so that these weak areas can be addressed
- It enables the development of a sound production schedule, which takes into account holidays (when staff will be away), etc.
- It helps you better plan and allocate human resources and budget
- It ensures a manageable content publishing schedule is maintained – thereby satisfying the requirements of search engine and social media algorithms, and eager human audiences alike, all of which place a premium on quality, fresh content.
Get a FREE Content Schedule Template!
Editorial Calendars, also referred to as content schedules, are a godsend once you’ve find your way around ‘em! To make it easier for you, we’ve created a super-simple content schedule template which you can customise to suit your own particular needs. Or, if that’s still a bit beyond your reach or you simply don’t have the time to get stuck in, give us a shout and we’ll customise it for you!
Here’s what you‘ll get:
- A content schedule template customised to your country – either the Republic of South Africa (RSA) or the United States of America (USA)
- Each region’s content schedule shows important public (state) holidays and events or occasions celebrated there
- A tab for tracking SEO (Blog) articles and one for tracking social media content
- Space to track themes and article titles by month
- Space to track keywords and hashtags to ensure that your content is optimised for search and social
- Space to track author and editorial and publishing deadlines
- A 30-Day Content Challenge – 60 social media content ideas to boost your social efforts!
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