If you have incorporated an editorial calendar into your content initiative, you’re one step ahead of the competition.
If you’re unsure if the calendar is hurting or helping your initiative, you’re not alone. How can your team be sure that taking the time to create, manage, and implement this calendar is worth the effort?
Follow the tips below, and your content campaign is sure to see success when guided by an editorial strategy.
Tips for Editorial Calendar Success
1. Website Roadmap
An editorial calendar should not be followed until someone has compared it with the “website roadmap.”
That begs the question: What is a website roadmap?
It refers to the architecture of your website. Envision a spreadsheet, and in the very first column it lists every url that is live on your website. In the other columns, it identifies the keyword target for each url, the title tag, meta description, redirects, the number of inlinks and outlinks for a particular page.
Once this website roadmap has been given to everyone on the team, it needs to be compared to the suggested keyword targets for the content on the editorial calendar. If something already exists on the website, and it’s scheduled to be targeted again on a future blog post or article on the calendar, someone on the SEO team needs to look at it.
If the same keyword is targeted across a landing page, an article, a blog post, and a white paper download, this is going to cause havoc on the campaign. Known as keyword cannibalization, it could actually drive search engines away from your content, rather than attract them.
2. Incorporate Keyword Research
While this may seem obvious, many content calendars are created and implemented by a digital marketing team, or a PR team, because the SEO team is gone. Often, the SEO team was hired at the beginning of a campaign and now they have moved on, leaving the content generating tasks to an in-house or virtual freelance team.
For example, if an initial SEO Audit was completed when the website launched or when a new campaign was created, the website already targets the larger, more broad level keywords. The new editorial calendar should be loaded with long tail keyword targets, such as those found with Google Suggest.
3. Several Calendars
If one editorial calendar gives your marketing team a headache, how can you create several? Easy!
This can be set up with one simple whiteboard brainstorming session or conference call. Gather your team around a table with a whiteboard, or on a phone call with a shared computer screen. List every buyer persona that your website is trying to target.
Shoot for a minimum of 3 top personas, and develop a calendar specifically for that persona. For example, Persona #1 is a high-level prospect; someone who leads a company and learns about your product or service through trade shows, networking, or industry groups and meetings. This person is not searching for your product on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The team managing that calendar is now free from the “social sharing” ball and chain. They need to dive deeper into guest posting on relevant niche sites, creating resources for this persona to use once they find the website through those channels.
For example, copy can be created with a soft call to action to capture their email address, such as a newsletter sign up, or a free webinar. Hubspot offers a free template to create buyer personas. Creating content for specific buyer personas on a regular basis will help your team reach their target sooner.
4. Copywriting Partner
An editorial calendar without a proven copywriting partner is a disaster waiting to happen.
If your team has created the calendar but doesn’t have a copywriter identified for each project, how likely is the content going to make it to publication? If your content falls into a unique niche industry, do you have someone on-hand who can deliver an article, a landing page, a blog post, and a white paper, if necessary? If not, your team needs to do a little more research and add that copywriting team to the calendar for future reference.
Have you identified the team member who is going to hold the team accountable for publishing content according to deadlines? What is the consequence if the deadlines are not met? No need to get out the pink slips; you could add some fun to this initiative: The team who hits every publication goal for the month, on time, wins a free lunch, a gift card, cash, a day off, you name it! Make it fun, make it interesting!
Don’t let an editorial calendar become another “checklist” item in your content campaign. Spend some time knocking out these tips, and your team will see positive results that are directly related to the editorial calendar.
Calendar Photo via Shutterstock