Today is not only Darwin Cup day but is also the beginning of the business phase of The RITE Series project.
Last month we asked for suggestions from you of businesses in the Top End that were doing interesting and effective things with social media and social networking. TerritoryFM even interviewed me on the subject.
Now comes crunch time.
As we move towards the October Business Month keynote address, I am going to start cranking out some material which will ultimately form the content for The RITE Series guide to doing social marketing in the Northern Territory. And for this to happen, I will need a blog editorial calendar. Here’s why and how.
Accountability = Outcomes
Well, I suppose that’s not exactly true. Accountability can lead to either outcomes or guilt but I would argue either of those are better than “blogfade”.
When you have decided that blogging will form an important part of your online marketing (topic to be addresses later in series), it is a great help to plan topics in advance. I find it is an even greater help if I can plan publication dates for various articles in advance to increase my accountability to my business, my marketing, and my target market, by pledging myself to post a certain article on a certain day.
In many ways, this challenge of planning your content in advance is similar to the disciplines needed to run a magazine or newspaper. And that analogy is quite relevant, given that it is becoming clearer and clearer that ALL businesses are (or soon will be) in the content creation business, just to survive (more on that topic later in the series).
Five Step Process: Keywords, Topics, Schedule, Publish, Respond
At its most basic, planning a blog involves five stages.
The first involves researching keywords, phrases and questions most likely to be typed into search engines by your target market (more on that later in the series).
The second step involves brainstorming blog article headlines that marry your target market’s questions with helpful insights or answers. For example, What doctors are open on Sunday in Darwin? If I were running a general practise in Darwin, I would be covering that topic in a myriad of different wordings. I once needed a doctor on a Sunday while in Darwin and it was a long and winding online road to get to an answer. “Our opening hours” does not help much in search (more on this later in the series).
The third step involves scheduling your articles, which I will look at now, ahead of the the fourth step, writing and publishing them, and the final step, responding to comments. I will look at those latter points later in the series.
The Blog Schedule
There are many articles on blog scheduling but, sadly, too few small business people who start blogging go the extra mile and plan their editorial content in advance.
My reason for feeling so passionate about a blogging schedule is that I come from the world of journalism and know what deadlines sound like as they whoosh past. In that world, the sound is often accompanied by an editor’s shrill voice but in your business missing blog deadlines is only accompanied by the slow, seeping drip of wasted energy.
There are a few methods you can use:
- Plan in a diary
- Use a spreadsheet or Word document
- Install an editorial plugin in your website
No matter which method you use, here are the elements to capture:
- Date for publication
- Key points
- Author (if you are blogging as a team)
- Publication time
Another important area to capture in your blog schedule OR elsewhere is a list of possible titles.
From now on, once you embark on blogging, you really must commit yourself to carrying a pad or gadget that enables you to capture blog ideas around the clock. Believe me, you will forget them if you don’t. Most phones these days have note taking areas, please use them, then transfer them to your editorial calendar when you can. We’ll look into more options for ideas later in the series.
WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin
If you are following the ‘chosen path’ and using WordPress as your website content management system (more on this later in the series), you are blessed with a handy plugin that can help you schedule content and adapt your plans easily.
It is called the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin and I am using it on this website.
Here is the tutorial on how to use this free tool.
If you have any further tips for scheduling blog content, please add them to the comments section. Remember, some comments might be used in the final The RITE Series publication in October but full attribution will be noted.