Your great ideas and powerful products aren’t much use until the wider world knows about them, and organic traffic generated by content is one of the most cost effective way to get your message out into the world. It’s not really ‘free’ traffic, because you’ve invested time and energy deciding what to write and then writing and promoting it (or you’ve paid someone else to create it for you), but it is the best place to start and an important thing to keep doing.
Why Invest Your Time or Money in Producing Content for your Website?
- Content keeps your website fresh, and visible to Google and other search engines;
- Fresh content helps prospects learn more about you and your business so they start to know, like, and trust you;
- Articles let clients keep up with your new initiatives and leads to more orders from them;
- People you’ve never thought of reaching out to are looking for answers that your content provides – you never know who you’ll meet!
- You will learn what people are looking for, so if you decide to run paid ads you can target them more successfully and generate a greater return.
Like any other ongoing task, it’s important to make your content creation plan easy to follow through, otherwise it won’t get done. An editorial calendar is a very effective way to do this because it lets you plan your topics in advance and tie them in with your marketing calendar.
Whether you’re a solopreneur taking care of your content creation and marketing as well as your core business, or a larger business with different departments responsible for your different activities it’s important to keep a big picture view of the overall scenery.
In terms of your marketing and content, it makes sense to link the content you publish each month both to the core topics of your business and to any campaigns or promotions you are running because this helps you get more visibility and mileage out of both of them.
How does this work?
Well, imagine you are a business coach, and you are planning on running a 1-day Business Strategy Accelerator Course in November to help businesses get all their New Year planning done before the Christmas rush. You want to plan your emails, blog posts and social media to promote your course so that they start going out 6 weeks beforehand, with reminders up until just a few days before. If you work this out then you won’t find yourself frantically trying to fill seats at the last minute, and it also won’t clash with your other offerings so you won’t be inundating your list about 5 things simultaneously.
If you look at most company websites (my own included) you’ll see that sometimes there are gaps where no content is published. That’s because we all get busy with other tasks and get distracted. An Editorial Calendar is one way of making it easier to keep the content flowing because you only have to write the content, not think about what to write.
Your Editorial Calendar is also a good place to keep your planned social media posts as well – both those promoting the blogs and other content pieces you publish, and the ones promoting your products, marketing campaigns and special offers.
One initiative that I’ve encouraged a few of my clients to add to their social media posts is a ‘spotlight on a valued client’ each month: this might be a tweet or Facebook post highlighting something on a valued client or supplier’s website, or simply telling people why you like them – it’s a way of adding value to your network, as well as saying thank you by promoting your partners.
Having an Editorial Calendar doesn’t tie you to only posting a certain number of times each week or month, but it does mean that you have a minimum to fall back on.
How Do You Set Up An Editorial Calendar?
I believe in simplicity. Below you’ll see my Editorial Calendar for a dental practice – just a simple spreadsheet with a separate sheet for Blogs, Social Media, Newsletters, and Emails. On each sheet (except the Newsletter) there is a column for each week, and a final column for the monthly theme. The newsletter sheet outlines all the sections of the newsletter and what they will be about for that month. The newsletter takes its theme directly from the marketing campaign (although it is not a sales newsletter). As you can see from the picture below, I know exactly what I’ll be writing about each week, so I can start collecting information and resources in advance.