Developing, writing, configuring and posting content on a consistent basis is one of the most challenging things to do related to inbound marketing. Blogs and other forms of written content marketing are only successful if you make good stuff on a regular basis and spread it evenly over time. If you have ever tried to do this, though, you may have realized that it is much easier said than done. The most common issue is running out of stuff to write about (or at least developing that perception). Other common hurdles include organizing your content, planning it, researching it and finding the time to write it.
This is the Content Authority, and if there is one thing we excel at (we do other things well, too), it’s content. We’d like to share some tips for developing a rock-solid editorial process for your blog- or article-marketing needs.
Whether you are working by yourself or with a team, brainstorming sessions are a good first step to an efficient process. During these sessions, you can generate ideas to write about and make a list of them. As with any kind of brainstorming, in this phase anything goes. No suggestion is too simple or outside the realm of possibility. The idea is to get a lot of ideas to explore further.
Categorize your ideas loosely based on the goals for your blog. In this phase, do not worry about when things will get posted, who will write them, how long they need to be or any of those factors. Naturally, you want ideas that will be received well by your target market, but other than that, don’t stress about the details yet.
The frequency of brainstorming will be determined by how many ideas you are able to generate. For instance, if this is your first session, think of as many ideas as you can based on how often you will be posting content.
If you don’t have an editorial calendar, make one. This is simply a document that allows you to plan what content will be posted when. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with the days of the week. Organize your content based on themes, who is writing it and other elements of the post (i.e. keywords, title, category, etc.).
Take your ideas and further hone them to figure out who will be writing, what specifically they will cover, any keywords they will target, etc. Then plug in your content on your calendar for the days that they will be posted.
For blogging, if you are using a CMS, it is a huge help to schedule your posts when they are finished. Ideally you want to finish your posts several days in advance of them being posted so that while one week’s posts are going out, you can be working on the next week’s posts. CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal all have scheduling features built in.
Get Started Early with Your Editorial Process
Depending on what your industry is, you may have to be more or less proactive on gathering information. Some people blog about what they know or their own primary research, so they may not need a lot of lead time. Conversely, if you are doing interviews or have posts with a ton of research to be done, it’s wise to get started early on those. For posts that depend on outside sources beyond your control, it’s also a good idea to have backup content in case those posts fall through.
No matter how great a writer you are, you will make mistakes. If you are working alone, have someone you know who pays attention to detail read your posts before you put them online. If you are working with a team, designate someone the proofreader for others’ work or have people alternate. The basic idea is to get more than one set of eyeballs on the piece before it goes live.
If you have multiple people working on the same documents, it’s a pain to email back and forth. Not only is it time consuming and cumbersome, mistakes can be made when multiple documents are being sent via email.
Producing good content on a blog is a challenge, but even harder than that is staying organized and maintaining the machine for a long period of time. Many of the tools and concepts mentioned in this post can help ease that process and keep you on track.
What do you use in your editorial process? Have you found that it helps you stay on track with your content production? Let us know by dropping a line or commenting below.