Do you write blog posts only when you feel like it? Sorry to have to break it to you, but that’s not exactly a winning strategy. A haphazard approach to blog writing will leave you with a communication channel that lacks the flow and cohesion that would keep people coming to your site. Bottom line? You need to get a plan. And in this case, that means creating a content calendar.
Look to the Future
I don’t need to repeat all the sage advice about setting goals, planning your life and business, or visualizing in advance what you want to happen. Many wise men have elaborated on this theme in creative and helpful ways. My favorite speaker in the personal development arena is Jim Rohn. If you want good counsel on setting your life in order, I suggest you check out his videos on YouTube.
For the purposes of this blog post, let me just ask you a question along these lines: What do you really want to happen? You’re writing your blog content for a reason, whether stated or unstated. And you’re not doing it because you enjoy typing. You want — somehow, some way — to trigger an action by your reader. You want them to become more involved in your content so that they will eventually buy your product or service, or take part in whatever it is you have to offer.
That may not happen with a single blog post. Your reader might have been entertained, informed, or inspired, and your greatest hope is to draw them in for further engagement. So think down the road. What flow of content could you create that would continue to engage your reader and move them to the point of action?
Start a Campaign
Whether you like or not, you are constantly made aware of the political campaigns of major candidates. If you watch any T.V., listen to any radio, read the newspaper, or follow news online, you know that you are routinely bombarded with messages telling you all the great things these politicians will do for you.
What about your product or service? Are you getting the message out? A marketing campaign will help you do that. And your web content — including blog posts, videos, podcasts, web pages, case studies, white papers — should be a major part of your marketing campaign.
The point is that your blog content should align perfectly with your efforts to market your products or services. Piquing the interest of readers should be part of what digital marketers call a “funnel”. I’ll quote digital marketing expert Neil Patel here to give you a better understanding:
“You undoubtedly want visitors on your website to take certain actions. Maybe you want them to make a purchase, sign up, or fill out a form. When someone does something you want them to do, it’s known as a conversion. The visitor converts from browsing to taking the action you want them to take.”Neil Patel, How Marketing Funnels Work
The Editorial Calendar
Believe it or not, as you develop and decide on content for your online presence, you are taking the role of an editor. What does an editor do? Google defines an editor as “a person who is in charge of and determines the final content of a text, particularly a newspaper or magazine”. If you are managing content for your website, you should think of yourself as an editor.
Now, I won’t try to educate you here on the skills and tasks required of an editor. You already have a pretty good idea. But one of the main things you need to do as Editor-in-Chief of your blog content is to plan in advance what you or your writers will write and when it should be completed.
I don’t have to tell you that there are plenty of ways to do this. Use a Google calendar. Put it on a spreadsheet. Write it on a piece of paper. Whatever. Do anything, something, to get your blog post ideas on paper. And do it now — don’t procrastinate!
How far in advance should you plan? Six weeks is a good time frame. Planning for an entire quarter is a good idea. But you should plan at least one month into the future with your editorial calendar.
There are plenty of ideas on the internet for putting one together. Here’s an entertaining video on the subject:
Getting a handle on your blog content is not that difficult — if you have a plan. And you don’t have to knock yourself out. Posting 1-3 blog articles a week is reasonable. And if you stay ahead of the game by writing several posts in advance and releasing them according to your blogging schedule, you will feel that much more in control. Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ve got to take a little time to set up my blogging calendar for the next six weeks. Maybe you should too.