To blog, or not to blog: that is the question. Ok, maybe not the question- but definitely one most organizations ask themselves at some point. Starting and maintaining a blog can feel like a daunting task, but our very own Drew DeBoy provided a very helpful road map to pave the way during a recent ‘Box Lunch. He walked attendees through the process of creating an Editorial Calendar and shared practical tips for how to get started with content creation.
The first thing to do when creating an Editorial Calendar is to establish goals for the content related to the audiences you want to reach. Are you looking to increase pageviews? Demonstrate expertise? Share relevant work examples? Setting goals keeps you focused on what you want to accomplish when sharing content with the online world.
Once you’ve established the “why” of your content, consider some of the tactical elements, such as authors, frequency and delivery, as well as how the content will be promoted. When thinking about authors, leverage the interests and expertise both from within your team and guest authors – people that partner with your organization, industry experts, etc. Make sure you set reasonable deadlines around the frequency of your postings, and always plan ahead for time-sensitive posts like news and events. Keep posts interesting by including visual elements like charts or video, and be sure to utilize relevant social channels to promote your content.
What to Write About
There is, as Drew calls it, a magic potion to deciding what you want to write about. You don’t want every post to be about work examples, nor do you want to post only in response to current events in your industry. The biggest challenge is sitting down to create your list of topics, but once you get started, you’ll see how quickly you can come up with several ideas. Some things to take into consideration:
- Expertise: those subjects you and your team have authority in
- Keyword research & analytics: stay far away from keyword stuffing, but instead use keyword research and analytics to identify themes you may have missed, and see what types of content have had success in the past
- Social engagement & industry trends: respond to what are your audiences are talking about or asking about
- Culture & events: what experiences can you share with your audience? Preview or report on an event that your team attended, sponsored, etc.
Lunch attendees asked questions about how to build a team of writers, as well as examples of goals to set. To get your team interested in blogging, especially for individuals new to writing, Drew suggested working with them to brainstorm topics that they would be comfortable with or interested in writing about, or even consider interviewing them about a specific topic they can speak to, writing the post and then having them edit or review together for clarification and accuracy. Be sure to give ample time for writing and editing.
When setting goals for your content, start with a process goal, not a traffic goal. For example, set a goal of posting once per week instead of a goal around getting “x” number of new blog followers by the end of the month. After sticking to your goal of posting once a week for 2-3 months, you will be able to review analytics to see what content is/isn’t getting engagement and adjust your goals/topics around actual data.
In case you missed the lunch, you can find a sample Editorial Calendar here. Drew did a great job de-mystifying the process of starting a blog and maintaining it with interesting, relevant content that your audience can engage with. Happy writing!