These handbooks are part of a series from Path2Parenthood designed to educate individuals, healthcare professionals, the media and the public at large about the reproductive health issues of transgender men and women. In 2015, I wrote a similar piece for people living with HIV. I interviewed physicians, scientists, nurses, and transgender men and women to get the facts and to find the right language and tone.
Your content – Web site, blogs, social media posts, videos, white papers, case studies, customer testimonials – is your most important marketing asset. By keeping it updated and using best practices for “in-bound” marketing, you can use your content to tell, and sell, your story.
Here’s a spring refresher course:
Make a plan. Ask the questions: How much time will it take? Who’s responsible? Do we need to get outside help? What marketing goals does it support?
Mark your calendar. An editorial calendar will help you stay focused and keep from repeating yourself. Create a content timeline. Do it at least quarterly.
Get smart. Deliver content that is relevant and makes your reader more intelligent.
Create and curate. Keep up with what’s trending in your industry and develop content around it. Or quote and link to other sources.
Tell a story. Make an emotional and personal connection with your reader. A story can help you engage and inspire action.
Keep it short and sweet. Write in an approachable way and break up your content with subheads, graphics, photos, etc.
Get to the point. Keep the most important things at the top. Readers will drop off, so get your message across as quickly as possible.
Mix it up. Employ a variety of content types to engage different audiences. Podcasts, videos, social media to link back to your blog, your Web site, and your YouTube channel.
Know your SEO. For the best results, use SEO tools to organize, analyze, and act on your SEO keywords. If the search engines can’t find you, what’s the point?
(Don’t) forget about it! No matter what type of content it is, update it periodically to keep it fresh.
You survived the holiday hysteria. You’ve been shoveling snow like a trouper. But now that it’s February, and the year’s well underway, have you updated your content editorial calendar? Do you even have a content editorial calendar?
If you answered ‘no’, I feel your pain. My New Year’s resolution for the past three or four years has been to start blogging regularly. As someone who writes for a living, I should be doing that, right? (The cobbler’s children have no shoes.) I’ve been following influencers, bookmarking relevant articles, and keeping lists. I’ve got the content. Why is it so tough to get started?
It all boils down to organization. In content marketing, an editorial calendar is the easiest baby step toward a great content marketing strategy. It serves as a road map for the months ahead to ensure that your content is optimized to meet business goals, is targeting the right audience, and is presenting a unified message across platforms.
Editorial calendars aren’t new. Traditional print publications have long produced them for the upcoming year. They’re the first thing a media planner consults to make decisions about where to place advertising. PR pros tailor their pitch strategies to an outlet’s publication plans for the year. But today, the lines between content, advertising and PR are blurred. Content is marketing.
And because you have to generate content, you need a plan. A content marketing editorial calendar gives you a framework for being deliberate and intentional about how you are reaching and building trust with your audience. In part, it is a strategic marketing tool. But most important, it’s a place to keep your marketing team organized and on top of things.
As content marketing has evolved, so has the content editorial calendar. There are many options out there – from Excel-compatible spreadsheets to digital solutions to WordPress plugins. One great rundown of available editorial calendar templates and tools can be found at the Writtent blog. For planning social media, try more planning tools at Social Media Examiner. Blog on WordPress? Try their plugins here.
Your blog content is your message on your turf. It really costs you nothing to get started…making a plan is half the battle. Now you’re ready to fight it with purpose. Get started with a calendar and start blogging, even if you’re unsure if you’re doing it right. The act of blogging is the practice you need in order to hone your craft.
Whatever changes arise in social media, your budget, or market factors, a well thought-out content editorial calendar means you’ll move forward no matter what curve balls are thrown at you. Put “set up editorial calendar” on your other calendar. One baby step for you…one giant step for the future of your brand. Here we go!
Having a plan before you do most things is a good move (traveling, cooking, starting a family), and the same holds true for content marketing. Creating and using a content plan will create cohesion and consistency across all content channels, deliver your brand message more effectively, and stay relevant to your readers.
Most content marketing experts have a list of questions to ask before you launch a content marketing plan, and the lists are pretty much all the same:
What is our brand message?
Will that message deliver sales?
Who is our audience? (Most brands have more than one.)
What is our audience like? What do they like?
Where can we reach them best?
What kind of content do we need?
How can we keep them engaged?
Who is going to create the content and update it?
How can we measure success?
I like the succinct summary on Grammar Chic’s blog, The Red Ink.
With so many options available to deliver content to the masses, many companies start with the best of intentions, and gradually lose control of their content. How does this happen?
Jumping the gun: quick to start a blog, newsletter, social media- Twitter, Pinterest, etc. but without giving it real thought. Things don’t get updated, accounts even get forgotten– but they’re still out there, and someone will see them. Don’t open a new social media account or content channel without a good reason and a good plan.
Too many hands in the cookie jar: there’s no central person or people handling content, so not only is the message that you’re sending out not clear, items don’t get updated regularly or line up.
thinking you don’t need to update all of your content on a regular basis. Even the standard content on your website should still be refreshed from time to time to keep up with SEO and stay relevant to what’s happening now in your field.
Editorial calendars are important, and so is marketing strategy. Finding your voice and being consistent with the personality of your brand and the goals of your brand across all content is key.