I hope you’ve been busy putting my top four tips for making content calendars easy into action! If you haven’t seen them yet, you can check them all out in Managing the Content Mill – Part One.
If you’re all over it – then here are my remaining top four tips.
If you’ve got a local or service based business, you might find your content needs are different yet again. It is highly likely that incorporating SEO strategies into your content plan will be of great value to you. There are often more opportunities to leverage traffic from Google for local and service based businesses.
However, the opportunities exist for those who go deeper with their strategy than their competitors.
I’d suggest starting with keyword research that includes specific suburbs you are targeting. You can use a free Chrome extension like Keywords Everywhere to gather keyword volumes or a paid tool like Keyword Finder. If you have a paid Google account, you may also be able to access their data for more accurate keyword volumes.
In either scenario, find the keywords which offer the greatest opportunity to you. Then run them into Google search to see what type of pages Google is ranking for those terms. If Google is showing home pages of your competitors, this indicates the keyword you’ve searched for is best added to your home page. Similar logic applies if internal pages are being shown instead.
Doing this with your top contending keywords will allow you to map them to appropriate pages and you’ll soon have a site architecture forming based on available opportunities search engines offer.
In the question of creating site architecture for a local business, it can be tricky to determine where you can add a content hub (especially if the business isn’t one you can find interesting blog topics for).
Some ideas to create an effective content plan in this situation might be to explore creating a knowledge base or searchable FAQ that is exhaustive and answers all questions people have on the niche. Rather than long articles. you can structure it like a searchable index.
You can also create topic hubs based around the main sub-topics in the niche for which you created cornerstone content. In these hubs, you can create articles on the same topic that take a different spin based on the intent of the searcher.
You can have informational intent articles separate to articles targeting the people who are ready to buy separate, yet again, to articles that compare the service to other services.
You can mix and match these approaches based on the industry and the type of content that would work for the business you’re writing for.
Documenting a Content Plan
To keep track of the ideas you have and the plan you create for any one of these business types, you’ll need a system to document it all.
Having a visual sitemap helps to see which pages need content, how they sit in relation to one another and what other information applies to them. You can create static sitemaps using software like Balsamiq though these are quite limited and difficult to edit. If you have a large project, you can also create collaborative sitemaps using software like Flowmapp which also allows you to visually document user flows.
You can also track progress, URLs used for each page, mapped keywords, content ideas and other information in a spreadsheet. Having a template for content request briefs also greatly helps if you aren’t the one writing the content. Writers will need as much information about the project as you can give them and having a template can save you a lot of time.
Sustainable Editorial Calendars
Now that we’ve looked at types of content as well as content plans that never run dry, we can turn our attention to editorial calendars. These help with mapping content ideas to publication times.
The frequency with which you need to publish content will affect the best way to set up your editorial calendar. Using task management software like Asana or Monday can make this process run a whole lot smoother.
Each piece of content goes through various stages of production. At each phase, different members of your team might be responsible for completing different tasks. Your editorial calendar needs to make it clear to each team member what their accountability is, if there are any dependencies and also when their component is due by.
Let’s take a look at some tasks you might need to factor in as part of the content creation process.
Content Creation Process
For most business owners, content is the biggest bottleneck that can be difficult to streamline. That’s often because the content creation process typically looks like this:
Step 1: Research and find topic idea (or grab one from a previously established content plan)
Step 2: Create a brief for the copywriter
Step 3: Check the copywriter’s work and request any changes
Step 4: Edit and send for approval (unless you’re the person who makes the final decision)
Step 5: Create a publishing brief integrating design
Step 6: Send to the designer to add to the site
Step 7: Check and make live
Step 8: Check again once it is live
As you can see, with so many steps involved for each piece, it can be quite challenging to stay on top of the content mill if you’re publishing quite frequently.
Some businesses don’t need content published too frequently. Having a few pieces that are of outstanding quality can be enough. There are some businesses that have openly confessed to removing hundreds of old posts that did not add value to their readers and consolidating them into a handful cornerstone pieces instead.
Bringing it all together
All in all, the right strategy for you will depend on the type of business you’re running and how realistic your publishing timeframes are. You don’t need to be pumping out content every day, or even every week, if what you’re adding to your site is of exceptional quality and fulfils the purpose you need it to.
I hope you’ve found these articles helpful. If you have any content related questions, feel free to reach out to me at any stage!