There are three simple things you can do to make your business publishing strategic. This post runs you through them — and you can do them right now.
Now when I mention ‘editorial process’ to you, you are most likely thinking, what editorial process? Let’s be clear about this: running a website instantly makes you a content publisher. However, it may surprise you that even large businesses have no idea about editorial process, much less a strategy. They should!
A written plan helps you to achieve success. It’s as true in content marketing and content strategy as it is in life.
Chances are, you write blogs because you feel like you have to. you post on Facebook when you know people are active, but in terms of being strategic? Meh, you’ve got too many other things to do. Probably you don’t see yourself as a full publisher because it’s just you.
Sorry mate, it still applies. But I’ll let you in on a secret: Being strategic is easy.
It requires you to be organised, to spend some dedicated time in a creative space, and to realise that doing something well takes effort. But in this post, I’m going to break this down and make it easy for you.
Here are three key steps that you can do today, that will get you on the right track.
1. Strategy first, creation second
All good publishers go to strategy first. Magazine issues have themes, online publications have key threads… even street press has an overall something on which their publishing hangs. You need this too. Decide what it is and give yourself a framework.
Get your pencil — right now — and write down:
- What is it related to your job (or business, or industry, or product, or service) that people don’t understand?
- What knowledge do you have that you can impart, that people will find of value?
- What do you do better than everybody else?
- Why do you do what you do?
From your answers, pull out three topics that you can teach to, learn from, or support. Make them broad topics, but related to your business (obviously).
These three topics will be the threads running through every post you write. You don’t need all three in every post. But you do need a minimum of one. This way you will know exactly what angle you are going for, every time.
2. Work out a posting schedule that you can stick to
By sticking to something realistically, it is not imagining a pie-in-the-sky situation where your kids go to sleep at 6 pm every night and it gives you three hours of creative time. It is working out exactly how much time you have each week to do it, and marking that in your diary.
If you can only post once per week, then just post once per week. Once is better than none.
Get your diary right now and do two things:
- Schedule blog writing time (give yourself two hours… sometimes you need it)
- Schedule blog posting time.
For many people, posting time is only determined by testing. Use your first quarter to test the best days and times for posting. If you can’t wait that long, go with the usual Tuesday — Thursday cycle. It’s pretty reliable, and is a common schedule for business owners.
Now, stick to it. Natural growth comes from providing a good environment. That means sticking like glue to your posting schedule, even if it means you are sleep deprived, surly, missing meals, or mainlining coffee.
If your site runs on WordPress I strongly suggest a plugin like EditFlow (great for collaboration) or WordPress Editorial Calendar to help you manage it. Schedule them and stick to it! I don’t know what I used to do without my editorial calendar, seriously.
Email me right now if you have trouble sticking to a posting schedule. I have had lots of experience and can help!
3. Know what you want people to do
Your calls to action need to be present on every single post. It can be read this, do that, call me, sign up to my newsletter… whatever it is, give people something to do.
Grab your pen and write down:
- 5 things you might want people to do after they’ve read what you post. You only need one per post, but having a bag of tricks always helps. It might be share on pinterest or like on Facebook. I’m sure you can find five very easily.
- Patterns of words that appeal to your market, or will otherwise draw them in.
Keep this list somewhere near your workspace, or on your desktop, or in Evernote, or whatever it is that helps you. Use it, refer to it, make notes of what works. It’s only by testing what works that you will refine your methodology.
Test — measure — improve; this is our mantra.
Now, book a time with your SEO wizards about setting up conversion goals, so you can track what is working and what is not. If you don’t have an SEO Wizard, I highly recommend Claireodactyl Digital Marketing — I’ve seen these guys get really solid results in under three months, which is frankly outstanding.
How’s that for a quick-and-dirty run through? There is a lot more to a good content strategy than just this, but even these bare bones will get you moving.