Most business owners will agree that starting a blog is pretty easy. It’s figuring out what to write where the real challenge lies. Especially once the ‘tips, tricks, and hacks’ type of posts have been written. That’s why you must have a blogging content calendar!
If you are like many small business owners with a blog, you typically stare at a blank page and think, “Okay, what’s next?” Spending time to research blog ideas each time you want to write a post can feel like such a drain on your time. And it is! What makes more sense is to plan ahead and list loads of content ideas for your business blog. Enter – the blogging content calendar.
What is a Blogging Content Calendar?
Although the term is pretty self-explanatory, a blogging content calendar is a listing of the blog topics to be according to your pre-determined blog publishing schedule.
A blogging content calendar is the equivalent of an editorial calendar in the print publication industry. Most magazines and newspaper publishers often plan content ideas at the start of the year, creating monthly content themes ensuring that they cover seasonal topics and have enough new content to keep readers engaged. While they do leave room for live events as they happen, it’s safe to say that 80 to 90 percent of the content is determined and planned several months in advance.
5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs a Blogging Content Calendar
Your business blog provides three major marketing opportunities:
1. To share relevant information about your business
2. To build online credibility
3. To attract customers
If you want your blogging efforts to pay off, it only makes sense that you have a content creation strategy. And a blogging content calendar can help you build that content strategy and ensure you stay in line with that strategy all year long.
While the thought of sitting down to create a blogging content calendar can seem like an arduous task, the benefits of planning content for your business blog are undoubtedly worth it. Having a blogging content calendar will save you time and energy, make you more productive (as a blog publisher), and will ensure that your content gets you results.
Here are five reasons why every small business must have a blogging content calendar.
#1: Helps You Stick to Your Publishing Schedule
Publishing content on your blog consistently is a good SEO practice. The more regularly you publish, the better your website ranks on search engines. And knowing what you are going to write the following week and month, makes it that much easier to stick to your publishing frequency targets.
#2: Gives You A Bird’s Eye View of Your Content
When you create a blogging content calendar several months ahead, you get a good idea of the kind of material you are pushing to your readers. You can create monthly content themes, assess if you have the right mix of content ( e.g., infographics, SlideShares, long-text posts, promotional posts, and industry trends and news), and evaluate if your content is in line with your overall online marketing goals.
#3: Makes It Easier to Delegate Tasks
As a small business owner you have enough on your plate and finding time to create blogging content can be difficult. But once you know what you need to write and by when, you can delegate the task to a team member or content creation company such as Virtasktic.
#4: Create Anticipation Among Your Readers
With a blogging content calendar in place, you can promote upcoming blog posts with your readers and create a sense of anticipation.
#5: Generate Social Media Content
The content you create for your blog provides you fodder for social media posts. A long text post of about 1500 words, can provide content for about 15 to 20 tweets or Facebook posts.
So the more consistently you create content for your blog, the easier it becomes to create content for social media.
How to Generate Blog Ideas for Your Blogging Content Calendar
The first step to creating a blogging content calendar is to generate a list of topics that would be of interest to your intended audience. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Sometimes you have a rush of topic ideas, which you can jot down and refer to as you plan the publishing schedule. Beyond this, you must actively tap other sources for content ideas.
Online research is the best way to find content that your audience is craving. Researching keywords and topics will reveal blog ideas that your audience already has interest in. It will also help you improve SEO.
You can also monitor online conversations with clients and review common questions from visitors to gain insight into possible blogging topics. Your staff may have additional perspectives on blogging topics, so include them in the discussion as you plan the calendar.
Review the business blog of your competitors, as well, for content that’s missing on your blog. While you never want to copy exactly what your competition is doing, you can use it to generate new ideas or a different spin of a popular topic they covered.
And let’s not forget your old posts. Revisit the content already published and see if you some of those can be repurposed and presented anew, or if there was a short post that you had written which now merits a longer write-up.
As you create the list of topics, also evaluate the ‘type’ of content you are including in the calendar. For instance, you could include infographics, videos, presentations, interviews, customer stories, long-text posts, as well as short posts. By varying the types of content you are posting, you add variety to your blog and keep it interesting for your readers.
Another idea for your calendar would be to group similar blog topics to create a monthly blogging theme. You could also reserve certain days of the month to publish a particular kind of post, e.g., “Helpful Mondays” where you share ‘How-to’s ‘ and other tips.
Tools to Help Build a Blogging Content Calendar
While you can create a content calendar using Google spreadsheets or Excel, there are content calendar creation tools designed specifically for this task. Many of these offer helpful features such as drag-and-drop interface, collaboration, task assignment and tracking, content approval, notifications, and more. Some of the blogging content calendar creation platforms you could consider are GatherContent, CoSchedule plugin for WordPress.org, and Kapost.
Blogging Content Calendar = Better Blog
As we said earlier, while it may feel a bit arduous to sit down and plan out a blogging content calendar, we cannot emphasize how much time and energy you’ll save in the long run. Beyond that, your blog will stay on track with your content and marketing strategy and truly help you power up businesses overall marketing efforts.
If you need help developing a blogging content calendar or executing an effective content strategy for your business, we can help. We have a number of content marketing packages designed to turn your blog into a powerful marketing machine without breaking the bank! Check them out HERE.