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Managing Blog Content
If you’re planning to blog for your business, you need to be realistic about the time commitment blogging takes. Blogs are most useful when you can publish content frequently and consistently, typically on a weekly basis. If you’re not in the business of producing content, keeping up with the publishing demands of a blog can be overwhelming.
A well-produced blog is best managed through a blog editorial calendar. A blog editorial calendar is like a typical editorial calendar for a magazine that includes topics tied to specific events, seasons, promotions, and other key dates. A blog editorial calendar can be expanded into a social media calendar to include your posts to social networks so all of your online messaging ties together.
Start the creation of your blog editorial calendar by considering your business and marketing goals. Some questions to ask as you develop the plan for your blog content include:
Like a more fully fleshed out social media calendar, a blog editorial calendar contains similar basic elements to help you plan out what content will be published and when. These elements include:
Events. What events will prompt blog posts? These could include actual offline or online events, promotions, sales, company news, current events, anything tied to a date.
Theme. A theme can relate to your business, products, services, and industry or broader topics that are still related in some way such as holidays, seasons, and general interests.
Publishing Date. For blogging, ideally you will schedule a post each week or at least a few times a month. To blog more frequently, you need a strategic reason to do so such as a countdown to an event or building excitement for a new product release.
Assignments and Deadlines. If you have more than one blogger, you can assign posts in your blog editorial calendar to the appropriate bloggers. You can also include deadlines such as when the first draft is due, when editing should be completed, and when the post will publish.
Images or Video. Every blog post is enhanced from at least one image. Images help attract the eye and break up the text to make longer blog posts easier to read. If you aren’t producing your own images, you can obtain royalty-free stock images from sites such as iStockphoto.com and FreeImages.com. Include the image URLs and photo credits in your editorial calendar to make sure you provide appropriate credits in your blog posts. You can also embed videos into your blog posts.
Published. There should be a way to designate when a blog post has been published. A space for additional notes or status updates can also be included in the calendar.
Blog editorial calendars are organic documents and should not be fixed in stone but operate more as a guide to help you time your blog posts to appear at strategic moments to support your other marketing efforts. Your blog content should be responsive to current events while being relevant and appropriate. Create your blog editorial calendar for your blog in a shared spreadsheet or use a more robust software solution such as Co-Schedule.
Your blog publishing tool should provide a staging area where posts can be submitted but not published giving an editor a change to edit it and schedule for publication. Clearly establish your company's internal blogging process to make sure only appropriate and well-edited content appears on your company blog.
Put measurement tools in place on your blog, such as Google Analytics, to gain insights on which blog posts perform well, the best times to publish a post, and the sites that drive the most traffic to your blog. Consistent metrics help you determine how much value your blog brings to your company to compare to how much it costs to maintain.
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