Creating A Content Calendar For Your WordPress Site
If you are involved in marketing a website, you can’t have avoided the idea of content marketing. Since the coming of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, many of the old methods of promoting a site in search engines have become obsolete. The remaining reliable technique is the creation of engaging, informative, and sharable content that will both entice search engines to rank a site and result in sharing on social media networks.
The upshot is that brands now need to get into the publishing game. For experienced and successful bloggers this is nothing new. It’s what they’ve always done, but companies, and especially small businesses, often have trouble with managing the content creation process in a way that enables them to produce sufficient quantities of high-quality content. They become frustrated and may abandon their content marketing strategy because of a lack of results or what they see as intractable difficulties.
Traditional publishers like magazines and newspapers have dealt with the same problem for as long as they have existed, and the solution devised in those industries is the editorial calendar, also known as the content calendar. The idea of using a calendar to plan content may seem a simple and obvious step, but unless a site’s manager has a clear concept of what to do with it, a content calendar can degenerate into a simple to-do list, which will negate many of the benefits of this powerful publishing tool.
We’re going to concentrate on the benefits of content calendars for brands and discuss the best ways to go about creating one. Businesses that use their sites for selling or lead generation have slightly different concerns when compared to sites that are purely focused on editorial content.
The Right And Wrong Ways To Use A Content Calendar
One way of generating and coordinating content creation is to brainstorm a bunch of ideas, put them in a calendar, and then parcel them out to the writers. That can be an effective method for small sites, but its not scalable and the effectiveness isn’t easily measured.
For businesses, content creation should be closely linked to a content strategy that takes account of SEO goals, brand positioning, business goals, customer personas, market research, and an analysis of the purchase cycle. Each piece of content produced should have a purpose that’s firmly rooted in that wider strategy.
Many businesses have trouble creating an adequate quantity and quality of content because they fail to lay a strategic foundation or do the necessary research.
Content calendars should be thought of as the culmination of a structured planning process, rather than simply a means of scheduling.
If a business has a clear idea of what its customers are searching for, the information they need to make a decision, the doubts that are blocking conversions, the sorts of businesses customers feel loyalty towards, and the sort of content they feel they will benefit from sharing, much of the work involved in deciding what content to create is already done.
Content Calendar Tools
Counter-intuitively, online calendars like Google Calendar are not the best tools to use for content calendars. They are focused on events and the information associated with those events, which means they tend to lack specific features that are useful to publishers.
Project management tools like Basecamp or Wrike are better suited, but they also come with an unnecessary degree of complexity.
Spreadsheets, especially cloud-based ones that can be shared and modified by a group, make for excellent content calendars. But we’re going to take a look at a WordPress extension that brings a content calendar into WordPress itself.
Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin
The WordPress Editorial Calendar extension allows WordPress sites to incorporate a calendar into their publishing workflow.
Editors and administrators can view a traditional calendar layout that shows when articles will be published and their current status. Publication dates can be rearranged by drag-and-drop, and article titles and content can be edited from within the calendar. Especially useful is the ability to manage posts by multiple authors.
The overarching message here is that businesses can use a content calendar to help add a shape and structure to their content strategy, ensuring that it relates to specific business goals.
If you’re using WordPress, then the editorial calendar extension is a great step towards achieving that.