How well-planned are your blog article topics? Do you have an editorial calendar based on a well-defined content strategy, or is it based on article-by-article, spur of the moment inspiration? Often, we’ll come across blog pages that are scattered with an array of different topics that appear to have no common thread pulling them together. Although variety can be good and most businesses rarely do just one thing, it can also be an indicator of a lack of editorial strategy.
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Why is this a bad thing? If you don’t have a strategy behind your content marketing you’re just producing ‘stuff’. Although the content could be good, you’re not thinking about the overall journey your audience will take or the key areas they want to read about - you’re not telling the whole story of how your business adds value. The internet is full of ‘stuff’ and you’re just adding to the heap.
A handy tip to organise your thoughts when planning your editorial calendar is ‘campaign thinking’.
Here’s how you do it
First, write down a topic category that you would like to cover. How you define your topic category will likely differ for each company, but common ones include a particular service or product, a target persona or a seasonal event that you’d like to cover. To start with, just write down 3-5 different topic categories that are important to your business.
Next up, within your topic category, create a list of related questions or sub-topic areas. Ideally, you want to use keyword research for this stage, if SEO is a goal of yours, and to look at persona research to see what pains your audience are looking to avoid, gains they want to achieve, the main challenges they face, or common questions that they ask. You also want to look at past blog performance to factor in previous articles that have worked particularly well for your audience. These sub-topic areas should come together to form a series that covers the important areas within your topic category. Usually, your series will include 5-10 blog articles, depending on the topic.
Once you have done the above you will then have a selection of blog ideas that will form your ‘campaign’, give consistency to your blog articles, and ensure a particular topic gets substantial coverage and your blog doesn’t bounce around with no strategic direction.
However, the ‘campaign thinking’ doesn’t stop there… Yes, having a selection of blog article topics ready to go is a good start, but how you use (and re-purpose) those blog articles is even more important. If you’ve planned your topics correctly you’ll have a series of blogs covering a topic category. This content can now be edited together to form an ebook, which can be used as a download and lead magnet on your website, or a pillar page which includes a good number of internal backlinks and therefore performs well for SEO. Make sure you’re not just duplicating the content, as Google will penalise you for that, but that it’s compellingly edited together to form a flowing, premium piece of content.
Finally, ‘campaign thinking’ makes it easier to organise your content distribution strategy, such as creating themed newsletters, an email workflow series, regular PR coverage on a topic and a social media campaign. This will mean that your content is effectively distributed, a topic is substantially covered and there will be consistency across your marketing channels, increasing their effectiveness.
Although there are many benefits to ‘campaign thinking’ when it comes to your editorial planning, it’s important to note that you don’t want your blog to be too one-dimensional, and there are times when you need to react quickly to a certain event or idea and turn around an article quickly. Therefore, you’ll want to consider running multiple campaigns at once, to mix up the content you’re publishing and to allow for ‘business as usual’ blogs for ideas that don’t easily form part of a series, but are nonetheless important.
So, there you have it, campaign thinking can help you to generate topic ideas and improve the performance of your content marketing. If you need help with the above… you could always call upon the services of a quality content agency 😉