Publishing interesting, sharable content to your website on a regular basis is a key market strategy that successful companies have been using for years. Content planning and publishing creates an upward spiral of online reputation building, industry credibility, and strong Google ranking.... which all lead to business growth.
During the strategy stage of a website design project for our Kelowna clients, we're already thinking ahead to after the site launches. A publishing schedule is a great tool to keep the momentum going. When creating any sort of publishing schedule, all the moving parts can quickly become overwhelming. Being organized and consistent is vital. You'll need to plan when, where, and how everything is going to be published.
Frequency: The less you publish; the less people care about your publishing. It's a vicious circle that can be hard to break out of once you start to decline. Search engine optimization (SEO) is affected too. Google ranking algorithm values new information. If Google's crawlers skim your site and see nothing new, it will be even longer before they return. If you update your website, blog, product catalogue, service pages, FAQs, etc. less than 1x per month, it's time to knuckle down and work. For local Kelowna websites, we aim for 1x per week. This frequency seems to be effective to stand out in the Okanagan. Provincial, national, or international companies would need a more advanced strategy based on their market position and goals.
Location: Publishing only on your own company site or blog is no longer sufficient. Google knows now that anyone can start up a blog, but it takes real people to recognize value in order for your content to be published elsewhere. Widen your scope, be a guest blogger or expert contributor, and make sure it all ties into your social media platforms to build social signals that Google looks for.
To accomplish the right balance between frequency and location, you'll need to plan a publishing calendar.
Editorial Calendar: This organizes your publishing schedule into creating what content, when it will be submitted, its expected publishing date, and what platforms will be used. You need this system because the most common pitfall of any publishing plan is the coordination of the moving parts. Often your focus will divert from the quality of your content to just getting your content out there, which is a problem.
[caption id="attachment_3361" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Here's an example of a heavy publishing week for a hair salon's editorial schedule. Aim for at least once a week, but don't try to over-publish and sacrifice quality for quantity.[/caption]
There are three other things you want to consider in your editorial plan.
1. If you're selling to consumers:
Get a calendar of all the upcoming holidays in every country that you are hoping to cater to. Structuring content around things with pre-established frameworks helps you tie your products to the culture of your consumers.
2. If you're selling to business and/or consumers:
Structure your efforts around any sales or special promotions you have scheduled for the year.
3. Strategically vary your content:
In our editorial calendar example you saw five different types of content. Here are some ideas for ways to generate ideas and keep your content dynamic and interesting.
a) News-like posts
If there is anything new happening in your industry or in a complementary industry that may affect your customers then you can publish short news-like posts to keep people aware. This may also factor in if you have big changes happening at your company, like new equipment, new staff, expanded product/service lines, or new locations. Consider creating an official media release if the news is important.
b) General posts with catchy headlines
These are your average "How to" posts that contain some valuable information and are geared towards catching people's interest. They are usually quick-hit posts with no follow-up.
c) Annual guides
Annual guides may look something like "The 2013 guide to men's hairstyles". These are long-tail pieces, because they often generate viewers for a much longer time than the average post. They also intuitively suggest more authority than the average post.
d) Regular column
Perhaps you have one of your staff start a column on a topic they are experts on, and have them develop their voice on your blog.
e) Continuing series
These are great ways to generate ideas about regular content, because it sets up a framework for you. Try doing customer features - our example included a "Before and After" series that would show off your customers. That type of series is also great for customer engagement and retention.
f) Social media
We included a live-tweeting day in the editorial calendar. Social media needs to be integrated into your publishing schedule, and in that case it can be a part of it. Social signals are vital for SEO as well. Social Media is whole other universe... here's a decent place to start.
There are unlimited opportunities for you to provide your customers value through content. Just think about your business from the ground up - what are the related industries to your product/services? What are the demographics of your clients? What kind of things do they enjoy doing?
You'll also want to make sure these posts are engaging. For example, if we write an article on "Kelowna Web Design", we'll check our Google Analytics stats in the follow weeks to see what sort of page view numbers, and time on page statistics we're getting. Measuring results and make sure people are reading and enjoying your content!
Lastly, remember to write for humans first, robots second. Learn some of the golden rules of here: Does Google Like Your Company?
Did you read all the way to the bottom and now feel sweaty and nauseous? Call 250-762-4001 and let's chat. We can help.