Editorial calendar is a must-have
The editorial calendar is the basis for the whole content strategy. I wouldn’t be writing this article today without it. If you think you don’t need it and you can manage without having one, you’re wrong. If writing articles for your blog is an additional work activity for you and there’s no one doing this work full-time, then you need to see the deadlines. Otherwise you’ll forget to publish articles.
We put all important things into our calendar – the deadline for an article, who is supposed to write it and, most importantly, whether it has been published or not. If the article is published, a green box appears in the calendar. The more unpublished articles, the more red boxes show in the calendar. It works really well because no one likes to look at something reminding them of their failures.
Motivate people to write
The editorial calendar itself is not a guarantee people will start writing on their own initiative. You need to motivate them and remind them they are supposed to write an article. What I do is that I send them an e-mail every Monday, a friendly reminder telling them they need to publish an article. If they don’t have time to do so, we agree on a new deadline.
I have also prepared guidelines for our authors on how to publish an article in order to make the formal side of it as easy as possible for them, so they can fully focus on writing.
Evaluate success of articles
All our authors write their articles on voluntary basis. We don’t force anyone to write. Those who want to write do so and those who have no time for writing, don’t. Therefore, it is important for the authors to know whether their articles are successful in order to feel motivated to write more.
I have created a separate document for the purpose of evaluating the success of individual articles. The authors can see how many people have read their article, how many of them have shared the article on social networks and how their article did in comparison to other authors and their articles. The comparison with others is possible due to the total score based on metrics mentioned above.
People are competitive, use it
We motivate our authors to write through our “Author of the Month Award”. The award goes to the author whose article has the highest score in the given month. The winner is announced in our meetings. Apart from applause from colleagues, he or she receives a small financial reward. We have found that competitiveness is the best motivation and the number of published articles increased significantly after introducing the award.
Spread the word about success
Everyone in the company should be informed about the popularity of your blog. Our blog’s success can’t be credited to one or two people. It is the success of all authors who have published an article on the blog. Therefore, they are all informed about how we did and what we are planning for the future.
Publish articles also on issues that seemingly aren’t related to what you do
In the past, we used to publish articles on certain issues such as SEO, PPC, analytics, content or content marketing. These found a stable fan base but the number of people interested in these topics was limited. We therefore decided to experiment. Our copywriters began to write articles on issues we hadn’t addressed before, for example articles about the most common grammatical mistakes or the most popular keyboard shortcuts.
Surprisingly enough, these articles were very well received and are among the most popular articles in the history of our blog. They also helped us reach a completely new target group that had not heard of us before.
Don’t concentrate only on writing; focus also on promoting
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is writing an article for their blog and then waiting for a miracle. It is very unlikely that your target group will find you on its own and will start sharing the article everywhere.
If you want them to read your article, you need to find them and let them know about the article. We dedicate a lot of time to promoting articles. We share them on social networks, send them to our clients, promote them in our newsletter and find relevant Facebook groups to share articles.
We make sure all articles have a nice and unique cover picture which then appears on social networks. It increases the click-through rate and it makes your article different from those with boring pictures taken from photo banks. The same applies to headlines, article description and the annotation you write for the article.
Don’t be afraid to pay for promotion
Paying for promotion applies particularly to Facebook, where the organic reach of posts is constantly decreasing. If you spent a few hours writing the article, it would be a shame to waste its potential just because you refuse to pay a few Euros for promoting it.
And it doesn’t need to be a lot of money. We promote each article with 20 Euros, which isn’t a big amount of money compared to the time needed for writing it. Good targeting can bring you hundreds of visits.
We have positive experience with targeting articles at people who have already visited our blog. They are more likely to read another article. In this case, the price for one click-through is between one to ten cents.
Last piece of advice? Be patient
Content strategy and writing articles for a blog is an ongoing process of constantly trying new things, improving and changing things. We are talking months, if not years of work until you achieve results you were expecting. The hardest part is, of course, to get started, to develop a good routine and to go through the inevitable process of making mistakes.
If you get through this stage successfully, then the whole process becomes much easier. The sooner you start creating the content, the faster you get to the stage where everything works smoothly and all you need to do is set the right direction.
Marek Šulik, Strategy Director, VISIBILITY s.r.o.