An Easy Guide To Creating A Blog Calendar
If you read our recent blog post, “Content: The Future Of Marketing?”, then you should already understand the value of an onsite blog. Fresh, high quality content has been one of the major ranking factors in the Google Algorithm since the ‘Panda’ update in 2011. Having a blog on your website with relevant, regularly updated content that provides real value will not only encourage Google to rank your site higher, but it will also increase the number of entry points to your business through social sharing and so on.
For these reasons, having an onsite blog is something that a lot of brands aspire to do. But unfortunately, a lot of business owners simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to start and maintain a blog. If you fall into this category then one common option would be to outsource your blog to a content marketing agency.
But before you do this, why not give it one last go? If implemented correctly, maintaining an onsite blog really isn’t as time-consuming as you may think. And if you don’t believe you have the expertise to write a blog then think again. All it takes is a little creativity, some research and the right strategy.
In this blog, we discuss how you can get started with your onsite blog and boost your search rankings in no time.
The first step to starting your onsite blog is to put together a blog calendar. This is simply a guideline content schedule to give you some structure when writing your blogs. There’s no rigid format to the calendar, but we usually include a list of blog titles, the number of characters in the title (try to keep it below 60), the desired date of publication and any notes that may come in handy whilst drafting your blog; for example, any specific content that you would like to include. This is something that you can set up fairly easily in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. You can find an example of this format below.
Of course, there’s no strict number of blog titles to include, but the more the better. Writing 10 blog titles could be a good place to start, but if you have more ideas then don’t feel like you need to stop there! If you do eventually decide to outsource your blog to a content agency, this could offer some valuable insights for their team.
Alongside your blog calendar, it could be useful to put together an events calendar. This is simply a 12-month calendar with notes of any important dates that relate to your business. This can be anything from a staff birthday or an industry event to the World Cup Final or National Bacon Day. If you feel like you could produce some relevant content on the topic then add it in! Not only will this be useful when sourcing your blog content, but it could also offer some inspiration when crafting your weekly social media schedule.
Once you’ve put together the format of your blog calendar, it’s time to start filling it in. Odds are you’ll have a few ideas off the top of your head but carrying out some research can make this process a lot easier. Below, we’ve detailed some of the different research techniques that you can use to craft a blog calendar.
Look at some of your competitors’ sites to see if they have an onsite blog. If they do, then why not take some inspiration from them? We’re not advising you to copy their content ideas word-for-word, but there’s no harm in putting your own twist on it. For example, if you notice a competitor has put together a blog on ‘How to create a blog calendar’, you could reinvent this with the blog title ‘5 ways to improve your onsite blog’.
Writing blog content on the latest industry news can be a great way to jump onto any trends in your niche. In fact, some of our most viewed social media and blog content has been on industry news. Take a look across some of the key blogging and news websites for your industry and see if there’s anything that you have a strong opinion on. From here, you can craft a blog around the news, discussing your own thoughts on the subject and sharing some actionable tips for your followers. Once you’ve published your blog make sure to share it on social media, using any relevant hashtags and tagging in any other accounts that you mention in the article.
As we mentioned, an events calendar can be a really useful way to source content ideas for both your blog and social media channels. A few years ago, this used to be quite a time-consuming task, but over the last few years there have been loads of marketing events calendars popping up online. Social media giants, Twitter, actually have their own events calendar; probably one of the most comprehensive ones around.
LinkedIn’s ‘Groups’ feature can be a really useful resource when drafting your blog calendar. If you’re not already a member of any industry-relevant groups on LinkedIn, now would be a good time to join some. It could also be wise to join any groups that members of your target audience may be part of. For example, if your main point of contact with current clients is the Marketing Director, you could try joining some groups specifically for Marketing Directors and CMOs. Of course, if you don’t have this job title then your invitation request may be declined but it’s always worth a shot. From here, you can take a look at some of the conversations that are going on inside these groups and use it as inspiration for your blog.
Keyword ranking opportunities
This is one of the most important parts of the research stage, from a technical aspect anyway. If you have access to a keyword ranking insights tool, such as Hubspot or AWRCloud, you need to be making use of this. Make a note of any keywords that you’re close to ranking on page one of Google for – these are the keywords that you should be focusing on. Although that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t craft content around other keywords too. From here, you can draft some blog titles focusing on specific short and long-tail keywords. If you do this right, you should start to see your website ranking on page one for more keywords over the coming months.
Ask team for FAQs
You may find it useful to ask different members of your team for any questions they often get asked by clients. This way you can craft content around topics that you know your clients would want to read. Try to speak with a range of people from various departments throughout your organisation. Different departments will have different touchpoints with your clients, so this will ensure that you cover a diverse range of topics.
Content around previous topics
Finally, if you’ve previously written any blogs, whether this be on your own site or an external site, you can draft some content around similar topics. Analyse your top-performing blogs and try to figure out why they’re so popular. Is it the topic? Is it the title? Is it the day that you published it? You’ll come away with some really valuable insights that will be crucial in shaping the future of your onsite blog.
Of course, if you haven’t written a blog before this won’t be relevant for you. But it’s certainly a worthwhile technique to carry out in the future, when you have a few blogs under your belt.
From here, it’s time to start writing your blogs. The first blog is always the hardest, but take your time, keep persisting and you’ll find your flow in no time! If time constraints are still an issue, then why not try a combination of outsourcing and writing your own content? You should be able to maintain a monthly blog with one hour a week, especially once you get into the groove of writing. Combine this with hiring an established content marketing agency to write three blogs a month for your company and you have a weekly blog!
If you still don’t think you’ll have the time or resources to develop and maintain an onsite blog then why not get in touch with one of our content marketing specialists to find out how we can help?