As January winds on business owners can often wind down. As the adrenalin of the new year leaves our veins to be replaced by the icy reality of the daily slog, our director Sara Hawthorn looks at how editorial planning can rewind your cogs and keep you feeling inspired to create great content – even if that topic is baler twine.
I’ve written about some fairly odd things in the past 17 years, the topic example above being one of them. Writers like a challenge, don’t they? Writing 700 interesting and educating words on the wrap and wire which encases bales of hay was my Everest. But write them I did and, despite some near misses, a few stumbles and a significant ‘Wild’ moment, I kept going and hit the summit of that feature.
Keeping going with writing is hard. It’s always been hard. But now we have the added pressure of delivering worthy content in a world where practically almost anyone can be a writer/publisher. For small business owners writing regular content to feed an audience that doesn’t really know if it’s hungry leaves you wondering how much effort you really need to put in. Surely it’s just for the SEO anyway, right?
Why we need to shift how we think about content
Oh, dear readers, no. Every day things happen in your business, big things, small things, random things. Things are good. The ‘things’ are a constantly progressing story, a story to which you pay almost no attention to because other, more important things are pulling at your trouser legs. But to ignore the story is to ignore the stream of potential blogs, articles, news stories that could comprise most of your content.
When that initial drive begins to wane (statistics say the third week in January is the most likely time for this, who are we to argue with statistics), the blog posts get more sporadic and shorter, and the social posts become a few hurried RTs editorial planning will become your best friend. All those things that just happen as you go about running your business can help you claw back the focus. Say you helped a client with a specific issue – is that issue something other people need to know about and, more importantly, need to know that you’re the person who can help them with that issue? There’s a blog post.
You are surrounded by things to talk about every single day, promise. You just need to know how to shape them in order to keep the wheels of wonderful content turning. So here it is, the magic fix.
The amazing power of editorial planning
I lied, there’s no magic fix. But this will be a huge help. An editorial planning calendar lays out in as much or little detail (we advise the former) what you’re going to publish, where, and why. Remember the ‘things’ I mentioned above? It’s the place to keep track of all of them and where you’re going to shape and refine them to give you a plentiful supply of content relevant to the people interested in your business.
By including columns like ‘where’ ‘what’ and ‘why’ – particularly the latter, you’re forced to think about what is valuable and consider the best platform for your content. InFusion’s editorial calendar has 10 columns which might sound like a lot, but each column is a reminder and a prompt to help us create strong content we think will be helpful to our audience. Each has a purpose and that’s vital to help you develop your content ideas beyond a simple title or note on a scrap of paper or a word document.
Get ahead by investing the time now
This takes time to do, we’re warning you now, but the payoff is worth it. By giving up half a day or a day to put at least three months in the editorial planning calendar you set in motion the means to keep generating content and minimise the likelihood of a dry spell. Using a tool like this is a huge help in maintaining momentum and the more you create the easier it becomes to keep on creating.
To give you that initial push we’ve made a basic editorial calendar template available to download, complete with column headings designed to make you refine and hone your initial topic idea.
Of course, outsourcing all your content writing is also an option and there are plenty of reasons why this might be the right thing for your business. If you think that might be the right direction for your business we can support your needs and ease the pressure of trying to keep up with the digital Joneses.