One of the keys to a successful content strategy is having an editorial calendar. It can help keep you accountable to deadlines and organize your schedule. You’d be surprised at how few work days you actually have left when you account for everything else you need to do as part of your overall marketing strategy. Think of it like the content equivalent of a “bucket list” (which is a list of things you want to achieve before you die – and can be a great wake up call that you need to get off your ass and start doing things).
As a simple example, perhaps you’d set up your calendar to achieve the following:
- Write one weekly blog post for your corporate blog
- Write one guest post per month (I discuss what guest posts are and why they are a good idea in#36 below)
- Assign half a day each month to thought/research on what you’ll write about the following month
- Spend some time on LinkedIn answering questions
- Define some post types that are easy to produce on a recurring basis (perhaps a monthly roundup of interesting links from your industry vertical)
A brilliant approach to setting up a publish schedule is explained in a post by Russell Sparkman.
Add simple sharing tools to your content so that people can easily share it. If you use WordPress (or similar blog software) there are hundreds of great plugins that make it simple for people to submit or vote for your content on the social hub sites (discussed earlier).
Use sharing widgets for Twitter, Facebook and Delicious so that your readers can market on your behalf. These sharing buttons/widgets perform two roles for you.
- They make it easy to share your content
- They show how many people have done so – establishing social proof that helps visitors believe that your post is worth reading (if you have a sufficiently high number). Note, that negative social proof is as damaging as positive social proof is encouraging. If you’ve ever visited a blog that has 0 retweets on every post, you’ve probably had the reaction that it’s not worth your time to read. The best way to solve this problem is to write great content, and if necessary, bug your friends and colleagues to share your content to help get it off the ground.
Facebook Like button
Facebook Like Box
Use this to try to get people to like your Facebook fan page. You can place it in your blog sidebar or use it as a required element of a contest entry to build your following. Tip: don’t use this until you have a few hundred fans to avoid the effects of negative social proof. Be patient.
Twitter Retweet button
(Tip: try the tall layout with graph and tags turned off to get the view shown here)
WordPress plugins for social sharing
Sexy Bookmarks provides a simple general set of sharing buttons – a good place to start (set it up to appear at the end of each blog post).