Content scheduling: Planning content for your blog
Content is a key part of online marketing for small businesses. Blog posts help customers understand your business and improve SEO.
It's important to understand the value your business gets from publishing blog posts. Creating a content schedule will make sure you get the most out of your time. This article will help you understand how to develop ideas for your blog and plan an editorial calendar.
Developing ideas for blog content
The first step to developing ideas is to think about the customers you want to target. Having an idea of the age range, interests and social media preferences will make content more relevant. Customers reading your blog should be able to identify with the advice it provides.
Start asking your customers questions if you don't have a good sense of this already. How do they learn about products or services like yours? What social media platforms do they prefer? What are they interested in? What are their goals and how do they use your product?
Information from your customer relationship management system, feedback forms and sales team will help with the process. You can also carry out formal or ad hoc interviews with customers. People who are really excited about your project will be keen to talk about it and provide the best opportunity to understand what an advocate acts like.
It's possible to create buyer personas to formalise this process. This document can be shared with new staff to help them understand your business. Persona templates are available online. You can use a presentation slide or Word document. Bring it to life by giving the fictional character a photo, job title and demographic information.
Analysing your customer’s journey and pain points will help generate content ideas.
Solving customer pain points
Small business ideas form around customer pain points. It’s often something the founder has experienced themselves. A sunscreen applicator for children that avoids schools’ no-touch rules. An accountancy practice that provides business advice founded by someone that needed support.
Combining a clear understanding of who your customers are and how your business serves them provides the basis for content ideas. Blog posts don't have to relate back to specific product features, you can write about the wider challenge you're impacting.
Think about the problem your business solves. What journey do customers go on? A local gym provides somewhere for people to exercise. It aims to take people from unhealthy and unhappy to having a long-term fitness routine.
A gym could write a blog post on how to do a short exercise routine on the days you can't make it there. It could provide dietary advice on post-exercise meals that make workouts more effective. This approach helps keep customers engaged and builds confidence in your brand.
Breaking down the journey your customer goes on identifies lots of these types of opportunities. Customers are the most powerful source of ideas. If several people ask you the same question it's a great indicator of a blog idea that will make a big impact.
How often do you need to publish blog content?
Think about how often customers visit your website. Can you write content to encourage them to return? They will likely want to learn about the journey you’ve identified outside of using your product. The engagement will help you sell in the future and have a bigger impact.
How many posts do you need to create to make the blog section look good and be useful? Think about having a few posts to launch the section with.
Resources are an important consideration. When you’ve published a few posts you’ll get an understanding of the amount of time they take to write and upload. It’s important to invest time promoting them too. Add them to your email newsletter and share them on social media.
As a business owner, you may find it tough to find time for marketing. You could ask other members of the team to contribute. You can also pay an outside agency. It's important to make sure they understand what your business does and why.
Think about the size of your marketing channels. If you have tens of thousands of followers you may want to produce a number of articles a week. If your number of followers is in the hundreds there’s no need to post as often and your own content can be complemented with articles from other sites.
Creating a content schedule
It’s helpful to add content ideas to a schedule. This helps you plan your time and resources and makes sure the project doesn’t get forgotten about. It’s possible to do this on a calendar, spreadsheet or online.
Putting a calendar up on the wall provides a reminder and helps you understand the seasonal relevance. For example, you might plan several ideas in the run-up to the Christmas season.
Spreadsheets allow you to include more information such as who's writing the article, what type of customers it’s aimed at and any images that are required. Trello is an easy way to manage projects online. The basic version is free to use and user-friendly.
Whatever strategy you choose to keep track of your content, make sure you always write with your customers in mind. Are you creating value for them? Will it pique their interest? Does it show your business in the best light?
The best way to get to the bottom of that is to talk to them about the challenges they face and how you can help.