20 Ways to Fill Your Editorial Calendar with Highly Relevant Topics
So, you've heard that starting a blog is a golden-ticket to SEO success. But it's scary! How do you start? What do you say? What if you run out of topics?
Never run out of blog topics again
What if I told you that by following one rule, you'll never run out of blog topics again? Spela Mlekuz at DataBox recently asked me to weigh in. I shared my secret with her, and now I'm sharing it with you. It's so simple, yet powerful. And the best part? You can put this secret into action right away!
The secret to never-ending blog content: Talk to your clients
Use these conversations to discover problems they're looking to solve and don't have the time or the know-how to address it? Find out what the customers of of your clients are looking for and use your blog as a tool to help your audience address it. This establishes unexpected connections between your niche and your audience and can allow you to intuit their needs and branch out in a way your competitors are unlikely to be doing.
The answers might surprise you-things which can seem simple, or even obvious, to you, can be of tremendous help to your clients and readers of your blog.
These topics can even serve to draw in new customers and interest them in working with you. It will keep your content flowing, and some of these topics will be quick-hits for you as it won't take long to write a 3-5 paragraph blog post about it.
20 Ways to Fill Your Editorial Calendar with Highly Relevant Topics
The following article was originally published on DataBox.
June 6, 2019 | By: Spela Mlekuz
Are you one of the 69% of companies who use an editorial calendar for their blog content? It’s a great way to store ideas, plan upcoming content, and keep your entire content team on the same page.
…But committing to publishing content various times per week or month means you’re bound to run out of ideas.We wanted to know how marketers resolve that problem. So, we asked 64 marketers to share their techniques for filling their editorial calendars with highly relevant topics.
(You know, the ones their audience actually want to read.)
We distilled everything we learned into 20 essential tactics for building out an effective editorial calendar. But first…
What is an editorial calendar?
Simply put, an editorial calendar is a document that organizes all of the content your team has published, is currently writing and plans to write in the near or distant future.
They allow content and marketing teams to forward plan the topics they plan on writing, the audience they’re service, as well as all the necessary dependencies for getting the content written.
There are a number of editorial calendar tools marketers use to stay organized, including (in no specific order):
Now that we’ve level-set on what an editorial calendar is, how can marketers fill them with great and relevant topics?
What makes a good topic?
Before we dive in with blog post ideas, let’s take a step back and consider what makes a good piece of content.
Paul Ronto of RunRepeat thinks “the main goals of your content should be to add value for your users, create brand authority in your niche, and possibly to drive converting traffic to your product pages.”
“The best way to add value is to either create posts that fill a void in the current landscape of your niche, answer a specific question searchers are typing into the search bar, or create content on a topic that’s covered that’s leaps and bounds better than what’s currently out there.”
Now we’re clear on that, here’s how our experts find golden nugget topics to fill their editorial calendars with.
1. Think about your goals
Research is often one of the first things you’ll do in this process, right? Not necessarily. Alexandra Zelenko of DDI Development thinks you should “focus on your goals.” “Without an editorial calendar in place, you will find it challenging to deliver regular, varied content that is relevant to the needs of your audience.”
“However, the first thing you should do is to consider your goals and identify your target audience, their wants and needs. Think about what you want to achieve: more engagement from users, more brand awareness, or generating more leads, conversions?”
Zelenko continues: “Having that in mind, you can fill your editorial calendar with highly-relevant content.”
2. Determine customers pain points
Pain points are objections, challenges, or problems that your target customers are suffering with.
Crediful‘s Chane Steiner thinks “the key [to finding good topics] is finding one strong pain point that will appeal to your readers and your service.”
“Once you select a pain point, you can schedule several blogs to help flesh the idea out in more detail. This will also help build a relevant cluster of keywords that revolves around each major pain point.”
Steiner continues: “In my experience, this has done much more for keyword rankings than using the same keyword repeatedly in unrelated blogs.”
Andrew Ruditser of Maxburst, Inc agrees, and thinks “it is important to know what your audience is interested in to get the most out of your blog posts.”
“Knowing your target audience and their persona will give you a better understanding of what your audience is looking for and what type of posts will spark their interest. You want to make sure you are posting content that your users want to read and knowing your type of audience will help you do so.”
However, HELLO Marketing Agency‘s Renee Bauer thinks you shouldn’t limit yourself to one buyer persona or pain point: “Especially for B2B marketing, you probably have multiple personas in your target audience.”
“Learning as much as you can about each persona’s wants and needs ensures that your content topics, themes, and campaigns are not just relevant but interesting to the people you want to reach,” Bauer says.
3. Walk yourself through the marketing funnel
A marketing funnel shows the typical touchpoints people have before they hit “purchase”.
Tony Mastri of MARION Digital Marketing thinks you should use this as content for your editorial calendar: “My strategy for populating a blog editorial calendar is to layer in topics segmented by product/service focus, and funnel position/searcher intent.”
Mastri uses a plastic surgeon’s blog, for example:
“Top-of-funnel topics could end up being, “are breast implants safe?” and “does rhinoplasty hurt?”
Middle-of-funnel topics could be “how much do breast implants cost?” and “how long will my nose job take to heal?”
Bottom of funnel topics might be, “Where to get the best breast implants in [my city],” and “Who is the most reputable rhinoplasty surgeon in [my city].”
However, Mastri mentions that “while scheduling these different topics on my editorial calendar I make sure to rotate through topics about different services and funnel position.”
“In the end, you will need a larger volume of top-of-funnel, educational content to attract relevant searchers and create more opportunities for your business,” Mastri explains.
4. Ask your entire team for content ideas
“Don’t put yourself in a position to be the only source of idea generation,” writes Matt Solar of nDash.co. “Enable other team members or freelance subject matter experts to help you with the ideation of content marketing.”
Solar is one of the 44% of marketers who doesn’t take sole responsibility for filling their editorial calendar.
So, who should you involve in the process?
Anne Hays “ask[s] friends and coworkers in real life” to find content ideas for BestCompany‘s editorial calendar. Hays runs a “car shopping blog and everyone has questions or things they don’t understand about the process, whether it is financing, vehicle selection, or the actual purchase process. Then I just research to find their solutions to their real-life questions.”
However, Mary Ann Hegvold of 30degreesnorth.com recommends asking your in-house sales team: “When writing blog content, you can easily do some Google searches to see which topics are most sought after. But there could be questions out there that potential customers have that no one is answering.”
“That’s why it’s important to loop in the sales team and the customer service team as part of the editorial calendar development process. They are on the frontlines, talking to potential and current customers and answering questions.”
Hegvold continues: From your data collection process, see if there are any themes or really interesting questions that could turn into a blog post that explains a topic in-depth. THEN head to Google and see what kind of content is out there to address these topics.”
“From one of these emails or team meetings, you can often come up with several topics that can be broken down into several individual blog posts. Depending on how often you post blogs, one of these meetings can potentially fill the calendar with several months of content,” Hegvold summarizes.
Emma Valentiner always asks LeadCrunch‘s sales team for help with their editorial calendar: “Since they’re speaking with prospects and current customers every day, they know what common questions people have, what things they’re worried or excited about, and what kinds of problems they’re looking to fix.”
“A solid SEO keyword strategy is still important and will help you prioritize your content needs – but listening to your audience will enable you to finely tune your content development so that it resonates more strongly with your target audience,” Valentiner says.
Wondering what questions to ask–those which will spark content ideas you can actually add to your editorial calendar?
Shelby Rogers asks Solodev‘s team: “What are the biggest concerns or hesitations you hear from clients about our company?” and then we create content that directly answers those general questions.”
As a result, Rogers says: “We’ve created hundreds of code tutorials from questions our clients have asked about our platform. We have long-form pieces in the works that address more in-depth questions about our industry and what it takes to build a successful website.”
“As content marketers and creators, we don’t become experts in our respective fields by espousing these grand “thought leadership” ideas,” Rogers continues.
“We become experts because we show our clients we can answer their questions, be there for them, and serve as a reliable platform for their digital customer experience needs. No one cares about what you know until they know you care.”
Fancy putting this into practice?
“Look at the questions people ask you in email and website chat,” writes Chris Handy of ClosedWon.com. “Then, look at the way you responded. Now expand on that and hit publish.”
This is a major advantage: “Next time, you will not need to answer the question from scratch, and you can provide more detailed and thorough answers that keep on giving.”
Hold internal workshops
When enlisting the help of their in-house team, David Haar takes their involvement a step further: “I would recommend any brand looking to fill up their content calendar to carve out time to do an internal workshop with anyone within the company that is client facing. Sales, customer service, promotions/events, etc.”
Haar does this at 2060 Digital because “those are the people that in the trenches speaking with potential customers and people that the brand interacts with on a daily basis.”
“During that workshop (that should be fun and interactive) create a list of 50 to 100 common questions that get asked of those departments. […] There is a hit list of content that can be created that will answer those common questions when people are searching for answers online.”
Penguin Strategies‘ Nili Zaharony also recommends thinking about content when you’re speaking to members of staff outside these meetings.
“In every meeting, email exchange, or water cooler (Keurig) conversation, I always think about how to convert the discussion into content. With the initial ideation, taken care of, we go back to our in-house experts, schedule brain dumps and create awesome content (most often through ghost-writing).”
Zaharony explains: “The final product is then attributed to the SME, building them up as thought leaders within the company and industry and giving marketing authentic, high-performing content.”
Jason Yau uses this tactic at Canvas People. But once they’ve defined their topics, Yau goes “around the room and have every team-member come up with a different title for a blog on that topic.”
Summarizing, Leadfreak‘s Alex Thackary says: “When someone asks a question, imagine 20 other people who haven’t come forward and asked it too… that’s who your creating this content for.”
5. Monitor your competition
9Sail‘s Bryan Pattman thinks you should be”monitor[ing] what your competition is doing and then figuring out a way to do it better. Allowing them to spend the time doing the research and you spend your time writing more informative content that is better for the user.”
But what exactly should you be investigating?
You should “look at their best-performing blog posts in terms of social shares and backlinks, what topics performed very well for them on their social media, and you may also get inspiration for blog topics on their YouTube channel that got a lot of engagement and views,” according to Social Catfish‘s Johnny Santiago.
6. Explore topic clusters
The topic cluster model is a content marketing strategy originally created by HubSpot.
MarketMuse‘s Stephen Jeske thinks it’s a great source of content ideas: “Start thinking about clusters of topics, as opposed to individual topics. Build out a plan that includes all the related topics that address the main issue from as many different perspectives as possible.”
“In that way, every piece of content you publish help increase your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness,” Jeske explains.
Zach Lemmer uses this strategy to fill their editorial calendar, too: “At HIVE Digital Strategy, we use topic pillars to determine which of our services could use more content to help drive more website traffic.”
“Each topic pillar has its own set of keywords that are relevant to the topic, which allows us to optimize our search engine results and educate our client base.”
7. Look at popular content in your industry
“When filling our editorial calendar, one thing I always look for is the type of content that gets shared the most,” writes RJ Weiss’ The Ways to Wealth.
Weiss uses Ahrefs and Buzzsumo–both of which “allows me to see the types of information people are looking for. For example, if I search the keyword term household budget, I find the type of content most likely to get shared in recommended budgeting percentages compared to say something like “how to create a household budget.”
BestCompany.com‘s Carlee Linden also uses Buzzsumo because “their search feature is highly intuitive and allows you to search for topics that are trending now and you can easily see what your competitors are writing about. Plus the ability to see how well the article is trending on social media is a huge plus.”
As COFORGE‘s Eric Melillo explains: “Finding relevant topics to blog about doesn’t have to be a chore once you know where to look. So, before you write on any topic you’ll want to know if there’s an audience already searching for your content.”
“Otherwise, you might be writing for an audience of zero – and what’s the point of that?”
8. Ask your audience directly
Just like it’s great to get opinions from your internal team, it’s smart to ask your audience directly–as PHLEARN‘s Seth Kravitz explains: “One of the easiest ways we have learned to consistently create content that is a hit with our community was to simply poll them on a regular basis about what they would like to see us cover next.”
“Community members love to be engaged and feel like they had a hand in the creation of your content. Plus, it’s a win-win for you as the brand since you create content you have verified they are going to enjoy and they are more likely to share it after you publish,” Kravitz writes.
Tim Stobierski of Pepperland Marketing also takes a look at “the same question from a number of prospects, leads, or clients over and over again, we work those questions into our editorial calendar.”
Stobierski’s team says this works for two reasons: “First, it saves us time. Instead of answering the question over and over again each time a client or prospect asks us, we can just send them a link to the blog post.”
“Second, if we’re getting the same question from multiple people who are either:
a) high-quality leads or
b) our clients already,
…it’s a good indicator that the topic is one that’s highly relevant to the kind of people we’re trying to attract to our site.”
Catalyst Marketing‘s Ollie Roddy adds that “not only will speaking to customers give you highly-relevant content, you can also let them know they inspired you to write the piece.”
“This will move your relationship forward and make them a part of building your business, creating an attachment to you they otherwise wouldn’t have had.”
Plus, TimeJump Consulting‘s Larissa Lowthorp thinks you can even “draw in new customers and interest them in working with you. It will keep your content flowing, and some of these topics will be quick-hits for you as it won’t take long to write a 3-5 paragraph blog post about it.”
You could get customer feedback by surveying them–a tactic used by Travis McKnight at Portent: “Polling users with one-question surveys is a quick, cost-effective way to know exactly what type of content your team should be producing.”
“You can use free tools like Google Forms and Survey Monkey to create a poll, and then promote the survey on social media platforms, your newsletter or elsewhere,” McKnight continues.
“For faster results, use a tool like Hotjar to present users with a pop-up poll while they’re actively browsing your website, or use a user research platform like Usability Hub to poll random people who align with your customer demographics.”
McKnight continues: “If you’re not sure what questions to ask, here’s an example: “If you could write about any topic for our blog, what would you choose?” This question, presented to current customers as a pop-up poll or social quiz, will spur plenty of user-focused ideas and quickly fill up your editorial calendar.”
…Or you could use networking groups for customer feedback, like Liora Bram of MyHelp, Inc: “For example, last month, we queried the members of an online women’s networking group to which I belong on their top tips for being productive. We used feedback from six entrepreneurs in the group to write a blog post that has gotten tons of engagement.”
But when planning the editorial calendar for Funnel Overload, Adam Connell asks readers what they want to read through automation emails.
Connell says: “In my automation sequence, I have several emails that encourage subscribers to fill in a survey that tells me what they want to learn. So, I get a steady stream of content ideas that are hyper relevant to my audience.”
9. Read suggestions in your blog comments
You’ve likely already got a backlog of content.
Chhavi Agarwal of Mrs Daaku Studio has a smart trick for finding new ideas based on old content: “Go to your top performing posts and check out the comment section for ideas [because] this is the place where your actual audience is talking, asking questions and sharing the problems they face.”
“You can pick up ideas from there and fill out your editorial calendar,” Agarwal continues. “I do this regularly and it has helped me get a few viral posts. My audience love it because they told me they wanted to read it.”
10. Go through your blog archives
Now you’re in the process of looking through old content, Anastasia Iliou of Medicare Plan Finder notes that you could use it as inspiration for new ideas: “The best way to fill your editorial calendar is to constantly update and improve your old content.”
“You can publish 1,000 words one day and then in one month realize that there are another 1,000 words on the same topic that you can add,” Iliou explains.
“The more you update, the more amazing and comprehensive your content will be. Plus, you’ll never run out of articles to add to your calendar.”
11. Analyze Search Console data
Google Search Console is a goldmine for marketers. You can see which keywords are driving traffic to your website, the average positions for each, and your average click-through rate–all free of charge.
Crimson Vine Marketing‘s Tracy Iseminger recommends using this data to keep your editorial calendar full.
“Take a deep look at the queries people are using in search that are already generating impressions under your performance tab. If a particular keyword is getting good impressions but has a low CTR, figure out how to create a blog post centered around that keyword that is relevant to your audience.”
Iseminger continues: “Answer questions built around these keywords that are already getting impressions and generate new interest in your website.”
“For instance if I see “SEO for Wineries” is getting good impressions but very little clicks, I might generate a blog post titled, “10 SEO Tips for Wineries” to build more awareness of the services we offer,” Iseminger summarizes.
Marilyn Heywood Paige does the same. For Inciting Marketing, Paige goes to Google Search Console to “find the topics people search for, for which I want to rank and for which I have the best shot at ranking.”
“I take these topics and put them into the content calendar. The first month is the topic that will be easiest for me to improve my ranking in search. The second month is the second easiest, and so on.”
12. Check internal site search results
Do you have a search bar on your website?
MediaSesh‘s Christina Brodzky explains how you can use this for ideas: “When visitors are using your internal site search functionality, they are telling you exactly what they want to find and read.”
“This type of information can also assist in influencing new product ideas, services and features that you haven’t considered offering before. You can even use this information to consider adding new navigation/sub-navigation categories.”
“For example, let’s say you’re an insurance company and you noticed there’s been an unusual influx of internal searches revolving around ‘what is hurricane insurance’. Whether your company offers hurricane insurance or not, it might be a good idea to create a blog post on this topic,” Brodzky explains.
This could even be a win-win situation: “This could help reduce the number of customers that contact your call center (saving you money from having to hire support staff), possibly persuade you to add a new offering, or help to promote your other products and services.”
13. Do keyword research
Keyword research is a long-standing SEO tactic.
Sandra Clayton of ConversionMinded uses “social research and keyword research to discover topics that are popular with my audience.”
“Then I filter those topics based on competition and relevance to my business. Topics that have ranking potential and pre-sell my products are the ones that make it onto my calendar.”
Geek Powered Studios‘ Matt Benevento looks at the estimated traffic volume for each keyword: “Estimated traffic will help you refine and prioritize blog topics, as well as narrow down targeted keyword sets to include in your content.”
“A well-researched keyword list will make your blog more likely to be featured in relevant, organic search results and ultimately drive more traffic.”
Benevento uses SEMRush to find estimated traffic, but says: “The more topic and keyword research you put into the foundation of a blog, the more likely you will see end results.
Jennifer Lux encourages the team at LyntonWeb to “use both Moz and Google to identify search queries that are question-based.”
“Not only has this been the direction search is moving over the last few years, it increases the chances of landing a rich snippet, which can significantly boost organic traffic. And, using common questions that personas are asking about can accelerate their journey to purchase,” Lux explains.
Megan Flanagan’s team at 609Media, on the other hand, use Answer The Public: “[We] have used this tool successfully to guide one of our top clients to create more engagement around their following of over 500k people.”
“In nine months, we have seen their engagement grow from 5% to 10.8% just by answering the questions that the general public is asking around popular searches.”
…But once you’ve got your list of keywords, how do you know which phrases are worth creating content for?
McCall Robison of Best Company thinks you should “fill your editorial calendar with blog topics that are based around long-tail keywords. For example, instead of relying on a broad keyword such as “home warranty,” delve further and focus on a long-tail keyword such as “home warranty complaints.”
“More keyword research will tell you that people aren’t just wanting to know more about home warranties; they’re wanting to know about complaints that people have with home warranties, which would lead you to other long-tail keywords such as “home warranty reviews”.”
Summarizing, LeaseFetcher‘s Will Craig says: “Keyword research is essential if you want to follow some kind of strategic thinking when it comes to your content calendar. Keywords should be the foundation that your content is built on.”
14. Google Related Searches
“A great way to fill up your editorial calendar with highly-relevant blog topics is by looking at Google related searches,” explains Jonathan Aufray’s Growth Hackers.
“Go to Google and type keywords about a topic you want to write about. Look at the related searches at the bottom. You might find some great gems and awesome ideas for your next blog posts.”
15. Google Trends
Similarly, you can use Google Trends to find content ideas.
You’ll see whether the topic is increasing or decreasing in volume, therefore understand whether it’s worth creating content for.
WealthFit‘s Nathan Wade explains how to set this up: “Search “Google Alerts” on Google and enter the topics or key terms you’d like to be notified about. Google will alert you via email if new results on the topic show up on Google Search.”
Steve James thinks these “Google Alerts are a very valuable resource. Delivered free to your e-mail inbox every day, you can read and understand more about breaking news, fashions and trends in your given industry.”
James notes that “a list of 5 alerts will give you 15 – 20 alerts per day that you can read, distribute, and re-engineer for your own content,” but that Google Alerts “also shows writers of and influencers within your niche that you can collect, contact and trade links and content.”
Candide‘s Sam Coppard puts that into practice using the latest Avengers movie: “If you were writing for an insurance company, you could create some fun content around how much Iron Man’s personal insurance would cost. Work for a prosthetics company? Work out if Groot would actually be able to walk. Psychologist? Delve into the psychological repercussions of half the world’s population disappearing.”
Coppard thinks “the possibilities are endless, and this is exactly the kind of content that’s most likely to go viral, bring thousands of new visitors to your website, and attract loads of links to boost your SEO efforts.”
16. Search online forums and communities
When creating content for Getsongbpm, Joe Bailey begins by “scouring Quora for Q&As can reveal plenty of questions users are asking around our niche.”
Bailey then advises to “make a list of the questions in a spreadsheet and then go deeper by using a tool such as answerthepublic.com to find sub-topics around the question to build out an in depth article.”
Josh Gallant shares the process used at Foundation Marketing:
“First, search for a broad topic like SaaS or content marketing in Quora to see what questions are being asked.
Second, look through the results for trends & similar questions with plenty of followers.
Third, create a highly detailed post that answers the topic as a whole and include answers to some of the sub-questions you found as well if you can.
Fourth, jump back into Quora, answer the questions directly & plug your brand new in-depth blog post—value provided to Quora users AND traffic coming through to your blog post.”
It’s a tactic also used by Christopher Hornak of Blog Hands: “If you’re the subject matter expert you should consider going on Quora a few times a week and answering relevant questions. Then keep a list of your answers that could be used to create blog topics.”
…And Marsha Kelly of Best 4 Businesses: “On Quora.com start by searching with your niche topic keywords, then scroll through the answers, noting the ones with the greatest number of interactions and answers, then harvest tons of relevant blog post ideas your readers will love.”
But can you do this outside of Quora?
The short answer is yes, as Sharell Weeams of Sharell Weeams Coaching explains: “[Persue] highly-engaged Facebook or LinkedIn groups related to your blog topic.”
“Take note of questions that are posted that get a lot of engagement of them or are asked repeatedly,” Weeams continues. “The answers to those questions make great blog topics.”
It’s a method preferred by marketers; social media was ranked as the fourth-most frequent method for coming up with new blog topics:
17. Tailor Twitter searches
Twitter is one of those tools that you use everday, but probably don’t make the most out of.
Sky Alphabet Social Media‘s Steve Yanor thinks you could use find content ideas through it by mastering “Twitter’s search feature which is a bit arcane.”
“If you’ve ever delved into the next level of Google searches using search modifiers such as “inurl:” or “site:”. Twitter offers similar capabilities, it’s just that no one ever talks about them.”
Yanor puts this into practice:
“Using Twitter you’d want to first search the term “keto diet.”
Twitter will then give you the option of selecting the results by “top” “latest” “people” or “images.”
Select people. This will give you a list of people with keto diet in their profiles. From there you can build a list that updates automatically any time someone posts something new.”
“This list is a great starting point because people on your new keto diet Twitter list will often post content related to other sources mentioning keto diets. Add those people, too,” Yanor continues.
“Before long, you’ll have more content than you know what to do with, so you can be selective about what it new, relevant and smart to incorporate into your calendar.”
Content Cucumber‘s Kristine Cameron agrees, but thinks you should expand your approach to the whole of social media: “Any social media platform will show you what your followers are currently talking about, any common problems your clients are facing, and other popular trends related to your business.”
“You may also interact directly with your audience to ask them what they would personally like to read about,” Cameron explains.
18. Look for upcoming events
Duckpin‘s Andrew Clark follows a similar concept–only this time, Clark looks at the trend of each topic: “Each month my team and I begin by having a brainstorming session where we list out upcoming holidays/timely events that could be tied back to digital marketing.”
“A great resource to help streamline this process and provide inspiration has been Sprout Social’s Hashtag Holidays calendar. An example of this coming to life is our recent post titled “May the Source Be With You: 4 Ways Google Analytics Helps Your Business,” which was inspired by the popular holiday of May 4th aka Star Wars Day.”
Chantelle Stevenson of ClearPivot does the same: “For an e-commerce client that we have, we like to pull out national holiday calendars and relevant news articles that pertain to the topics that are planned to be covered each month.”
“Very often, national holidays or special days coincide with different sale items or recipes that are archived and provide methods for fresh content that can be covered in a fun way,” Stevenson says.
Kelly McEvitt did this for their “blog about the benefits of Facebook Advertising and tied it into the release of season 2 of Stranger Things.
“The blog bounce rate decreased by 8.5% with the launch of that blog.”
“To generate ideas I look at the calendar to see if there are any natural opportunities based on the season or activities like taxes, graduation, holidays and also keep a running list of topics I get asked about by my clients and other business owners,” explains Mavens & Moguls‘ Paige Arnof-Fenn.
“If you take note when you read or hear about something new you might want to explore further, a trend, theme or idea that catches your attention, an issue that affects your business then it is likely to be a topic that impacts others too. “
To make the most out of this opportunity, Seniorly‘s team use a tactic called #hashtagholidays.
Andrew Barrett explains: “We review Twitter trending top 10 in the US every morning and make note of the hashtag holidays that pop up every day. For instance, did you know yesterday, May 28th, was #NationalHamburgerDay?”
Barrett notes “there are plenty of resources online that can alert you well in advance of these more humorous and sometimes huge social trending holidays. So, if you don’t have the bandwidth to create content in real time when they appear on the Twitter top 10 list that day, you can rely on these other resources that will estimate all of these holidays.”
19. Open a guest blogging program
You’ve probably thought about guest posting on other websites to build your authority. These experts think you should be one of the 57% of business bloggerswho outsource posts from contributed content:
“If you have the interest from your audience, it’s highly effective to create a guest author program,” writes Clutch‘s Riley Panko. “Many people are game for creating high-quality articles for other websites for the brand exposure and SEO benefits.”
However, Panko’s advice comes with a warning: “You should be careful to thoroughly vet and edit any guest author articles to ensure they match your brand voice, contain truly original and accurate content, and will help you meet your marketing goals.”
“While this does take up significant time, it can still be more time efficient than writing the articles yourself,” Panko explains.
Deciding to open a guest blogging program?
Codal‘s Sean McGowan has some words of advice: “If you’re going to be allowing guest posts, or your blog is solely contributor-based, come up with a few general topics you’d like to feature, then reach out to your writers roster and see who’s interested in writing about them.”
“You’ll find many of them already have strong opinions and ideas on these topics, and likely even a few more focused ideas and pitches in mind,” McGowan explains. “It’s a great way to get the calendar filled up with all sorts of creative and unique ideas.”
20. Interview influencers
“We love interviewing our customers and the people who inspire us,” says Vrinda Singh of Paperform. “They don’t have to be executives or “influencers”; we genuinely just love talking to people who have mastered their craft and have something valuable to share with our community.”
(It’s a tactic we use at Databox, too. We interviewed the experts we’ve featured here, and bundled their answers into this mega post.)
Singh continues: “Once we interview them, we either decide to publish the entire interview as it is or we decide to incorporate it within a larger story and use their responses as examples of real life wins.”
The Paperform team have “had great success with both strategies, with our posts regularly being shared and upvoted by readers on curation platforms like Growth Hackers, Designer News and Web Designer News.”
“Ultimately, we’ve come to realise that readers enjoy real stories – whether those are about success, failure or lessons. Readers would much rather hear about strategies that actually worked out in real scenarios, as opposed to generic, one-size-fits-all “best practices”,” Singh summarizes.
MedTouch‘s James Gardner does the same thing, nothing that their team have “had terrific success reaching out to industry thought leaders and asking for brief interviews that I publish on our website.”
Gardner thinks this is a win-win situation: “The [thought leaders] are flattered to be interviewed and love the opportunity to share their perspectives on industry trends, recent successes/challenges, etc. My readers love “meeting” these high profile experts and learning what’s on their minds.”
How far in advance should you plan?
…That’s a tough question to answer. The best option often depends on how often you publish new content.
So, how often should you publish new blog posts? For the majority of marketers, that’s several times a week.
Quest for $47‘s Kathryn Roberts thinks you should plan your calendar 6-9 months in advance because “you never have to think twice or worry about having enough content to put out to your audience on the consistent basis that you have become known for (and consistency is critical too, because your audience knows to expect a new post and looks forward to getting new content from you).”
Plus, you’ll avoid missing out on “creating content that’s based around a major or minor holiday that’s related to your business or niche.”
However, the team at Colibri Digital Marketing “used to decide on an editorial calendar eight to twelve months in advance, every time we had cause to refresh our keyword research.”
Andrew McLoughlin says: “Put simply, it wasn’t the best system. It didn’t allow us to dynamically react to new information, questions, industry changes, and so on as quickly as we would have liked.”
“Our solution was to plan out one post per week based on our keywords, but leave one or two other posts as wildcards which we would come up with on the fly.”
“That way, we always something concrete to fall back on (and a wealth of future ideas to borrow in slower weeks) but we were always encouraging ourselves to keep our ears to the ground to come up with the next topic, usually with pretty quick turnaround. We had the benefits of both stability and dynamic response,” McLoughlin explains.
Brimming with ideas of content you could add to your editorial calendar?
All that’s left to do is start researching and fill in the blanks with topics your audience are interested in.