The Poor Man’s Guide to Creating an Editorial Calendar

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In case you haven’t been paying attention, effective SEO is all about having great, current content on your site. The easiest way to up your content marketing game is to get new content posted on the regular through your blog. All you have to do is come up with tons of blog post ideas and publish them at the most relevant times during the year. Simple enough, right? Not really.

The first step to a great content marketing strategy is an editorial calendar. Sure, you could hire OrangeSoda or another online marketing company to handle your content marketing, but if you’re in a pinch, here’s the most cost effective way to create your own editorial calendar.

1. Fall in love with spreadsheets

If you’re going to organize a whole year, or even a month, worth of blog posts, you’re going to want a spreadsheet to keep everything organized. A detailed spreadsheet is a definite must if you plan on having multiple writers on your blog. This will keep you and your writers accountable for deadlines.

Your spreadsheet should include the topic/keyword for each blog post, the date it’s being published, the day it needs to be submitted for editing, and the author. Remember to include holidays or other significant days throughout the year that relate to your business or industry.

2. Get Google Webmaster Tools

If you don’t have Webmaster Tools set up for your site, do it immediately; it will change your life. Webmaster Tools is a great way to see who is visiting your site, where they’re coming from, what search queries they used to find you, and what other sites are linking to yours. It also tells you the number of impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate (CTR), and average position for each search query. Seriously, it is one of the best pieces of nerdery out there.

Do some exploring and see what topics are getting the most impressions. Make a list of the most popular search queries, and make sure to include blog posts in your editorial calendar that focus on those keywords. Since you already know those terms are bringing in visitors, might as well keep it going.

3. Make a list of relevant topics

What is your company all about? Make a list of the most commonly asked questions from your customers, things you wished your customers knew before coming in store, and the newest developments in your business/industry. These types of topics should be sprinkled throughout your editorial calendar. And since you know your business like … nobody’s business, these shouldn’t be difficult to write about.

4. Take notes from Google Trends

Google Trends will quickly become your go-to tool when determining your blog schedule. For example, if you have a business that winterizes boats, go to Google Trends and type in “winterize” in the search field. Google Trends will then show you the search volumes for that term over time. You can change your time ranges to see search volumes over years, months, or weeks. Once you know when people are searching for specific terms that relate to your business, you can plan your editorial calendar accordingly.

Google Trends screenshot

Google Trends will also show you searches related to your keyword. This can help you expand your topic pool and give you more blog post ideas.

Google Trends Related Searches

5. Plug topics into your calendar

Now that you know the most popular keywords on your site and when people are searching for those terms throughout the year, you can put together a nice little editorial calendar.

Here’s the trick, you want to publish your blog posts before the highest search volume takes place. For example, the highest search volume for “Christmas décor” is the end of November into the beginning of December. In order to stay ahead of the game and have relevant content ready when people want it, think about publishing Christmas posts during the beginning of November or even the middle of October. This way, your post will have time to get crawled and ranked by Google and get some SEO juice.

Creating an editorial calendar is a process. You won’t get it done all in one day, so be patient. If planning a full year is too daunting, take it a month at a time. Regardless of how much you plan or how frequently you post, an editorial calendar will be a huge benefit to your SEO strategy. And remember, if you don’t want to deal with all this mumbo jumbo, give the pros a call at OrangeSoda.