Blink. Blink. Blink.
You know the sight—the familiar on, off as the cursor blips in and out, hovering dormant at the top of an empty page. It’s the familiar backdrop of someone who wants to write great content, but simply has no idea how to create it.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of B2B marketers say creating engaging content is their main struggle.
It’s not so difficult to write a lot of words. But can you write the words that draw readers in, enhance reader engagement, and accelerate conversion rates? Read on for five steps to help you generate content that matters.
What makes content engaging? It’s not writing what you want to write. It’s better when content is a two-way street. A good piece of content is a little bit like a game of ping-pong: You only know it’s engaging when the other side taps the ball back your way.
Your best bet for brainstorming new ideas is to start with those trends on which your readers are already clicking. Here are a few suggestions:
Suffering from “editorial calendar block”—only slightly less well-known than “writer’s block”—usually springs from the same cause: You’re trying to do too much.
Your content isn’t for everyone. It may not even be for everyone within your specific market. Writing vague articles designed to appeal to everyone has the counterintuitive effect of crushing whatever it is that makes your site engaging in the first place.
Remedy this by narrowing the focus of your content topics. As you brainstorm, always look for a way to narrow each post down to its essence.
For example: “Productivity tips” is vague. Go a step deeper using Ubersuggest and you’ll end up with more intriguing posts like Productivity Tips at the Office or Reviewing the 10 Top Productivity Apps on Android. Still too vague? You can repeat this process until you end up with wholly unique concepts that still resonate with your market.
If this is your first time creating an editorial calendar, you’ll face certain temptation. You’ll want to bite off more than you can chew.
To create an editorial calendar that “breathes,” take the following into consideration first:
You have time. Boosting your search engine placement is a bit like building credit: as long as you regularly make the payments, the score will go up over time.
Attempting to do too much ends up with poorly-researched and inarticulate posts. Value consistency, not perfection.
This Editorial Calendar Template from Hubspot is a great place to start. Rather than force-feeding you overly ambitious due dates, it lets you enter them in yourself. Feel free to start slowly as you build your instincts for what “works.”
What do you want your site to look like?
If you have no idea, then the editorial calendar will reflect that reality. Establishing a vision for consistently engaging content will help you gauge the value of that content.
Here are some specifics:
You’re going to create articles that some people simply don’t care about.
This isn’t a bad thing. After all, you tried to create engaging content and produce value for your readers. It’s just how humans are. We’ll collectively look at a piece of content, shrug, and say “meh.”
What’s important is that you learn from these failures.
Your readers’ feedback is the final part of the editorial calendar. It’s your ongoing feedback that informs you which posts are working, which aren’t, and whether you need to stay the course or plot a new track. Make sure you run sophisticated analytics on your content to get a handle on which posts are performing the best, including:
Keep these ideas in mind as you create your editorial calendar. If you keep your focus on the ping-pong interaction between you and your readers, you’ll eventually figure out your unique formula for engagement.
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