The Quick Guide for Effective Blog Content Calendars
Know you want to get some blog content on your site but don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick four-part guide to get it together and working for you.
The Personas and Their Keywords
First of all, you need to have done your persona research. You’ll need to know who you’re hoping to reach, the pains they experience, and the words they’re using to look for solutions.
Example: You’re selling digital services for small to medium businesses. You’re typically talking to the CEO, and they search for things like “how to get a website”.
List your personas, their pains, and their keywords. This is your starting point.
Build a Content Cluster
Among your data, identify the main underlying topics. A CEO looking for a website might actually just be looking for that among many concerns. You might pull out the following as interesting keywords related to a broad underlying pain:
- How to get a website?
- Responsive web design
- Easy Ecommerce solution
- Digital marketing strategy
- Buy online ads
- Online lead generation
As an example, all of these are related in that they’re getting at how a business might approach its digital presence. So you can take them and you can consider them a content cluster.
The content cluster model identifies one main topic that you want your company to be an authority on. You build that as a pillar page, and then add supporting pieces and link everything together.
This is an awesome way of going beyond the traditional keyword-based approach to SEO and both make the search engines and your reader happy. People reading about one branch of a topic are likely to want to learn more about the broader trunk of the topic (and explore the other branches). It makes sense for search engines to reward this sort of structure: so they do.
Schedule Your Blogs By Cluster
For the sake of streamlined examples, I’m just assuming one persona and one topic — but you might have multiple personas and multiple topics.
In any case, arrange your content by cluster and schedule them consecutively: you’ll be writing all the pieces for one cluster at a time.
Why? Because then you’ll have your cluster built in, say, six weeks. If you have three clusters with six subtopics each and you rotate them, it’ll be 18 weeks until everything’s done. Get the first done in six, and it’ll be working for you those next 12.
Don’t Forget the Pillar Pages!
If you know everything there is to know about a topic? Feel free to write that pillar page first. Otherwise, you can use your time writing the subtopics to get yourself up to speed. You might have an easier time writing it afterward when you know what you’re addressing.
Go through those pain-related keywords and keyphrases and draft yourself out some snappier titles. You’re of course not married to any of them, but it can be helpful to have something with a little more flavour down to help the process along.
Now, your calendar might look something like this:
- Blog: How to get a great customer-friendly website that looks amazing
- Blog: 7 Responsive Web Design Mistakes that Cost Sales
- Blog: Three easy ecommerce solution options business owners love
- Blog: Getting a digital marketing strategy for SMBs
- Blog: The foolproof guide to buying online ads
- Blog: Get better contacts with better lead generation techniques
- Pillar Page: The CEO’s Guide to Modern Digital Strategy
And when you build that pillar page, make sure everything’s linked together. Send people from the pillar to each blog page and each blog page to the pillar. You can even try a nice cool visual CTA at the bottom of the blogs to save yourself a few more minutes!
How Long Should Your Calendar Cover?
One last note? The length of time your calendar should cover. You might be tempted to draw up something to last a whole year — but you should probably try smaller chunks.
Three months is often a good balance. It’s long enough to cover at least a whole cluster (maybe two!), but short enough that if trends change, you won’t have to choose between being locked in with your approved calendar or abandon the work you already did in order to pivot.
Plus, every time you build a new calendar, you get an optimization opportunity. Three-month calendars mean you get four of these per year instead of just the one.
Now, off you go! Build yourself a calendar!
Or, you know, talk to us. Flawless Inbound has helped more than 80 B2B companies across Canada and the US build calendars, content strategies, and pretty neato inbound engines. You can get started on one of our pillar pages right below!