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Editorial strategy and blogging

Last week I went to Melbourne for the Problogger Training Day to lead the panel on Editorial Strategy with Sonia Simone from Copyblogger and Lucy Feagins from The Design Files. Each of us had quite different experiences with editorial strategy and how it could be applied to both personal and business blogs.

Lucy, Sonia and I talking about editorial strategy

Lucy, Sonia and I talking about editorial strategy

 

What’s editorial strategy?

Newspapers and magazines have been using editorial strategy to plan the how, what and when of content since publications first started.

Now that we are all publishers (on the internet) editorial strategy is still an important way to ensure your blog (or website, or newsletter, or other content marketing activity) supports your business goals.

Key themes from the panel discussion

It was a great discussion and one I’m sure could have extended for another hour or two.

Key themes which came out of the panel included:

  • Know your audience and what they expect from your blog. Lucy uses an annual survey to do this, and then backs it up by monitoring metrics to see which posts are more popular than others, and (as she posts daily) which days of the week are more popular.
  • Think about post topics in advance and use an editorial calendar to keep track of what’s going to be written when. Think about holidays and celebrations, seasons, or major sporting events that may be relevant for your blog.
  • Stay flexible enough to still post about hot topics in your niche, or events you hadn’t planned for. The whole day had a strong theme of balancing blogging from the heart with blogging strategically.
  • If you have other contributors to your blog, have some editorial guidelines so the voice and personality of your blog stays true.
  • An editorial strategy can help you come up with ideas for posts by breaking larger ideas into smaller chunks of content.  It can also help with SEO as you can build a number of posts around a particular topic (or set of keywords).

An editorial strategy can be as simple or as complex as your needs. For personal bloggers, it may be a simple list of post ideas. For bigger sites it may be a more complex road map of deadlines, approvals and costings. Sonia said she used an editorial calendar plugin to map out posts at Copyblogger up to 12 weeks in advance. She also provided some fantastic insight into how editorial strategy works at Copyblogger, including how they link post topics with other products and services that are in the Copyblogger Media stable.

If you’re interested in what some of the other panels covered, Annabel Candy live blogged a number of the sessions including the one I was on.

Do you use an editorial strategy in your business?

If you don’t already have an editorial strategy for your business, why don’t you get in contact with me so I can help you write one?

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging October 30, 2011, 7:55 pm

    Loved hearing you on the panel Sally.

    It’s certainly a topic I’d like to know more about although I now have a good road map for what I need to do to plan my editorial content. It’s just a case of implementing it and also acknowledging that while I should plan I also need to allow space for spontaneity so if I come up with a new creative idea I can run with those too:)

    PS. And thanks for linking to my live blog posts!
    Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging recently posted…How to follow a Blog With or Without RSSMy Profile

    • Snappy Sentences October 30, 2011, 8:06 pm

      Running with ideas is very important. I think it’s up to the blogger to decide how much can be planned, and how much is in response to what’s happening around them (and the odd moments of inspiration). If you’re looking after a blog for a large business, editorial calendars are a saviour. Especially when you need various levels of approval to get something posted.

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