With the arrival of the lazy days of summer, many industries are entering an annual slowdown in “new news.” Conferences and breaking news events become fewer and further between and key staff takes vacation time.
But never fear: Your blog, website and social media presence don’t have to suffer. With a careful combination of planning and creativity, you can keep your content and posts fresh, even when you’re kicking back. (And if you’re looking for a content job, you can use these same pointers to keep your skills just as relevant.)
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Just follow the six simple tips below.
Use an Editorial Calendar
Planning is key to get through any content slump. By using a tool called an editorial calendar, it’s easy to document when content is scheduled throughout the day, week or month and visually identify gaps, either in post frequency or in topics.
A good rule of thumb: The third week of each month, review the following month’s content, and aim to have content ready two weeks before its run date for more evergreen topics. This will give you “breathing room” in case you need to shift pieces around.
Revisit Your Old Content
Documenting your content plans are a key part of any successful content strategy or content marketing initiative. By understanding what you have, you’re more likely to be able to know what to create in the future.
Think of your documentation, often called a content audit, as your “content closet.” You may tend to wear jeans and white tops, but you don’t want too many of the same thing. It’s also important to clean and “air out” your dirty laundry.
This may mean recycling and revamping older pieces that are valuable but feature outdated information, or taking a previously visited topic and writing a follow-up piece or creating a supplemental piece of media, such an infographic, video, or slideshow. When you create new content, don’t forget to re-promote and schedule within your editorial calendar.
Use Analytics to Determine High Performers
A frequent, thorough review of your content analytics can help you identify high-performing and low-performing content, as well as optimize for future performance.
Once a month, review to identify trends; once this summer, review broader to measure seasonal and annual trends. For example, certain sites may see rises and dips in traffic around key product launches, sales milestones and events, while others are driven by “viral” content and news.
Dive deeper than just measuring unique views and time on site. Examine if certain types of content perform well—lists, for example—and if content topics, days of week or times of day work better than others. Optimize against these metrics, and continually strive to improve.
Interview Key Staff
Your on-staff subject matter experts are often untapped sources for new content. Schedule regular check-ins to get an insider’s view on what’s going on in the industry, and ask their opinion on new content.
This may also be the perfect time to ask for guest blog posts—or volunteer to ghost-write a post—from the “experts” on your team, which can serve as a great source of content during slow periods.
Keep content fresh by tying themes into seasonal events. The upcoming Fourth of July, Labor Day and the back-to-school season are great annual pegs to relate tangentially to your brand for added fun and timely content.
Know When to Take a Break
If you’ve followed the tips above, you likely already know when your brand is going to go through a slow period. Content machines function best with regular care and feeding, but, like a marathon runner resting after a big race, it’s okay to slow down the cycle every now and again.
For example, if you publish a digest of weekly news on Mondays, it’s okay to skip a week when Monday falls on a holiday, or shift the posting to Tuesday instead. If your industry slows during the summer, it may be permissible, even recommended, to reduce posting frequency during slow months as well.
Mediabistro instructor McLean Robbins is a content strategist, copywriter and digital consultant. Find her at mcleanrobbins.com.
Topics:Climb the Ladder, Skills & Expertise